In my experience, I have seen patients who have problems using contact lenses in dynamic activities such as dancing and sports like football, basket ball, riding, etc., especially when dry eyes make ordinary contact lenses uncomfortable or when to cover life needs it is necessary to wear contact lenses for too many hours. For example, stage work, which calls for long evenings in performance. After a long day of work or rehearsals wearing your contact lenses can become a hassle. In some “contact” sports it is also very easy to lose a contact lens. So, to not have them in the eye can be a great advantage. Swimming is another activity that would benefit from freedom of both glasses and contact lenses, or even just on holiday, to be able able to just pop a pair of normal sunglasses on is very freeing.
Sometimes, it is beneficial not to have contact lenses in the eyes, as it avoids dryness, discomfort and the risk of losing a lens. There are also benefits to not having to wear a pair of glasses, especially with children when the care of your own belongings is not a first priority.
For any of the situations above, a good option opticians can offer to their patients is Orthokeratology.
What is Orthokeratology (Overnight Vision Correction)?
Orthokeratology is a non-invasive and reversible technique used in optometry for reshaping the corneal surface in order to reduce shortsightedness. This is done by use of special contact lenses that gently change the shape of the cornea while you sleep. The results are temporary so as not to permanently altering the physiology of the cornea.
Upon waking, you simply remove the lenses (after having instilled a few drops of lubricating eye-drops) and your vision will be optimal for the whole day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. You can then confidently face the day without using of any type of visual correction. The lenses should be disinfected in the morning after each use with the usual disinfection systems used for gas permeable contact lenses.
Orthokeratology is a proven, safe, efficient and technologically advanced method to reshape the cornea during sleep. The treatment is temporary and therefore reversible; if you go a few days or weeks without wearing the lenses, the cornea will resume its initial state.
Not everyone is eligible for Orthokeratology though. These lenses are therapeutic, designed for shortsighted people and for those with astigmatism. Not all shortsighted people would be suitable and there are other limitations that will be assessed by your optometrist to determine if your eyes and vision would successfully benefit from this technique. There is an age restriction meaning the lenses are not available for children under 12 years of age. This method is very effective in controlling the progression of shortsightedness in children aged 12 and above.
Most patients show a rapid improvement in the first few days and reach optimal viewing within 7-14 days. It’s also possible to see when wearing the lenses, which is often useful during the first few days of treatment when wearing glasses or normal corrective contact lenses will be too strong, or if you need to get up during the night.
To know if your situation falls within the visual range of applications and is treatable with Orthokeratology you should contact your local optometrist.
After a preliminary visit, you will know whether or not this method or Corneal Refractive Therapy would be suitable for you. This is assessed during a thorough eye examination – not only must you be within a certain range of shortsightedness and astigmatic powers, but you must also have healthy eyes, a suitable pupil diameter and a corneal curvature compatible with such lenses.
Only optometrists who successfully pass the certification test CRTs have the ability, as defined by FDA regulations, to apply the Corneal Refractive Therapy contact lenses.