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Orthokeratology Contact Lenses

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Ortho-K (Be Free) lenses are specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight. While you sleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so that you can see clearly when you wake up without the need for glasses or contact lenses. They are prescribed to correct myopia and slow the progression of childhood myopia. 

What is the Be Free Ortho-k Lens? 

A rigid contact lens worn at night to reshape the cornea to correct prescriptions from -1.00 up to -4.00D and astigmatism up to 1.00D. This technology is only effective for myopic or near-sighted eyes.

How long does it take to work?

The be free lens is worn nightly for the best results and will take 7-10 days to have the full effect. Your prescription may change over this time and may change as the day progresses during the initial 7-10 days of wearing the be free lens. Typically, the be free lens can correct 60-70% of your prescription after the first night of wear. We will provide you with daily disposable contact lenses to correct your vision during the first 7-10 days while your prescription is stabilizing with ortho-k.

What happens if I stop wearing the Be Free Ortho-k lens? 

Ortho-k vision shaping technology is not permanent. Your cornea will return to its original shape and over 7-10 days your original prescription will return.

How does the Be Free Ortho-k lens work?

The rigid contact lens causes a hydraulic force to move corneal epithelial cells to the outside of the cornea to change the shape of the cornea by flattening the curvature and correct near-sighted prescriptions. The contact lens is surprisingly comfortable and you will have good vision while wearing ortho-k lenses. 

What are the risks to the Be Free Ortho-k lens?

Bacterial keratitis – this is a bacterial corneal infection that requires immediate treatment with antibiotic eye drops. Improper cleaning increases this risk of bacteria multiplying under the lens and causing an infection on the front surface of your eye. It is very important to never insert a contact lens in a red, irritated eye and see your optometrist or go to the hospital. 

Night glare – anytime you change the natural shape of the cornea, you may experience a decrease in night vision. This is due to the change in the cornea’s natural eccentricity and increasing aberrations causing glare and halos at night.

Lens adhering to the cornea overnight – this is when the contact lens is removed forcefully and removes some of the superficial cells of the cornea causing a corneal abrasion. When you remove your ortho-k lenses in the morning, it is very important to use rewetting artificial tears and move your eyes around to disperse the fluid underneath the lens. This fluid reduces the suction of the lens on the cornea and releases the contact lens from the cornea. If the contact lens is forcefully removed, it can cause a corneal abrasion and is painful while the cornea is healing to regenerate. It is important to see your optometrist if you think this has happened to you. 

Corneal scarring – if the ortho-k lens is not fitting correctly and worn without the correct follow up appointments, the risk for corneal scarring increases. This is because the contact lens needs to be fit perfectly to avoid excessive force on the cornea to cause scarring. 

What is the fitting process for Be Free Ortho-k? 

Have a conversation with your optometrist to determine if you are a good candidate for ortho-k. Corneal topography maps must be taken to determine eligibility. Here are the appointments needed for ortho-k:

  1. Comprehensive eye exam
  • Ortho-k fitting fees discussed and agreed upon
  • Lenses are manufactured in Vancouver and take 2-4 weeks to arrive
  1. Pick up lenses and complete the insert and removal training for the Ortho-k lenses
  • Learn how to insert a rigid contact lens
  • Learn how to remove a rigid contact lens
  • Learn about the proper cleaning and storage of the lenses
    • We recommend Boston Simplus contact lens solution
  1. Follow up appointment in the morning after the first night of wearing contact lenses
  • Come to the appointment wearing your lenses. Do not remove them before your appointment.
  1. Follow up appointment in the morning after 7 days of wearing contact lenses.
  • If optometrist is happy with lenses and vision, then recheck in 3 weeks.
  • If optometrist or patient is unhappy with results recheck in 1 week.
  1. Follow up appointment in the afternoon after 1 month of wearing contact lenses. 
  2. Follow up appointments every 6 months.

How does Ortho-k work for myopia control?

For myopic children, ortho-k has been shown to be 60% effective at slowing the progression of myopia by causing peripheral hyperopia. Myopia control decreases the progression of myopia but does not cure myopia. 

What is the warranty? 

There is 100% satisfaction guarantee on the lenses within 100 days. We will refund you 100% of the cost of the contact lenses if you are not happy with the results. The fitting fee is non-refundable. There is no charge for lens exchanges or refits within 120 days and there is a 1-year warranty on lens breakage. 

Written by Mindy Blumberg

Dr. Mindy Blumberg is an optometrist registered with the BC College of Optometrists and is a member of the BC Doctors of Optometry. She graduated from the University of Waterloo and moved to Whistler, BC, to live in the mountains. Mindy grew up alpine ski racing and now has a special interest in sports vision. She helps with performance vision training with the Canadian Ski Cross and the BC Alpine Ski Team. Dr. Blumberg brings expertise on post-concussion vision rehabilitation and performance sports vision. She also uses these functional vision skills and vision therapy to improve reading and comprehension in children by enhancing the visual systems needed to have academic success.
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