I’ve been trying out OrthoK for a couple of months. They’re hard contact lenses that you wear while you sleep that reshape your cornea (like retainers for your eyes). They’re normally prescribed for kids with mild myopia. I decided to try them out anyways because my eyesight has been getting steadily worse every year (due to a combination of bad habits and occupational hazard), and there’s been studies that show OrthoK can stabilize myopia progression in kids. While there’s no evidence for myopia control in adults, I’m giving it a shot.
Here’s my experience.
Although prices can vary, OrthoK costs as much as normal hard contacts (including contact fitting and cleaning solutions). To prevent infection, you shouldn’t wash OrthoK lenses with tap water. That means I go through bottles of saline solutions pretty quickly. If your goal is to not wear glasses, Lasik might be a better/cheaper option.
It takes about 3 days for me to achieve “max” vision. Similarly, it takes about 3 days for me to return to my original eyesight. That means I can’t switch between OrthoK and prescription glasses very easily. My prescription glasses is too strong during the “in-between” days.
There are daily variations. Sometimes my contacts might be a smidge off-center so I won’t see as clearly. I get at least 80% of “max” vision on any given day.
With any contacts, there’s a higher chance of infection. I’m pretty paranoid so I am very mindful when handling contacts, but still an unpleasant possibility.
My vision gradually gets worse throughout the day. That, plus the halos I see around bright objects makes my night vision significantly worse than before.
I got pretty good results with OrthoK. I have about -5.00D to -6.00D (approximately 20/600) in both eyes. Now, after wearing OrthoK, I can see 20/25 to 20/30 (approximately -1.00D) without wearing glasses or contacts. There’s no conversion between diopters (D) to visual acuity (20/20) so these are very rough estimates. Still, it’s a pretty big improvement. There’s no telling if it’ll actually help slow myopia longterm, so we’ll see.
OrthoK is painless. There’s a mild discomfort that’s equivalent to wearing hard contact lenses, but not unmanageable. There were a couple nights at first when my eyes were burning because I didn’t seem to completely rinse off the cleaning solution. Once I took better care, that problem went away.
I don’t mind wearing glasses, but not wearing them is kinda nice sometimes. Any sports or underwater activity is way easier without glasses. Same for any activity that requires goggle-wearing. I can also now wear non-prescription sunglasses!
I think OrthoK is ok. I’d definitely keep using it can slow the progression of myopia. Otherwise, I probably won’t continue. I’ll report back after a year! Stay tuned!