Vision Information: For some, sleeping with Orthokeratology contacts is an alternative to Lasik.
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is a non-surgical means of correcting vision while you sleep so that eyewear becomes unnecessary the next day. It may sound unbelievable, but for some it is a reality and is available countrywide.
How Does it Work?
Special contact lenses are provided for wearing while you sleep. These lenses gently reshape the surface of the eye so that you're able to see clearly even after you remove the lenses. The effect is sufficient to get you through the day without eyewear but the lenses must be worn each night during sleep.
Myopia (nearsightedness) is caused by light coming into the eye and not properly focusing on the retina. Usually the problem is resolved by using prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that refocus the light directly on the retina and restore good vision. A similar result is achieved by reshaping your cornea through the process of orthokeratology.
LASIK surgery is another way to reshape the cornea but orthokeratology does it non-surgically.
Who Qualifies for Orthokeratology?
People of any age who are nearsighted qualify for orthokeratology and it is also possible to treat some cases of astigmatism.
Anyone whose eyes are healthy can undergo the procedure. It is of particular benefit to people who engage in sports or work in dusty, polluted environments that adversely affect contact lenses.
It also holds great appeal for adolescents and teens not eligible for LASIK, although there are some concerns about corneal infections in young people who have used ortho-k. Your eye care practitioner can guide you in this respect.
Your eye doctor will measure the curvature of your cornea using an instrument called a corneal topographer. The procedure is painless and only takes about a minute. Your optometrist might order the lenses for you or have them immediately available from his inventory.
You may go through a series of lenses before the desired prescription is obtained. Sometimes two pairs of lenses are used for the process. Ortho-k can reshape the cornea and significantly correct vision in two weeks or less.
It is possible that during the reshaping period side effects might be experienced. Glare and halos are common in the beginning but will reduce in time although, in some cases, never go away completely. Patients with large pupils are particularly susceptible to these side effects.
Is Orthokeratology Comfortable?
Gas permeable contact lenses are prescribed for ortho-k, and daytime users of this type of lens sometimes experience discomfort caused by the interaction of the eyelid with the edge of the lens during blinking. But since the lenses are worn during sleep this generally does not pose a problem.
Orthokeratology or Lasik?
Ortho-k is best suited to people who don't want to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses during the day but don't mind wearing contact lenses at night or, at the very least, occasionally during the day. If you want to eliminate contact lenses altogether, then ortho-k is unlikely to satisfy you.
If you're a dry eyes sufferer then ortho-k may be a good option because it has been found that LASIK sometimes worsens this condition.
While ortho-k is reversible, LASIK is not. If you've tried ortho-k and then decide to use LASIK, it is possible to do that.
It is important that you have a comprehensive consultation with your optometrist to decide which option is better for you. He will point out in detail the challenges you can expect from each method and guide you in choosing the correct one.