A patient recently asked me:
"I read something on the internet about Ortho-k lenses being uncomfortable. Is this true? How uncomfortable are they?"
Well, there isn't any way to sugar-coat this. The reshaping lenses can initially be uncomfortable for some patients. One study showed that 31% of patients experienced initial discomfort. Understandably, some patients are concerned about this. But this alone need not be a reason to dismiss ortho-k. Here are some reasons why:
- You may be able to feel the lenses, but they should not be painful. If they are painful, then there is something wrong. Possibly the lens has debris on it. Possibly you inadvertly scratched your eye. No matter what, if the lens is painful, then you should take the lens out, examine it and call the office.
- These lenses are specifically selected and designed for your eyes. The reshaping lenses that you are given are carefully chosen to be the healthiest, be the most comfortable, and, of course, provide the best vision possible.
- The procedure for utilizing the lenses is designed to minimize discomfort. In fact, a particular type of lubrication drop is recommended each night to both keep the eyes moist, but also keep the eyes comfortable.
- Remember, the central goal of ortho-k is to reshape your cornea. The lens will fit better and be more comfortable after your cornea takes on the new shape. This does take a few days to occur. After two or three days, your lenses will feel much more comfortable.
Does all this mean that you do not feel the lenses when you wear them the first time? No. Lens awareness is very normal. This awareness may cause your eyes to water in the beginning. But after your eyes adapt to the lenses, they will return to their usual comfort level.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.