Orthokeratology Frequently Asked Questions
Ortho-K (short for Orthokeratology) is a non-surgical procedure using specially designed contact lenses to gently reshape the curvature of the eye to improve vision. This is a revolutionary non-surgical procedure that eliminates the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. It improves vision by gently reshaping your eye WHILE YOU SLEEP using specially designed therapeutic contact lenses. You just put the specially fitted lenses in at bedtime, and when you awake, you will have clear, sharp, natural vision for your waking hours. This safe and effective treatment can correct near-sightedness (including high prescriptions), farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia (blurred near vision). It is a great alternative to LASIK for those who don’t want the risk or are not ready for surgery.
Are there age restrictions for Ortho-K therapy?
No. The FDA did not place any age restrictions on candidates for ortho-k treatments. Currently, iSee lenses have been successfully used to treat a high myopic 9 year old child with astigmatism (data on file). iSee lenses are also a great option for children and teens that are active in sports, water or outdoor activities.
Can anyone wear Ortho-K lenses?
While only your doctor can determine if corneal reshaping is right for you, several recent advancements in technology and manufacturing techniques now make it possible to aid patients with moderate to high myopia (near sightedness), hyperopia (far sightedness), presbyopia (the need for reading glasses), and mild astigmatisms. Only after a thorough eye exam can your doctor determine which treatment option is best for you.
I suffer from “dry” eyes, am I a candidate for Ortho-K therapy?
Only your eye care professional can determine if you are a candidate. Many patients with slightly dry eyes do well with Ortho-K treatment. Since you are wearing the lenses only while sleeping, the closed eye state minimizes evaporative loss of tears and can give dry-eye patients suitable vision without compromising the ocular surface.
I have astigmatism. Am I a candidate for Corneal Refractive Therapy?
Yes. iSee contact lenses are designed to correct mild to moderate amounts of astigmatism. Each individual should be evaluated by a certified eye care professional to determine if you are a candidate for treatment.
What is the difference between Ortho-K, corneal refractive therapy and iSee?
There are numerous popular terms for corneal reshaping techniques using contact lenses. You may have heard the terms: Orthokeratology (Ortho-K), overnight vision correction, vision shaping treatment, corneal refractive therapy, or corneal reshaping therapy – all of these refer to the same vision correction medical treatment using contact lenses to correct visual impairments. iSee is an advanced Ortho-K design contact lens used for this therapy.
How long does it take to reach good vision?
Most patients have rapid improvement in the first few days of treatment and achieve nearly their optimum vision in 10 to 14 days.
Is Corneal Refractive Therapy Permanent?
No. Corneal refractive therapy only works for as long as you continue treatment. If you stop wearing the lenses regularly while you sleep, your vision will return to its original state in as little as 72 hours.
What do I do to see adequately in the period of time between when I start Ortho-K therapy and when I achieve full treatment?
It’s important to understand that for a time after you have begun treatment, but before sufficient treatment is realized, your old glasses or contacts will no longer be the appropriate prescription. It may involve insertion of your treatment lenses for part of the day or some use of temporary soft lenses in different prescriptions as an option. Your eye care practitioner will discuss your options for visual correction during that transitional period of time.
Are there any risks involved with wearing Ortho-K lenses?
The risk in wearing Ortho-K lenses is comparable to that of any contact lens. However, the best part about corneal reshaping therapy is that it is safe, non-surgical, non-invasive and reversible. Additionally, no serious adverse events were reported in FDA clinical trials.
Is corneal refractive therapy painful?
The therapy is not painful. Initially, you may have a slight awareness of the therapeutic lens. You will not feel the lenses when you sleep and there is no sense of physical corneal change…. just visual improvement when the lenses are removed.
Visual requirements due to age or activities can only be assessed after a thorough eye exam. Your eye care professional will recommend what is best for you.
What happens if I lose or damage a lens?
Ortho-K is different than wearing regular contact lenses. If you discontinue wear for one night, your vision may be impaired the next day. Previously worn glasses or contact lenses may not help. Immediate replacement is necessary! Having a spare pair of lenses is strongly recommended.
Do benefit programs cover Ortho-K therapy?
This is an elective procedure, and to the best of our knowledge is not usually covered by benefit programs. If regular contact lenses are covered under your vision care plan, Ortho-K therapy may be partially covered. You should check with your benefits plan administrator.
How much does Ortho-K cost?
The cost for your Ortho-K initial fitting, professional care, follow-up and Ortho-K treatment lenses vary by practitioner. After the first year, the annual cost of Ortho-K lenses is about the same as wearing traditional contact lenses or glasses. Many eye care practitioners offer optional payment plans such as Care Credit. Consult with your eye care practitioner for further specific information. You may also want to consult with your employer about Flexible Spending Accounts.
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA), (also called flex plan, reimbursement account, Flex 125, Tax Saving Plan, Medical Spending Account, a Section 125, or a Cafeteria Plan), is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows you to pay for eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis (there are also similar accounts for dependent and child-care expenses). If you expect to incur medical expenses that won’t be reimbursed by your regular health insurance plan, you should be taking advantage of your employer’s FSA if they have one.
Not all employers participate in FSA programs. You should check with your Benefits Manager to see if your employer participates. It is important to calculate how much money to contribute for the year. If you put in more money than you need, by law, you lose it. For Corneal Refractive Therapy, it’s recommend you have a consultation first to determine candidacy prior to making any allocations to your Flexible Spending Account.