WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU BEGIN oRTHO-K TREATMENT
Congratulations! Dr. Pearl has approved you for Ortho-K contact lenses. You’re ready to launch the process known as orthokeratology, or Ortho-k for short.
What’s it like to wear these special lenses? Do they feel different from regular contacts? How long does it take to see improvement? Although every situation is unique, let’s explore the basic information, so you know what to expect.
GETTING YOUR ORTHO-K LENSES
At your first eye exam, Dr. Pearl will check your eyes thoroughly to see if current vision issues make you a good Ortho-K candidate. The best candidates are nearsighted, with or without a low level of astigmatism. In addition to conducting a regular eye exam, Dr. Pearl will use a computer-imaging tool called a Topographer to map the shape of your cornea (front of the eye).
You’ll be fitted for each Ortho-K lens so it properly rests on your cornea based on its curvature, diameter and height. Paragon CRT lenses are gas-permeable, or hard contact lenses. Once you’re fitted, Dr. Pearl's office will order them for you to pick up the following week.
PUTTING THEM IN FOR THE FIRST TIME
Taking care of your new lenses is a lot like caring for soft contact lenses. Gas-permeable lenses go in just like soft contact lenses: you hold your lids open, gently placing them on your eye’s surface. The only difference is that you’ll need a few lubricating drops before placing the lenses on your eyes.
Right before bedtime, clean each lens as instructed by Dr. Pearl, and check it for chips and scratches. Insert the lubricating drops, and then rest a lens on each eye. This video explains the process.
When you go to bed, it may feel unusual to have lenses in your eyes. Don’t worry — within a few days, you’ll be used to the sensation.
THE FIRST MORNING
Removing gas-permeable lenses is a little different from removing soft contact lenses. Because they’re not pliable, you will use a special remover supplied by Dr. Pearl. It’s easy and painless. When you wake up, you’ll add more lubricating drops in your eyes and wait 10 minutes before removing your lenses. This video explains the process.
Because you’ll have an appointment with Dr. Pearl the first morning after wearing your lenses, his staff can help if you have trouble with the remover. During your appointment, Dr. Pearl will assess how the lenses worked the first night. For the second night, you may receive different lenses depending on the changes in your cornea.
You’ll continue using the lenses for seven to 14 days. Then, you’ll have an additional follow-up appointment with Dr. Pearl.
HOW YOUR VISION WILL CHANGE
Patients notice different things the first morning after wearing their lenses, and many often read the doctor’s eye chart noticeably better than they did before. At first, the clearer vision may not last throughout the day. You can either carry your glasses or use daily disposable soft contact lenses until you reach improvement that lasts all day.
With continued overnight use, your vision should become more focused, and the clarity will last longer as your cornea shape changes. As the days pass, your old glasses or contact lens prescription will become too strong. Avoid wearing them; Dr. Pearl will provide a plan for gradually reducing your prescription as you progress.
Make sure to wear your Ortho-k lenses every night during the early stages of your treatment. Also, follow your Dr. Pearl’s instructions to get the best results. Within one to two weeks, most patients can go the entire day without glasses or contact lenses.
If your eyes feel a little dry after lens removal, add some rewetting drops before starting your day. The good news is that without daily contact lenses, you should experience fewer dry eye symptoms during the day. When you wear your lenses at night, your eyes remain closed, which seals in moisture against the surface of your eyes.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU STOP WEARING THEM?
If you decide to stop wearing your CRT lenses, your cornea will gradually revert to its original shape. This change means you’ll need a stronger prescription once again, so you’ll need to schedule an eye exam. Discuss your preference for glasses, contact lenses, or other treatments with your Dr. Pearl.