Frequently Asked Questions
I KEEP HEARING DIFFERENT TERMS FOR ORTHOKERATOLOGY. DO THEY ALL MEAN THE SAME THING?
Yes! Orthokeratology may also be known as: Ortho-K, Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT), Vision Shaping Treatment (VST), Gentle Shaping System, The Gentle Vision Shaping System, Corneal Moulding, Wave Front Corneal Moulding, and Gentle Moulding.
Additionally, the treatment devices used to achieve corrected vision may be referred to as: Retainer Lenses, Vision Retainers, Retainers, Ortho-K Lenses, Corneal Moulds, Moulds, Wave Lenses, and CRT Lenses.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO ACHIEVE GREAT VISION?
This depends on your prescription, age, and treatment goals. In adults, the higher prescriptions can take two to four weeks to achieve good vision but children's corneas are much more easily moulded.
Some patients are seeing clearly in as little as one night of retainer lens wear.
IS THE VISION IMPROVEMENT CREATED BY THE CORNEAL RESHAPING LENSES PERMANENT?
Patients who wear their lenses as prescribed find that they have great vision well into the evening. Some patients are even able to wear their lenses every other night and still maintain their enhanced vision. However, if you stop wearing your lenses while sleeping, your vision will return to its original state.
CAN I SEE WHILE WEARING MY ORTHOKERATOLOGY RETAINERS?
Yes. This allows you to read in bed or watch TV before falling asleep.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MY VISION WHILE MY EYES ARE IN THE PROCESS OF RESHAPING?
During the first few days of the Ortho-K process, you may find that your vision is quite good for a few hours, and then begins to diminish. Often we may fit you with a soft lens to wear that will improve your vision when it begins to fade. Often these are only worn as needed and are reduced in strength as your vision improves.
HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE CORNEAL RESHAPING LENSES?
The rate of success is very high, but it depends on your original prescription, corneal topography and treatment goals. During your initial evaluation Dr. Fenn will give you information about your potential outcome.
HOW SAFE ARE THE RETAINER MOULDS?
They are very safe. However, there is a small risk of infection or abnormal blood vessel growth involved when any contact lens is worn. This risk is minimized by adhering to scrupulous disinfection and care procedures, by wearing your retainers only as instructed and by coming in for regular progress checks.
ARE THEY DIFFICULT TO INSERT AND REMOVE?
Your retainers are actually easy to insert and remove and some find them much easier than a soft lens.
HOW OFTEN DO MY RETAINER LENSES NEED REPLACING?
Dr. Fenn may recommend replacing your retainer lenses every year depending on their condition. Moulds that have become warped or have that have deposits and build up will not allow proper oxygen to the cornea, may even lead to infection, and will not produce a consistent treatment. At your regular six month examinations you will be advised if they need to be replaced.
WHAT IF I LOSE A LENS?
Orthokeratology is different than wearing regular contact lenses. If you discontinue wear for one night, your vision may be impaired the next day. Immediate replacement of a lost retainer is necessary. It is recommended to always have a spare pair of retainer lenses as a back up... just in case.
WHAT IF I SLEEP LESS THAN MOST PEOPLE?
Great results can be achieved in as little as four hours of sleep each night. Some people prefer to sleep for several short time periods of time rather than one consecutive period. This isn't a problem, just insert your retainer lenses in when you sleep and remove them when you wake.
DOES ORTHOK HAVE ANY ADVANTAGES OVER LASER VISION CORRECTION (LVC)?
- No ethical surgeon will treat a patient until they are at least 18, or more usually 21 years old.
- It does not cause the permanent hazy vision experienced by some patients following laser surgery.
- Changes in prescription over time can be dealt with without further surgery.
- The procedure is REVERSIBLE. Laser vision correction is not.
- There is no post-operative pain or recovery period.
- Ortho-K is significantly cheaper and does not preclude surgery in the future.
WHAT DOES ORTHOKERATOLOGY COST?
Generally an up to date general eye examination should be performed before any Ortho-K consultation. This is necessary to rule out patients who are not candidates based on eye conditions, diseases or any peculiar anatomical features that would prevent you from benefiting from orthokeratology.
The fees for OrthoK start at $1800 which include:
The Initial Consultation: Includes a one hour comprehensive evaluation of refractive status, corneal topography and determination of trial Ortho-K shaping lens parameters
Diagnostic Shaping Lens Trial: Includes instruction on insertion, removal and care of the trial Ortho-K shaping lenses. In addition, there is an evaluation of the refractive changes, topography and fit of the Ortho-K shaping lenses after one night of wear.
Treatment Program: Includes a one hour comprehensive evaluation of refractive status, corneal topography and determination of trial Ortho-K shaping lens parameters
The fees are in staged payments with a partial refund should you choose to not proceed with the Ortho-K treatment before the first month.
WHAT IS THE SAFETY OF ORTHOKERATOLOGY?
Orthokeratology has been approved by Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States as well as the health and medical regulatory bodies of most major industrialized countries.
Modern orthokeratology has been practiced safely for over 15 years. The risks of orthokeratology are slightly more than those of regular daily wear soft contact lens wear. Generally there are very few reported complications with orthokeratology. As with regular contact lenses, if Ortho-K lenses are not cleaned and cared for according to your doctor's instructions, infection may result. Some infections may cause a corneal ulcer, also known as microbial keratitis (MK) which can result in corneal scarring and loss of vision While the rigid gas permeable (RGP) shaping lenses for Ortho-K treatment are approved for overnight wear and tend to have lower rates of MK compared to overnight wear of soft lenses, it is believed that overall, there are higher rates of MK with extended or overnight wear of all lenses. Microbial keratitis is a serious, potentially blinding complication of contact lens wear. It is estimated that the annualized incidence of MK for overnight wear of Ortho-K lenses is 7.7 per 10,000 wearers. In comparison, the generally accepted figure for annualized incidence of MK in disposable conventional daily wear hydrogel (soft) lens patients is 4 per 10,000 wearers. For extended (overnight) wear of soft lenses the annualized incidence is 20 per 10, 000 wearers.
However, proper lens care is a must and patients who are not mature enough to properly care for their lenses should not be treated using orthokeratology.
IS ORTHO-K RIGHT FOR YOU?
- Do you wear glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism?
- Are you interested in LASIK but not quite ready?
- Are you unable to wear contacts due to allergies or other sensitivities?
- Are you tired of getting debris getting under gas permeable lenses?
- Do you feel contacts inhibit your ability to enjoy sports, working out, hiking, swimming, or skiing?
- Do your child's eyes require a stronger eyeglass prescription every year?
- Does your child need contacts but has trouble wearing or caring for them?
- Do you want to wake up during the night and see?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Fenn for more information.