Orthokeratology is the process of using rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses worn overnight to correct a patient’s vision. Orthokeratology is known by many names, most commonly Ortho-K, or corneal refractive therapy (CRT). The rigid contact lenses are removed upon waking, and this allows an individual clear vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.
By reshaping the cornea, CRT lenses can correct for myopia, or nearsightedness. Even if the patient also has astigmatism, many times CRT is still an option that has a high rate of success.
However, this is not a permanent solution. The lenses must be worn regularly for the wearer to maintain clear vision during the day time. If the lenses are not worn for a period of time, the cornea will return to its original shape, creating a need for some kind of corrective lenses.
Still, lasting results have been achieved in teenagers as CRT lenses may prevent myopia from worsening.
CRT lenses are not as comfortable as a soft contact lens, but this is not often an issue. Because the eyelids are still most of the time the CRT lenses are worn, there is less irritation of the lid. Also, the wearer will sleep through much of the time that the lenses are inserted, and will not notice it.
May Require Several Fittings
Ortho-K, or CRT lenses can require several visits with your eye care professional in order to achieve a perfect fit for you. The reason for this is that if the lens does not fit correctly, it can have a negative result, such as double vision, ghosting, and problems with glare, especially at night. Your eye care professional may have to go through several sets of lenses before a successful fit is achieved.
The cost of the initial exam and follow-up visits will vary, depending on your eye care professional. The lenses themselves might cost something like $600-1000 per pair. It may seem a bit expensive, but it is still less expensive than Lasik surgery, and after the initial fitting, the patient may not end up spending much more than they would on eyeglasses and contact lenses over a year’s time.