FAQs About OrthoK


What is OrthoK?

OrthoK, or, orthokeratology goes by many names.

  • Gentle Shaping Vision System (GVSS)

  • Corneal Reshaping Therapy (CRT)

  • Vision Shaping Therapy (VST)

  • Corneal Molding (CM)

All of these treatment names are more or less the same thing. OrthoK is a FDA approved non-surgical treatment method of vision correction that has been safely used for over 20 years.  A rigid gas-permeable retainer, similar to a contact lens, is custom-made for your child’s eyes by our Olathe Myopia Control experts and is worn at night by your child. As your child sleeps, the lenses gently and painlessly reshape the cornea of the eyes. This corrects their vision during the day and your child possibly will not need glasses or contact lenses during the day at all — an especially appealing option for kids who don’t want to wear glasses or young athletes where glasses would get in the way.  In order to maintain clear vision on a daily basis, the retainer lenses need to be worn every night, but some patients can have clear vision only wearing them every other night.

The biggest benefit is that OrthoK has been proven to be highly effective at slowing and halting the progression of myopia, so it is also protecting your child’s adult vision while freeing them from glasses in the here and now.

Who is a candidate for OrthoK?

OrthoK is FDA approved for patients of all ages.  It’s an alternative to glasses, contact lenses or LASIK.  The effects are non-permanent and reversible.

The best candidates are young myopic (nearsighted) children whose eyesight is getting worse every year. Though not specifically approved for myopia control, studies have shown this treatment is an effective method of slowing down the progression of myopia in children.  OrthoK can protect their future sight. 

If you are unable to wear contact lenses because of allergies, discomfort, dryness or inconvenience, you are an excellent candidate for OrthoK because the retainers are worn while you sleep.  This greatly reduces and discomfort or complications you might of experienced while wearing traditional contact lenses.

Finally OrthoK is a great option if you want or need excellent vision without the hassle of wearing glasses or contact lenses.  It’s beneficial for pilots, police officers, military personnel, athletes, parents of small children, and lifeguards. It’s also great for people who enjoy a variety of activities like playing sports, hiking, camping, swimming, off-road driving, snorkeling, biking, and scuba diving.

People who require vision correction and engage regularly in sports or work in extremely dusty, dirty environments will also appreciate the convenience of OrthoK.

What are the vision results from OrthoK?

20/20 vision without any need for glasses or daytime contact lenses is the ideal goal. Most patients achieve this, though certain conditions may limit the vision improvement such as starting prescription and shape or moldability of the cornea. 

According to FDA trials conducted on OrthoK, 20/20 visual acuity was achieved for more than 65% of the OrthoK patients. More than 90% of OrthoK patients achieved 20/40 vision or better.  20/40 is the legal requirement for driving without vision correction in most states. Schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Curts today to see if your vision prescription is within range for successful OrthoK treatment.

Do OrthoK lenses hurt?

OrthoK lenses are worn while sleeping, so discomfort and lens awareness is generally not an issue.

Is OrthoK expensive?

OrthoK programs require several office visits and a high level of expertise that most general eye doctors do not possess. The sub specialty takes years of study and ongoing education. The retainer lenses are custom designed to each patient’s unique eye shape through very sophisticated measurements utilizing corneal topography data. OrthoK retainer lenses and fitting fees are more costly than with standard contacts, however, one pair of lenses replaced annually cost less than a one year supply of daily disposable contact lenses.  Additionally, OrthoK wearers do not need to replace eyeglasses annually so that the long term costs tend to be lower with OrthoK.

Will My Insurance Cover These Lenses?

This is an elective procedure and typically not covered by insurance benefits.  

Is Financing Available?

Many patients choose to finance this procedure through their employment flexible spending accounts (FSA or HSA).

Can I get LASIK after OrthoK?

LASIK is possible after treatment with OrthoK lenses. Since OrthoK works to reshape your cornea, you weill be required to stop wearing the retainers for several months before undergoing LASIK. This allows your eyes to return to their original shape.

What is the Process For Getting An OrthoK Fitting?

At Curts & Reed Optometry you or your child will be scheduled for an OrthoK consult where we will assess the health of your eyes, your prescription and if you are a good candidate for OrthoK treatment.  We offer this consult at no charge.

