What is Ortho-k?
Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, is a non-surgical, temporary way to improve your vision.
Using specially shaped, gas permeable contact lenses, the curvature of your cornea is gently reshaped while you sleep. Ortho-K lenses are worn overnight and taken out the next morning, resulting in clear vision the entire day, without the need for glasses or contacts.
Am I a Good Candidate for Ortho-K?
Ortho-K has been FDA-approved and therefore is a safe, non-invasive vision improvement option for most patients who are nearsighted (Myopia) and farsighted (hyperopia). In fact, Ortho-K has been shown to slow down the progression of Myopia in children, making it a beneficial long-term eye care treatment option.
Ortho-K is especially beneficial for people who:
- Aren’t a candidate for Laser Eye Surgery;
- Want to be glasses or contacts-free during their waking hours;
- Play vigorous sports;
- Work in certain environments where glasses or contacts are bothersome.
Ask your optometrist if Ortho-K is right for you. After a comprehensive eye exam is completed, they will discuss all eye corrective options with you.
Tips to Care For Your Ortho-K Lenses
To maximize the benefits of the Ortho-K treatment and to avoid complications like eye discomfort or infection, here are some handy tips to follow in order to care for your lenses safely and properly:
Once you receive your Ortho-K contact lenses, you must carefully clean your lenses after every use. Your optometry team will likely provide you with a cleaning kit that contains:
- A specialized cleaning solution;
- A soaking/rinsing solution;
- A clean storage case;
- Eye drops to rewet the lenses while in the eye.
Before handling your lenses, wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Try not to use oil or lotion based soaps, or a lint-free towel, as this could leave unwanted residue on your lenses.
Gently massage 2-3 drops of the cleaning solution across both surfaces of the lens for at least one minute. Spend extra time rubbing the circular “edge” of each lens, as these are typically the hardest areas to clean.
Your optometrist may also recommend a strength polish, which is used bi-annually for deep cleaning and removing protein deposits from your lenses. Check with your optometrist clinic: many offer this service free of charge.
After your lenses are properly cleaned and sterilized, thoroughly rinse off the cleaning solution from your lenses using the rinsing solution before wear or storage. This rinsing solution is often a sterile saline solution you can purchase at any drugstore.
You want to ensure you properly rinse off all the cleaning solution, as it will sting and irritate the eye. If this happens, use an eyewash or flush out the eye with warm water. You may have to wait until the discomfort subsides before inserting your lenses.
Ortho-K lenses are now cleaned, sterilized and rinsed. For proper storage, fill the case with the soaking solution and carefully insert your clean lenses.
You must ensure your storing case or container is also clean and sterile at all times. It is recommended that you air dry your case after every use, taking extra care that it is not exposed to any irritants, perfumes, household cleaning products, etc. especially if stored in your bathroom area.
If your case becomes dirty, do not rinse with tap water. It has been shown that rinsing your lenses with water can lead to eye infection in some cases. Instead, rinse your case out with saline solution and air dry.
Because micro bacteria grows in moisture and is invisible and can It is recommended that you replace your case every 2-3 months for optimal cleanliness.
Insertion and Removal
As your optometry team will explain, it is best to wear your Ortho-K lenses when you are asleep and the eye is closed. Because the lenses put gentle pressure on the eye, in order to temporarily reshape the cornea, wearing them for extended periods while awake may lead to discomfort and possible eye abrasions.
When you wake up, follow the steps above to clean, rise and properly store your lenses for wear again that evening.
When handled properly, your Ortho-K lenses will be fully maintained and may last up to 2 years. However, your optometry team will closely monitor your eye’s progress by recommending follow up appointments or eye exams every 6-12 months to examine your Ortho-K lenses and ensure your eye health remains in top condition.