If you’re nearsighted, you may sometimes find wearing glasses and contact lenses all day uncomfortable.
After all, glasses tend to fog up, which makes seeing hard. Wearing eyeglasses can be difficult when you’re an athlete or play contact sports regularly.
On the other hand, wearing contacts can cause dry, red, itchy eyes and more.
For now, you may continue wearing them so that you can see things clearly and go about your daily tasks efficiently and safely.
However, glasses and contacts are not your only options for treating your nearsightedness or myopia. You can also opt for ortho-K lenses.
Orthokeratology or ortho-K lenses are specially designed gas-permeable lenses that reshape the cornea to treat myopia, nearsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, and other refractive eye problems.
Although they come in contact lens form, they can and should be worn at night while you’re sleeping since you are treating or improving your vision when you wear them as you sleep.
While you’re sleeping with your ortho-K lenses on, they apply gentle pressure to the cornea to reshape it so that when you remove them the next morning, you can see clearly without wearing glasses or contact lenses for the whole day.
Ortho-K lenses are safe to wear while you’re sleeping since they are made of gas-permeable materials. Because of this, oxygen can still reach your eyes, so they remain healthy.
Orthokeratology therapy is non-invasive; each lens is specifically designed to suit the patient’s specific requirements, thus making it a safe treatment option.
If you want to give ortho-K lenses a try, follow these tips to get the most from this treatment:
1. Consult an ophthalmologist specializing in orthokeratology.
The first step to undergoing orthokeratology treatment is consulting an ophthalmologist specializing in this therapy.
During your initial consultation, the specialist will answer all your questions regarding the treatment and give you supplementary literature so that you obtain more relevant information about it.
After the first consultation, you have to undergo different tests to rule out conditions you may have that can complicate the treatment.
For instance, if you have keratoconus, a condition wherein the cornea thins and bulges outward into a cone shape causing blurred vision and sensitivity to brightness, ortho-K will not be prescribed to you.
If you have dry eyes, you must treat this before getting ortho-K lenses.
2. Be prepared to undergo a thorough evaluation.
After the initial consultation, you have to go through the actual ortho-k evaluation.
This evaluation starts with measuring the corneal topography, which will be the baseline for the lens fitting throughout the treatment.
Be prepared to undergo several topography exams since the ophthalmologist needs to get the most precise reading for each eye.
During these tests, your eye specialist will also record other information pertinent to your treatment, such as axial, differential, elevation, tangential and refractive maps.
At this stage, your ophthalmologist will discuss with you some effects of the treatment you may experience, including halos and certain adjustments for moderate-to-high myopia.
If you are already uncomfortable when seeing slightly blurry images at a distance, inform your specialist so they can help you create a plan for managing it.
Additionally, your eye doctor will also explain the precautionary measures you both have to take if your accommodative system requires help with vision training during the treatment.
Lastly, be prepared to visit your eye specialist’s clinic several times for these exams and the lens fittings to ensure you get the right ones that will treat your condition and improve your vision.
3. Know the proper steps for inserting and removing your ortho-K lenses.
When your final first set of customized ortho-K lenses arrives, your specialist will insert these in your eyes to ensure they fit properly. They will ask if you feel any discomfort while wearing them.
If you are comfortable with the lenses, you won’t need to have them replaced or adjusted. Your ophthalmologist will then teach you the proper steps for handling, inserting and removing them.
If you have previously worn contacts, you can follow some of the basic steps, including washing your hands thoroughly before handling the ortho-K lenses.
After inserting each lens, check if it is sitting correctly in the center of your eye. If it is uncomfortable and the discomfort doesn’t seem to be disappearing, remove it and insert it again.
A lens sucker makes it easier for you to remove an ortho-K lens safely from your eyes. Your ophthalmologist will teach you how to use this as well.
Always follow the correct steps for applying the lenses at night and removing them in the morning to ensure you stay safe while undergoing the treatment.
4. Wash your ortho-K lenses after every use.
After removing your lenses in the morning, wash them thoroughly using the cleaning kit given by your doctor.
Again, wash your hands thoroughly before handling the lenses. Avoid using oil or lotion-based soaps since they could leave residues on your ortho-K appliances.
To wash your lenses, gently massage two to three drops of the cleaning solution across all surfaces for at least one minute. Always rub the circular edge of each lens to remove the dirt that stays in these areas.
Use a sterile saline solution to rinse your lenses before storing them. Make sure you do this properly because if you don’t remove the cleaning product thoroughly, your eyes will sting and be irritated.
5. Store the lenses properly when you’re not using them.
Once you’re done washing your ortho-k lenses, fill the storage case with a soaking solution and gently put them inside it.
At night, try to clean the case to prevent bacteria, germs and other harmful particles that can live inside it. Wash it with saline solution and air dry it.
Make sure you don’t expose the case to irritants, perfumes and other harsh household cleaning products.
Most experts recommend replacing the case every two to three months to ensure you store your lenses in a safe, sanitary place.
Your specialist will closely monitor your progress, which entails visiting them every six to 12 months to undergo eye exams.
From the test results, they will decide if the lenses are improving your vision or if they need to create a new treatment strategy.
With the help of your eye specialist and by following these tips, your ortho-K lenses can improve your vision safely while you’re getting quality sleep at night.