Once Dr. Curts has established that you are a good candidate then the fitting process is as follows:

  1.  Custom OrthoK Lens Design:  Dr. Curts uses advanced technology to map the cornea shape of your eye.  This information is then used to design a custom made OrthoK lens that is used to reshape your eye while you sleep.  

  2. Initial OrthoK fitting and training:  After Dr. Curts designs your custom made OrthoK retainer, then she will fit you with the lens.  Also at this visit, you will be taught how to properly take care of the lenses and how to insert and remove the lenses.  

  3. Follow-up Care:  After the initial fitting, Dr. Curts will perform check-ups to evaluate changes in vision and the shape of the eye to verify proper fit and effectiveness.  Minor adjustments to lens design will be made if needed. These follow-up visits during the first year of OrthoK treatment will be made at 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months at a minimum.  The second year and beyond of OrthoK treatment requires a follow up visit every 6 months.

How Is My Daytime Vision After Wearing OrthoK Retainers Overnight?

For most patients, after wearing OrthoK at night, your daytime vision can be better than it would be with glasses or daytime contact lenses.  OrthoK corrects your vision while you sleep. Plus, you will enjoy the added benefits of no glare from glasses, full peripheral vision, no dryness from contact lenses, and no burden from wearing glasses on your face.

How Long Does It Take To Achieve Full Correction With OrthoK?

The time needed to achieve full correction varies depending on certain factors such as age and prescription.  Children tend to see results in days while in adults it could take a couple weeks.

Is My Vision Correction With OrthoK Permanent?

OrthoK provides patients great vision throughout the day and well into the evening.  For some, you might need to wear the OrthoK retainers every night to achieve clear vision everyday.  For others, you might be able to wear them every 2-3 nights and still have clear vision during the day.  For children, it is recommended to wear them every night to control the myopia. If you stop wearing OrthoK retainers completely, your cornea and you vision goes back to how it was before starting OrthoK in a matter of days to a couple weeks.

Can I See While Wearing My OrthoK Retainers?

Yes, you can see clearly with the retainers in just like regular contact lenses.

What Is The Sucess Rate of OrthoK?

OrthoK has a very high success rate.  However, factors such as corneal shape, vision goals, and original prescription can affect the treatment outcome and effectiveness.  During your OrthoK consultation, we will provide you further details regarding possible outcomes for your individual case.

Are OrthoK Retainers Safe?

Yes, OrthoK is considered safe and is FDA approved.  Like other contact lenses, there is a relatively low risk of infection or abnormal blood vessel growth.  The use of proper hygiene and lens care minimize these risks. These techniques will be taught during the initial fitting process.  Furthermore, follow up visits will monitor for these risks.

Is It Easy To Put In And Take Out Your OrthoK Retainers?

Yes, OrthoK retainers are very easy to insert and remove just like regular contact lenses.  

How Often Do I Need To Replace My OrthoK Retainers?

OrthoK Retainers must be replaced at least once per year depending on the amount of deposits on the lens or if they become warped.

What If I Lose A Lens?

OrthoK treatment is not permanent so if you lose a lens your vision could be impaired as early as the next day.  If you lose a retainer, it is recommended to get a replacement one ASAP. It is often recommended to have a backup set of OrthoK retainers.

What If I Sleep Less Than Most People?

Even with as little of four hours of sleep every night, your vision will be clearer the next morning.  However, for other health reasons 7-9 hours is recommended.

What Are The Advantages Of OrthoK Over LASIK?

There are several distinct advantages of OrthoK over surgery.  For kids, LASIK is not an option because you have to be eighteen and LASIK is not recommended as a form of myopia control.  

For adults, these are the advantages over LASIK:

  • Lower risk of complications like dry eye, sensitivity and pain

  • Less haziness and blurred vision that can occur after surgery

  • Painless and no recovery period

  • Reversible and not permanent

  • More cost effective

  • You can always choose to have LASIK at a later date

Does OrthoK Hurt?

OrthoK is non-surgical, painless and safe.  The treatment is only done while you sleep. During the initial fitting and trial period, you might experience some mild discomfort as your eyes get used to the retainers, but this usually disappears after a few days to weeks of treatment.

Is OrthoK FDA Approved?

The FDA has approved OrthoK retainers for overnight wear.