Orthokeratology, Myopia and the Case of Overnight Vision Correction
Let’s begin with “Myopia.” Exactly what is it? Myopia is the medical term for “nearsightedness,” a condition affecting nearly three million Americans a year, where a refraction error of the cornea hinders light to bend properly, making objects far away appear blurry. While this condition is technically chronic, recent advancements in the eye industry have made it possible for people with low Myopia to temporarily correct their vision through a process called Orthokeratology, or “Ortho-k.”
Orthokeratology — What is It?
Ortho-K (short for Orthokeratology) is a non-surgical solution for patients with myopia (nearsightedness) that uses specially designed contact lenses like Zzz See. When worn overnight, ZzzSee lenses gently corrects the curvature of the cornea. When removed in the morning, distant objects will come back into focus and patients can see clearly without the use of glasses or daytime contacts. Ortho-k is used primarily to slow the progression of mild Myopia in adults and children, although it can aid in the temporary correction of low-degree astigmatism, hyperopia, and presbyopia as well.
The Orthokeratology Process
Orthokeratology involves a four-step process: 1) the initial examination, where your optometrist or ophthalmologist will use a Topograph to determine the refraction error of the cornea, 2) the fitting, which may happen on the same day, where your eye care professional will select a series of up to three strengths of custom Ortho-k lenses , 3) the one-to-two-week treatment phase where candidates use their ZzzSee lenses while sleeping for at least six to eight consecutive hours each night, and 4) a 6 month check to check the health of the cornea and a Progent cleaning is done.
Candidates may wear disposable soft lenses or glasses throughout the day during the correction phase. On completion of the treatment, only the prescribed ZzzSee lenses need to be worn. Occasionally, candidates experience mild glaring and haloes around bright light. Remember, there is always the risk of infection without proper eye and lens care, so practice good hygiene and schedule routine follow-up eye appointments!
Why Choose Orthokeratology?
For those with mild or moderate Myopia, Ortho-k is a great option, especially for sports-related activities or when working in environments containing debris or dust. In addition, the fast, painless and safe process makes Ortho-k a practical solution for children who have Myopia.
How Costly is Ortho-k?
Unfortunately, most insurances do not cover the total cost of Ortho-k. Additionally, costs will vary depending on your unique prescription. The general, ZzzSee lenses and appointment package can range anywhere from $1250-$2250.
Am I a Candidate for Ortho-k?
The best candidates for Orthokeratology are children between the ages of eight and 12 who have progressive Myopia. If early stages of nearsightedness are caught soon enough, Ortho-k can sometimes help with restoring vision in children, because the custom lenses “mold” the eyes overnight to hinder or encourage the growth of cells. Ortho-k also works well with adolescents and young adults with mild or moderate Myopia, or for adults under the age of 40 who aren’t interested in LASIK or other eye corrective surgery.
Ask Your Doctor
If you have questions or concerns about Ortho-k, schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. He or she will be able to help you determine your candidacy, costs, benefits, and risks of the process