Near sighted/myopia people wearing special contact lenses when sleeping to see without glasses or contacts when awake (orthokeratology)

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
...description of modern orthokeratology (OrthoK, the use of specially designed rigid gas-permeable (GP) contact lenses worn while sleeping to reshape the cornea and thus the refractive error of the eye)...
The Role of Orthokeratology in Myopia Control: A Review. Eye & Contact Lens 2018;44:224–230.

Orthokeratology treatment involves the use of rigid contact lenses to change the curvature of the cornea, resulting in a movement in refractive error towards plano.
...
Currently, orthokeratology lenses are designed to have an efect lasting for at least 10-12 hours of functional vision.
...
...multiple studies have provided strong evidence that orthokeratology can reduce myopic progression. ... The studies show that orthokeratology can reduce myopic progression by 85-93.5% and slow axial elongation.
Campbell, EJ. Orthokeratology: an update. Optom Vis Perf 2013;1(1):11-18.

My daughter and I are getting OrthoK contacts to wear when sleeping, in the expectation that we will be able to see clearly without glasses or contacts when we are awake. The main danger seems to be bacterial infection from not properly taking care of the contacts.

I had never heard of OrthoK until about this year. I was mildly interested in it when I was thinking of myself, though I didn't really look further into it until my daughter was diagnosed with myopia. OrthoK supposedly reduces or stops myopia progression, so the eye doctor recommended it for her. I wasn't going to have my daughter be a guinea pig, so I'm going to wear mine first to show her that it is safe.

It is not cheap, costing over $2,000 for each of us, as it is not covered by insurance. If it stops myopia, then it will be worth it.

Have any of you worn OrthoK contacts or heard of dangerous side effects?
 

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AndrewMn

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Yes. Our son (he's 16) has been wearing these lenses for several years. He has a high degree of myopia, but when he put the lenses on at night, he could see perfectly all the next day. They didn't cause any limitations or discomfort. True, they could not be used when ill (with a high fever or malaise).
Unfortunately, they have a big disadvantage - they are very expensive. We stopped using them when our son lost his second pair. Maybe a little later we can afford to buy them a third time, but of course their cost in our country is high.
 

Korzik18

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Have any of you worn OrthoK contacts or heard of dangerous side effects?
Yes. Our son (he's 16) has been wearing these lenses for several years. He has a high degree of myopia, but when he put the lenses on at night, he could see perfectly all the next day. They didn't cause any limitations or discomfort. True, they could not be used when ill (with a high fever or malaise).

Indeed our son has had these, as we called them, night lenses for almost 2 years. He first started using them at the age of 14 precisely to stop the progression of myopia. From first class at school his vision started to deteriorate, and by the age of 14 his vision was -5.5-6. In addition to myopia, he has a slight astigmatism and also pre-tears of the retina, for which he has already had several retinal laser cauterisations. Because of all these problems we decided on orthokeratic lenses mostly in hope to stop the progression of myopia.

I can say straight away that this is exactly what we succeeded in. After 2 years of using rigid lenses his vision remained -5.5, and he did not need to change his glasses to stronger ones, as he usually did before
. He visits the ophthalmologist at our children's polyclinic regularly 2 times a year. Unfortunately, even with these lenses he had to have laser surgery again due to retinal detachment (diagnosis: Peripheral Vitreochorioretinal Dystrophy with Fracture).

From our experience:
My son really liked it.
The effect is very stable. With regular (nightly) use, really sleep 8 hours in the lenses enough to see without glasses until the evening. The visual acuity is greater in the morning, by the evening it drops a little.

Another plus my son has noticed. When wearing glasses he tends to turn his head to the side more often and twist his neck and feel pain and tension in his eye muscles. And without glasses, you move your eyeballs more often and that causes the eye muscles to work more. He noticed this when he started wearing glasses again for one week during a cold.

But these lenses require discipline:
1. Not skipping and putting them on every night before going to bed.
2. Carefully take care of the lenses and the lens container to store them. I helped my son to do this. After sleeping, I washed the lenses daily with a special solution. Then I poured the solution into a container to keep them in for the evening.
Once a week, I thoroughly washed the lens container and the lenses with a stronger special protein remover.
3. Keep hands clean when putting on and taking off the lenses.
4. also require the use of special moisturising eye drops for putting on and taking off the lenses. My son needed a lot of these as he often felt dry in his eyes even at night or during the day.

Keep in mind that your daughter must learn to put them on herself.

The first week was very difficult. I tried to help, but it only got worse. Until the son has learned by himself. I only helped with lens care.

In 2 years we have never had any complications. No viral or bacterial infection of the eyes. The cornea itself takes its normal shape after you stop wearing the lenses regularly.

These lenses are cheaper in our country, about $500 for a year. This amount includes the lenses themselves (they are shipped from Moscow), lens fitting by the doctor, and regular check-ups by the doctor throughout the year. But on top of that you need to buy your own lens solutions (for storage and cleaning) and eye drops every month. We used to have about 1 large bottle of solution per month, but the eye drops needed 2-3 small bottles per month.

