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Did you know that you might be able to correct myopia without surgery? A procedure called orthokeratology, or ortho-k, makes it possible for many people to achieve better vision without LASIK. In fact, with ortho-k, you simply wear contact lenses at night — and remove them during the day! Here's a quick peek at how it works.
Step 1: In a quick, painless procedure, your eye doctor measures the curvature of your cornea.1
Step 2: Based on those measurements, the eye doctor provides you with ortho-k lenses, which are flatter and more rigid than regular contact lenses.1
Step 3: You wear the lenses at night — since they're highly gas-permeable, it's safe.1 While you sleep, the lenses work to flatten your cornea, which corrects your vision.2
Step 4: Most people require a series of three progressively flatter lenses to achieve the best results — usually 20/40 to 20/20 vision.1 You may experience a dramatic improvement in your vision after just a night or two. If your nearsightedness is more severe, then it may take a couple of weeks or longer to achieve those results. During the process, you may have blurred vision, glare and halos around lights.1
Step 5: Even after your nearsightedness is corrected, you'll need to continue wearing the lenses every night. They work much like a retainer for your teeth, helping to ensure that the cornea retains its new shape.2 If you don't continue with the lenses, you may still see fine for a couple of days, but your myopia will gradually return.1 Some people may still need to wear glasses or contacts during the day, but at a lower prescription; and some people may continue to experience mild glare or halos.1
Who it's for
Good candidates for ortho-k include children and adults with mild to moderate myopia. People who are too young for LASIK or have other issues that make them poor candidates for refractive surgery also may benefit from ortho-k. Likewise, people whose daytime activities or work environments make it challenging to wear contact lenses also might opt for this alternative.1
Factors to consider
In general, ortho-k is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure. However, there is some risk of corneal abrasion, corneal infections or corneal ulcerations (sores).3 Consult with your eye care professional for complete details and to determine if ortho-k is the right choice for you.
It's worth noting that ortho-k can cost from $1,000 to $4,000, plus ongoing fees for lens-care solutions, follow-up exams and replacement lenses.1 Insurance may not cover all of these expenses, but your CareCredit healthcare credit card can help you fill the gaps. To find an eye care professional who accepts your CareCredit card, use our online Provider Locator.
1. "Ortho-K and Corneal Refractive Therapy: Overnight Contacts to Correct Myopia," Gary Heiting, OD, All About Vision, updated March 2014, http://www.allaboutvision.com/contacts/orthok.htm, accessed Jan. 6, 2015
2. "Contact Lenses for Nighttime Wear," Richard G. Shugarman, MD, EyeSmart,® American Academy of Ophthalmology, posted Jan. 12, 2013, http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/ask/questions/nighttime-contact-lenses.cfm, accessed Jan. 6, 2015
3. "Ask an Eye M.D.," W. Barry Lee, MD, EyeSmart,® American Academy of Ophthalmology, posted June 26, 2014, http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/ask/questions/is-ortho-k-safe.cfm, accessed Jan. 6, 2015
4. "Alternative Refractive Surgery Procedures," EyeSmart,® American Academy of Ophthalmology, http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/glasses-contacts-lasik/refractive-surgery-alternative-procedures.cfm, accessed Jan. 6, 2015
All statements and opinions in "What is ortho-k and what can it do for you?" are the sole opinions of the Customer Communications Group and not those of CareCredit. The content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual medical provider with respect to any professional advice presented. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms.