Overnight ortho k contact lenses for vision restoration

About 25-30% of people suffer from myopia. Some correct their vision with glasses, some choose contact lenses, some decide to have surgery. But there is another way to see the world clearly: hard contact lenses. This method is not very popular, but it has the right to exist, provided that it is approved for use by your ophthalmologist.

What are overnight contact lenses for vision

Orthokeratology is a branch of ophthalmology that specializes in restoring vision without the aid of surgery. Orthokeratology lenses (ortho k lenses or ok lenses) are a modern, non-surgical and therefore safe way to correct myopia. The method was certified in the USA in 2002.

Overnight contact lenses get their name because of their wearing mode: they are put on 15-20 minutes before bedtime for at least 8 hours, and removed in the morning. These are hard contact lenses, while they are on the eye, they affect the shape of the cornea, changing it, so that patients can see well in the morning without glasses. The cornea gradually recovers: this process takes from 1 to 3 days, which depends on the structure of the eye and the degree of pathology.

After the first night with ortho k lenses, patients see about 70-75% of what is possible, which means that additional correction may still be necessary. After the second night the effect increases, and after 3-7 days it reaches the necessary 100%. But only if you use night lenses for vision regularly: every or every other night, depending on the doctor’s recommendations. Usually in the beginning of treatment it is recommended to wear OK-lenses every 24 hours, with time you can do intervals of 1-2 days, as the cornea begins to hold the necessary shape longer.

Orthokeratology lenses consist of two surfaces: the first corrects the cornea and the outer corrects visual acuity, so overnight contacts see clearly, just like soft contact lenses.

Ortho k lenses are less popular than classic contact lenses for a number of reasons:

  • It takes the eye longer to get used to them than soft contact lenses.
  • Until recently, they were made of a material that was poorly oxygen permeable, so some people still have a fear. Today, ok-lenses are silicone-based: they allow the eyes to receive a sufficient amount of oxygen, and the risk of hypoxia during their use is practically zero.
  • They correct vision only temporarily, and people who want to get rid of refractive anomalies prefer to have surgery. In other cases, it seems easier and more familiar to wear glasses or soft contact lenses.

But it’s all just a matter of convenience and habit.

Overnight contact lenses: how does this means of correction work?

Overnight ortho k contact lenses for vision restoration

The light beam is centered on the surface of the retina of a healthy eye, but in pathologies it is in front of or behind it, and the image is not clear. Hard lenses temporarily reshape the cornea and return the light beam to its correct focus. They don’t adjust to the eye, they adjust to the eye. This is possible because ortho-k lenses are made of a fairly rigid material and have a different inner surface shape: flat in the middle and convex on the sides (so they are also called reverse geometry lenses), and the cornea itself is flexible enough to change.

When the lens is placed on the eye it puts pressure on the center of the cornea: it becomes flatter, while the edges, on the contrary, thicken (the corneal epithelium shifts to the periphery), i.e. the eye takes on a more natural shape. Laser correction provides approximately the same effect, but the consequences of the surgery are irreversible, while the effect of an overnight contacts is completely reversible.

If the patient wears orthokeratology lenses every night or every other night, the cornea does not have time to return to its former shape. But if you refuse such correction, you will soon have to wear glasses or soft contact lenses again.

Despite the fact that orthok lenses are made of a relatively hard material, which acts on the eye, correcting the shape of the cornea, they do not cause discomfort. Moreover, after a short period of adaptation, they do not feel at all on the eyes.

Are orthokeratology lenses safe?

 orthokeratology lenses for vision restoration

Orthokeratology night lenses have not always been made of gas-permeable material, and they are also quite rigid, so patients are worried about their safety. But there is no need to do that: today, lenses are not harmful to the health of the eyes and do not cause any discomfort if you follow the doctor’s recommendations when using them. The most important thing: do not prescribe ok lens yourself and do not exceed the prescribed wearing time.

It is equally important to see an ophthalmologist regularly, even in the absence of complaints. The doctor should see how adaptation to correction is going and evaluate the condition of the structures of the eye: usually he does this before fitting overnight contact lenses, one day after the patient started using lenses, after one week, two weeks, one month, and then once every three months.

In general, ortho k lenses are as safe as daily contact lenses: they are well oxygen tolerant, do not cause allergies, and do not cause discomfort after adaptation. Such correction is approved by ophthalmologists throughout the world, it is certified and has proven to be safe, provided that the patient follows the rules for using and taking care of the lenses. This is confirmed at least by the fact that night lenses are indicated for children over 6 years of age.

What complications may arise

If the recommendations of the ophthalmologist are followed, ortho-k lenses are safe, as mentioned above. Occasionally, patients may develop keratitis, conjunctivitis, and corneal microinjuries, but this is almost always the case if the rules of use are not followed. For example, if you don’t wash your hands before putting on or taking off your lenses, if you don’t take it off for longer than 10 hours.

