Orthokeratology (ORTHO-K)

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology is a non surgical treatment that uses precise specially shaped contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea in order to eliminate nearsightedness or myopia so that you can see better at distance without wearing eyeglasses or your even your regular contact lenses throughout the day. Most often the doctor will prescribe specially designed rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses that can gradually alter the shape of the cornea and temporarily eliminate myopia. Orthokeratology is a non-surgical method of correcting your vision.

Orthokeratology Process

Orthokeratology involves first measuring the refraction of your eye which tells the doctor the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism you may have.Next it will be necessary to map the shape of the front surface of the eye using and instrument called a corneal topographer. Based on the digital map of your eye and the amount of your prescription to be reversed, the eye doctor will develop an exact shape and set of parameters necessary to prescribe in order to obtain the desired effect on your corneal shape. The special contacts are manufactured to exact specifications for your eyes. They will initially be worn for about 8 hours daily until proper correction is achieved and your vision is improved. Sometimes, your doctor will actually prescribe a wearing schedule whereby you will only need to wear the lenses while you sleep. After that, the lenses may only need to be worn a few hours a day for about 3 days a week to keep the cornea in the shape necessary to allow you to see clearly. The exact wearing schedule really depends on your eyes and correction and will be determined by your doctor. Upon removal of the lenses you will be able to obtain improved vision without any corrective lenses. This is a great alternative for those who are too young to consider LASIK, those whose prescriptions are continuing to change and is especially useful for youngsters and teenagers involved in sports where wearing contact lenses might be limiting in their sports activity. A new type of lens and material actually allows accelerated ortho-k that can produce results in days rather than months.

Orthokeratology ORHTO-K

People are best suited for ORHTO-K are of any age with nearsightedness less than -4.00 diopters and astigmatism less than -1.50 diopters. There are some candidates that are not suitable for ortho-k and its best to consult your eye doctor.

Orthokeratology Advantages

  • Non-surgical method
  • Available for most people
  • Freedom from constant corrective lens wear
  • Better Vision Improvement

Orthokeratology ORHTO-K Disadvantages

  • Longer result time
  • Not a permanent solution
  • Higher startup cost than regular contacts or eyeglasses
  • Currently only for myopia

Paragon Corneal Refractive Therapy CRT

Paragon Corneal Refractive Therapy, or CRT,is similar to ortho-k except that it uses a special design. Paragon CRTs are “designed oxygen permeable therapeutic contact lens.” The mix of advanced computerized mapping of the eye, computerized manufacturing of the contact lenses, and special oxygen permeable material has given Paragon Visual Science the first FDA approved nighttime Corneal Refractive Therapy. These special contacts are worn at night and give improved vision during the daytime. They are suitable to correct myopia up -6.00 diopters with or without astigmatism up to -1.75 diopters. Most people will see vast improvement the very first few days with full correction in about 14 days. Others may take longer depending on correction amount and other factors.

Orthokeratology and CRT Cost

Ortho-K and CRT are both more costly at startup than normal contact lenses and eyeglasses. However after the initial correction retainer contacts to keep the cornea the same shape generally cost around $100 to $200 a pair. Typically cost will range from $900 to $1800 with two sets of lenses and fittings. Insurance usually does not fully cover these procedures because they are elective procedure however partial coverage maybe available if normal contact lenses are covered.

Orthokeratology and CRT Conclusion

Orthokeratology and CRT are both treatments designed for people who do not desire refractive surgery and are content with wearing contact lenses sometimes. These methods do have their risk, mostly the same risk with regular contact wear but also some others. These risks are best to be explained by your eye care doctor for ortho-k or by a certified paragon practitioner for CRT.

This article was last updated on 03/2014