What is LASIK?

LASIK is a refractive surgery that uses a laser to reshape the front part of your eye in order to improve your vision. The purpose of LASIK is to correct refractive errors. With LASIK eye surgery, you may not need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, you must meet certain criteria in order to undergo LASIK.

Why would some people prefer ortho-k over LASIK?

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. Patients may have some anxiety about surgery, or they may not have the financial means to afford lasik. There are alternative options to LASIK and one of these is orthokeratology. Furthermore LASIK is usually not recommended for people under the age of 18, so many teens see Ortho-K as a great alternative to LASIK.

What is ortho-k? How does this LASIK alternative work?

Orthokeratology is the use of custom made hard contact lenses that you wear overnight, leaving you glasses or contact lens free during the day. Much like wearing a retainer for your teeth, ortho-K lenses gently reshape your eyes at night, so that your vision is great without glasses or contact lenses during the day.

The reverse geometry lens design is used in these lenses. When you wear these hard ortho-k specialised lenses made specifically for your eyes overnight, they will gently reshape the front curvature of your eye, which will temporarily reduce your nearsightedness while wearing them. The cornea will be shaped in such a way that light will focus properly on the central part of the eye and the peripheral retina once it enters the eye. As a result, you can see clearly throughout the day without wearing glasses or contacts. After wearing the contacts at night, you would remove them in the morning and be able to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.  For some patients wearing ortho-k lenses for one night will enable them a few days of going without glasses or contact lenses during the day.

How long do ortho-k lenses take to work?

It can take up to three weeks for the cornea to get to the shape it needs to be in order for you to see clearly all day long. Afterward, you should be able to see clearly without glasses or contacts all day long.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Ortho-k night time contact lenses as a LASIK alternative?

The great thing about Ortho-K lenses is that they do not require surgery and are non-invasive. Furthermore, not only do they improve your vision throughout the day, but specifically if children wear ortho-k, it slows down the progression of their minus prescription as well.

Ortho-k is also seen as a great non-invasive alternative to surgery such as LASIK. It can be the right option for someone who is nervous about surgery on their eyes, or for a patient that is too young or not a good fit for LASIK.

There are, however, some disadvantages to ortho-k compared to LASIK, including the fact that ortho-k is temporary, meaning you have to wear your contact lenses (in most cases) every night to see clearly all day whereas LASIK is permanent.

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