Some complications are not always noticeable and cause discomfort, so it is important to regularly visit an ophthalmologist: during examination, you can identify even small deviations and get the appropriate recommendations.

Any discomfort is also a reason to make an appointment. Sometimes the doctor may cancel this type of correction and choose soft contact lenses or glasses.

Possible complications

  1. Bacterial keratitis.
    It can develop for several reasons: if orthokeratology lenses are overused, if they are not cleaned, the container is not rinsed, the solution is not changed after each use, and if hands are not washed or thoroughly washed. As a result, bacteria accumulate on the lens, which in contact with the eye provokes the development of keratitis. Symptoms are eye pain, lacrimation, photophobia and pus accumulation. Microbial keratitis is the most common complication, but it occurs in about 5 people out of 10,000.
  2. Hypoxia. As mentioned above, the modern material allows sufficient oxygen to pass through. But if you wear the product longer than the recommended period (about 10 hours instead of 8), hypoxia cannot be ruled out.
  3. Viral conjunctivitis. It develops for the same reasons as bacterial keratitis, and causes eye pain, lacrimation, redness, and itching.
  4. Corneal scarring The main reason for the development of this pathology is the use of expired ortho k lenses: bacteria accumulate on the lenses, the lenses themselves become covered in microcracks and damage the cornea. One of the symptoms of scarring is decreased visual acuity.
  5. Allergy. The material from which ortho k contacts are made usually does not cause allergies, but still do not exclude such a probability. Also intolerance can cause the cleaning solution in which they are stored, then the doctor simply selects other options.
  6. Corneal adhesion. This is possible with dry eye syndrome. In this case, the doctor selects moisturizing drops, and the problem goes away.
  7. Mechanical damage. You can injure your eye if you don’t remove your ok lens correctly or wear orthokeratology lenses with damage.

The use of hard contact lenses with these complications is not allowed, you must first undergo treatment, and after the doctor’s decision to return to correction. It is worth noting that with proper use of lenses complications develop very rarely. The main thing is to take care of your lenses and take care of your health.

Side effects

Contacts you can sleep in no side effects per se, but during the adaptation period, which lasts up to 3 weeks, you may feel some discomfort and dry eyes. These conditions are normal, but they should still be reported to the doctor at routine appointments. You should also tell your ophthalmologist about other conditions if they occur. For example, if your eyes hurt or are more sensitive to light.

Overnight contact lenses for vision correction: advantages

  1. They are put on before going to sleep. They will not fall out, get lost, or move from the center of the eye because the patient is asleep while they are being used.
  2. They allow you to lead an active life and do not limit your choice of profession. During the day you can play sports, go to the pool, swim in an open body of water, they do not fog up when entering a warm room from a cold street. While using the lenses, you can work with aerosols, in a smoky or dusty room, because during the day we are without them.
  3. They correct eyesight, even for children. It is difficult for children to use soft contact lenses: kids can rub their eyes during the day and get dirt in that way. Since a child puts on night contact lenses before going to bed, this situation is eliminated. The advantage over glasses is that they will not fly off or break.
  4. The hard lenses can be quickly abandoned.
    Overnight contact lenses for vision correction give a temporary reversible effect, which lasts for 3 days maximum. If suddenly you want to switch to glasses, soft contact lenses, you can do it just a few days after giving up ok lenses. But it is still necessary to consult a doctor beforehand.
  5. Ortho k lenses have a noticeable effect on the initial stages of myopia (nearsightedness). With acceptable corneal parameters, ortho-k lenses can slow or completely halt the progression of the disease after long-term use, and if the patient has false myopia, this correction will prevent it from growing into true myopia.
  6. They are durable. Due to the fact that the ok lens is made of relatively hard and dense material, and due to the absence of the likelihood of mechanical damage (for example, the surface of the product will not fall on the dust, as at night the eye is closed), they last a year.
  7. They are easy to take off and put on. They are stiff, so they don’t turn out when you put them on your eye. Your ophthalmologist will show you how to use them at your appointment.
  8. They don’t dry out. There is almost no moisture in the composition of a night contacts, so it cannot dry out even in a dry room.

How to wear overnight contact lenses to restore vision?