Last year my son lost 2 lenses at night, we couldn't find them. Then our financial situation worsened (job loss) and we could not afford to buy a new set of lenses and regular spending on solutions and drops. My son has been wearing glasses again for 7 months now. One glass has already been broken while playing basketball in PE class. In September he will go to the ophthalmologist and have his eyesight checked. We'll see what the results are and maybe we'll buy lenses again. He likes them.
I wouldn't be able to use them. I don't like lenses and putting something in my eyes every night. But I'm not as nearsighted (-2.5) and I often go without glasses at home.

In general, we have a positive experience of using hard lenses.
 

Mrs. Peel

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Is there some reason you don't want LASIK? I don't know if they do it on kids. It basically does the same thing (reshapes the cornea) and it's one and done. Although later in life folks I know who had it does ended up with "cheaters" or reading glasses and some got dry eye or halos. Is the idea that eventually you (or whoever) won't need to put them it each night (kind of like putting braces on your teeth till they straighten) or will the effect keep wearing off by the end of the day so they need to be used indefinitely? Now I believe they have some sort of eye drops that promise better vision after you use them.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Is there some reason you don't want LASIK? I don't know if they do it on kids. It basically does the same thing (reshapes the cornea) and it's one and done. Although later in life folks I know who had it does ended up with "cheaters" or reading glasses and some got dry eye or halos. Is the idea that eventually you (or whoever) won't need to put them it each night (kind of like putting braces on your teeth till they straighten) or will the effect keep wearing off by the end of the day so they need to be used indefinitely? Now I believe they have some sort of eye drops that promise better vision after you use them.
Yes I read up about this. LASIK is permanent and does nothing to stop the progression of myopia, so that as the eyesight changes, vision is no longer perfect, and then glasses, contacts, or LASIK is required again. Also, LASIK procedure going wrong scares me too.

The idea of OrthoK is that it has 2 uses. 1 use is vision correction, like glasses or traditional contact lenses. A 2nd completely different use is stopping myopia from getting worse. So my daughter is getting it for stopping myopia from getting worse. I'm getting it to show her that it is safe, and also hopefully I won't need to wear glasses or traditional contacts anymore.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
It is not going well for me.

At first it seemed very promising. I saw perfectly out of one eye after a few days of wearing the orthokeratology contact. The other eye was slowly improving over 2 weeks, and then improvement stopped and seeing at a distance remained somewhat blurry. But 2 weeks after the original eye was seeing perfectly, the perfect eye started having trouble reading and could only see perfectly at a distance.

The current situation is one eye sees the distance perfectly but has difficulty reading close, and the other eye reads close perfectly but has trouble seeing at a distance.

The doctor is stumped. I've been seeing the doctor every week, and their equipment scans my eyes each time and prints out the scan as a map. The latest map is similar to one where a person hasn't been wearing the orthokeratology at all, and I've been wearing them every night. While my subjective experience may be disregarded, the map anomaly can't be disregarded. When the doctor has me read letters at the distance under the traditional eye exam techniques as well as up close, he says I'm seeing 20/20 even though I complain about blurriness in one eye or the other eye depending on distance or up close.

The saving grace of all this is that if we gave up on treatment and decided to stop wearing the orthokeratology contacts, the theory and literature says my eyes will revert to the way they were before I started wearing orthokeratology contacts. Before I started, I could read perfectly and see at a distance, with glasses or traditional contacts. This might appear to fall in the category of don't fix what ain't broken, except I had wanted to stabilize my daughter's myopia and demonstrate to her that wearing orthokeratology contacts would not be a problem. At least I didn't get LASIK and have irreversible problems with LASIK gone wrong.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
How are they working out for your daughter?
There is that. Sorry to hear you're having issues. Are you still going to try it with your daughter?
Definitely not going to have my daughter wear them as long as I'm having problems. I'm not going to subject her to the distress I'm experiencing. We never picked up her lens because I've had problems so far.
 

Z...

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I never heard of this before and i am heavily myopic with astigmatism as well - been wearing lenses or glasses since childhood.

I am not comfortable with the idea - firstly because cornea needs to breathe during the night, secondly because this method is based on forcefully shaping and oppressing live tissue i.e. cornea and in the long run this cannot be a good thing.
But that’s just me.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I never heard of this before and i am heavily myopic with astigmatism as well - been wearing lenses or glasses since childhood.

I am not comfortable with the idea - firstly because cornea needs to breathe during the night, secondly because this method is based on forcefully shaping and oppressing live tissue i.e. cornea and in the long run this cannot be a good thing.
But that’s just me.
Things I wouldn't do for myself, I end up doing for my kids.

The cornea does get oxygen with modern lens. The force used is hydraulic pressure instead of physical contact as a layer of tears keeps the eye separate from the contact lens, and what is moved is fluid in the cells.

It was FDA approved 20 years ago but I think it is banned in Canada as unsafe. It appears to be popular in China.
 

hiker

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Sorry to hear you have had problems with the contact lenses @hlat.

About myopia in general: a way to prevent and possibly decrease it to a degree, is wearing "undercorrected glasses".
For example, if one had -5.0 glasses, s/he could use -3.0 for computer work and -2.0 for reading.

This takes some tinkering and dedication, but it looks like the worsening of myopia can be stopped.
Some further information about it here.
 
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