Five Questions to Ask Your Optometrist about Orthokeratology
If you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you might benefit from orthokeratology. Orthokeratology—abbreviated “ortho-K”—is a treatment strategy incorporating special gas-permeable contact lenses that a patient wears overnight. While the patient sleeps, the lenses gradually and gently reshape the corneal surface. When the patient wakes up and removes the lenses, he or she can enjoy clear vision for the day without wearing contact lenses. Especially for individuals who play sports or have careers in which wearing glasses at all times might pose a challenge (such as pilots), orthokeratology is an extremely attractive option.
If you believe that you might be a good candidate for ortho-K lenses, ask your local optometrist these five questions to learn a bit more.
1. Could orthokeratology help me?
Myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism are all conditions that your ophthalmologist may be able to treat or manage with ortho-K lenses effectively. Orthokeratology is most useful for treating mild cases of these conditions. It is best for myopia and slightly less effective for managing hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. If the degree of your refractive error is severe, ortho-K may not deliver exceptional results.
Particularly for kids with myopia, orthokeratology can be extremely helpful. Myopia is a progressive eye disease that worsens year after year. The worse of this progression tends to occur during childhood, before slowing down or stopping altogether in early adulthood. Slowing down the progression of myopia during youth, then, can have long-term benefits for a patient’s vision. Studies have shown that ortho-K lenses are effective for slowing the progression of myopia.
2. How long will the lens fitting process take?
Ortho-K lenses are highly specialized and complex in their design, and the fitting process can take some time. Because these lenses will effectively reshape the surface of your eyes, optometrists are very careful about the fitting process and will take the time to get every detail right. Working with an optometrist who has experience and expertise in orthokeratology can help condense the timeline and ensure reliable results.
3. How much will ortho-K cost?
While it certainly isn’t the only relevant factor when it comes to an element of your day-to-day as essential as your vision, it is still worth having a conversation with your optometrist about the cost. Orthokeratology is typically not covered by vision insurance policies as it is considered an “elective procedure.” As such, knowing the ballpark cost for orthokeratology and planning is a smart strategy.
4. How long will it take for me to notice the results of orthokeratology?
The answer to this question may vary depending on how long it takes your optometrist to find the perfect tailored fit for your ortho-K lenses. The answer will also depend on the refractive error that you are treating as well as the degree and severity of that error. For milder cases, one or two nights of sleeping with ortho-K lenses can yield clear daytime vision. For more severe cases, it can take a week or two for the full effects to become noticeable. In the meantime, you may notice some residual blurred vision during the day or halos around bright lights. Your optometrist will be able to give you a more exact concept of what to expect based on your case details.
5. How long will the effects of orthokeratology last?
As with any other type of contact lens, you will want to ask your eye doctor for instructions regarding how often to wear your ortho-K lenses. For best results, you will typically insert your ortho-K lenses every night before bed and take them out when you wake up in the morning. For some patients, the vision correction provided by ortho-K lenses can last up to two days, eliminating the need to wear the lenses every night. Ask your optometrist for more guidance on this topic.
At Weston Contact Lens Institute, we work with ortho-K lenses regularly and have the experience to provide you with high-level treatments. To learn more about this treatment option, contact our offices today.