Detailed recommendations on how to put on and take off the product, how to care for them, which mode of wear to choose, gives the doctor who picked up this method of correction. But there are general recommendations:

  1. Do not use one orthokeratology lens longer than a year. This is the maximum service life: even if visually and by feel the lenses look undamaged, they should still be replaced. It is also worth buying a new set if there are scratches on the product, its edges are damaged, if you began to experience discomfort, if you have any other complaints; it is advisable to visit a doctor for corneal damage.
  2. Lenses need to be taken care of. Overnight contact corrective lenses should be cleaned in a special solution every day, the solution should be changed after each use. Do not remove and put on Ok lenses with dirty hands. The container for a new pair should be new and clean. The doctor may also recommend renewing the container every three months or more often to prevent bacteria and other deposits from accumulating on the plastic.
  3. Lenses cannot be shared. This is an individual product, lend it to someone, even temporarily, use someone else’s container or let someone else wash night lenses to restore vision in their container, you can not pick up fungus, infection and other ophthalmic diseases.
  4. You need to see your doctor regularly. The standard schedule of visits to the ophthalmologist is once every three months, if you have any complaints you need to go more often. The first visit after fitting is the day after therapy, then after a week, after 2 weeks, after a month. During the visit the ophthalmologist will see if there is any result of the correction (for instance if the cornea continues to take its initial shape), and if your eye is not damaged (for instance if you do not take care of it properly there may be inflammation which is asymptomatic in the first stages). If you want to use other correction methods or have a surgery, the specialist will help you decide.
  5. You should not wear ortho k lenses during the day or longer than 10 hours. You need to let your eyes rest. Failure to wear it correctly can damage your eyes. The maximum duration of continuous use is 10 hours, and the minimum is 6 hours. If you sleep less than the recommended amount, it is advisable to wear ok-lenses beforehand.
  6. It is important to follow the lens wearing schedule. Your ophthalmologist will tell you which schedule is right for you: every night or every other night.

Indications: Who can use night contact lenses for vision?

Night contact lens are not harmful to the eyes, so they are indicated for both adults and children from the age of 6. The indications include:

  1. Myopia (nearsightedness). With myopia or visual impairment from -0.25 to -7.00 diopters, correction shows good results.
  2. Astigmatism. A small deviation of up to 2 diopters is also easy to correct.
  3. Far-sightedness. The deviation should not exceed +3 diopters to get a result.
  4. Intolerance to soft contact lenses, unwillingness to use glasses, fear of surgery. The patient may also refuse other methods of correction for various reasons, such as water sports
  5. Ophthalmologic diseases in childhood. Correction helps reduce or stop the progression of myopia and other ophthalmic conditions combined with the progression of myopia in children.
  6. False nearsightedness (myopia). If untreated, it transforms into true myopia, so it is important to start correction in time. Ortho-k lenses usually solve the problem of false myopia transforming into true myopia completely.
  7. Lazy eye syndrome. This diagnosis means that the eye is not fully engaged in the visual process. Ortho k contacts allow painless inclusion of the lazy eye in the visual process.

The smaller the deviation from the norm, the easier it is to correct.

Orthokeratology lenses: contraindications

  1. High degree of myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. This is not a contraindication as such, just in this situation the effectiveness of the correction will be low.
  2. Progression of presbyopia. Ortho k lenses are indicated for ages 6 to 40. For older ages, they are usually used with additional correction.
  3. Some ophthalmologic diseases. For example, dry eye syndrome, trauma to the cornea eyelid, stye, cataracts, glaucoma, involuntary frequent eye movements, inability to completely close the eye, etc. Correction can be started after treatment as determined by your doctor.
  4. Infections. All bacterial and viral infections in the acute phase.
  5. Allergy. On a special solution or lens material. In this case, you can pick up another remedy and resume correction.
  6. Age up to 6 years old, advanced age.

What should I choose: hard contact lenses, soft lenses or glasses?

There is no universal recommendation: everything is individual and depends on your lifestyle, preferences and abilities. First of all, it is important to determine the indications and contraindications, and then discuss possible options for vision correction with your doctor.

How to choose overnight contact lenses

Ortho k lenses for the eyes are chosen by an ophthalmologist and only after a thorough diagnosis. Self-treatment can noticeably affect your eye health: Don’t take that risk.

The selection takes place in several stages:

  1. Consultation. The specialist determines the presence of indications and contraindications.
  2. Diagnostics. Methods include: determination of visual acuity, corneal curvature, intraocular pressure, examination for the presence or absence of infectious and other processes. The doctor may prescribe intraocular pressure measurements, ultrasound, CT scans, and other examinations.
  3. Direct selection. The doctor determines the appropriate lens brand and parameters. He uses a keratograph to model the corneal diptrium strength, this is necessary to select the right orthokeratology lenses, especially if they will be made individually.
  4. Production. Ortho k contacts may be pre-made or
    or they can be made individually, taking into account as much as possible all the parameters of the eye. This process takes an average of two weeks.
  5. Training. The doctor tells you how to use the lenses, how to take care of them, which symptoms should alert you and which are the norm. If correction is prescribed for children, the specialist duplicates this information for parents.
  6. Adaptation and scheduling of further visits. You should come to your first visit after correction with ortho k lenses, the next and the rest without them. At the appointment, the ophthalmologist may choose another cleanser if the one he picked up earlier causes allergies.