Dr. Douglas Haigh and our team of Boston eye doctors here at the Nielsen Eye Center are now offering Ortho K lenses to patients who need vision correction but are looking for alternatives to eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK eye surgery as treatment options. Ortho K lenses are similar to soft contact lenses, but patients only need to wear Ortho K at night while they sleep. They will not require any daytime contact lenses or glasses to see clearly. Ortho K treatment is designed to take effect overnight. The lenses gently reshape the cornea and allow patients to see with near 20/20 vision by the next morning. This vision treatment option is comfortable, easy, and may even be suitable for children who are over 6-years-old. Dr. Haigh recently took some time to answer a few questions about Ortho K.
Q: Who is the best candidate for Ortho K?
Dr. Haigh: Children aged 6 to 18-years-old, who wear or need glasses or have parents who wear or need glasses. The best candidates for Ortho K are children because they have the most to gain. After children, I recommend this therapy for athletes, dry eye sufferers, patients who are frustrated with soft contact lenses and lastly, patients who are looking for a non-surgical alternative to LASIK.
Q: Are there age restrictions?
DH: There are no age restrictions, but I typically will not fit anyone under 6 or over 60. I do not fit small children because of maturity issues, and I do not fit people over 60 because I find they usually have a preference for cataract surgery after discussing the available options.
Q: Can anyone wear Ortho K lenses?
DH: More than 90% of patients who would benefit from this treatment can wear the lenses. Patients with corneal irregularities or [those who have an] extremely high prescription strength are not candidates. We can fit up to a -6.00 prescription. I estimate more than 90% of my patients are candidates. The patients who cannot wear Ortho K fall into three categories: 1. Patients with corneal irregularities; 2. People with a high prescription; and 3. Patients with unrealistic expectations.
Q: How long does it take to see results?
DH: If you wear these lenses for one night, you will see an improvement the very next day.
Q: How long do the results last?
DH: Results typically last more than 24 hours, as long as patients continue to wear the lenses. Patients should be able to get through an entire day comfortably with 20/20 vision or better. The effects are reversible if you discontinue the therapy.
Q: Are there any complications?
DH: Complications are similar to those associated with soft contact lens wear. If Ortho K is worn as directed and follow-up appointments are kept, patients should continue to see well.
Q: Anything else you would like people to know?
DH: Ortho K is currently exploding in Asia and on the West Coast, where there is an epidemic of myopia (nearsightedness). Over 75% of progression of myopia can usually be stopped if Ortho K is started early enough. If parents can recall, a child’s prescription usually worsens each year from about ages 8 to 18. Ortho K is one proven method designed to slow down and stop myopia progression.
Also, my wife currently wears these lenses. If my children begin to develop myopia, they will wear them too.
When I see patients aged 20 to 30-years-old with prescriptions of -3.00 or higher, I can look back through their charts and usually notice the progression every year. When I look into an Ortho K patient’s chart, the progression is typically significantly reduced and often can stop completely.
Contact the Nielsen Eye Center
If you are interested in learning more about Ortho K lenses, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced eye doctors, please contact us today.