Ortho K Specialty Contacts Can Offer You a Non-Invasive Alternative to Lasik Surgery

There are specialty contacts called orthokeratology, also known as Ortho K, which can be used as an alternative to laser eye surgery. Instead of going through irreversible surgery, you can wear these special contacts at nighttime and then remove them in the morning and enjoy clear vision for the rest of the day.

What does the Ortho-K Procedure Involve?

Ortho-K is a unique non-surgical alternative to improve vision. It involves a two-stage process:

  1. Wearing specially designed rigid contacts to improve vision for those with low levels of nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism.  Astigmatism includes those ocular conditions caused by corneal curvature. Ortho-K lenses gradually reshape corneal curvature to improve eyesight. 
  2. Periodically, the patient will require retainer contacts to maintain the shape of the cornea and the overall benefits of the treatment. If treatment ceases, the cornea will gradually return to its original shape.

Provided that a person is a viable candidate, this non-invasive therapeutic option may be of interest to many patients, since it will eliminate (except for periodic maintenance with retainer lenses) the need for glasses/contacts during the day.

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Other Options for Vision Improvement

Today the many available options for vision correction include:

  • Prescription glasses: Including reading glasses, multifocal (bifocal, trifocal, and progressive lenses), prescription sunglasses, and sports goggles for athletic performance.
  • Contacts: These include hard, soft, hybrid, gas permeable types, extended, disposable, and various types of medical contacts to improve eyesight. One example of this would be medical lenses to slow the progression of myopia in children.
  • Surgical correction: These include Lasik surgery and other invasive procedures.
  • Vision Therapy: Unique holistic therapeutic program designed to teach skills to improve visual-motor and cognitive deficits.

When is Ortho-K Considered a Viable Option over Lasik?

There are several reasons why someone would prefer Ortho-K over Lasik (or other forms of corrective surgery) or contacts.

  • When surgery isn't an option: Not everyone who wants to switch away from glasses is a candidate for Lasik surgery. 
  • Anxiety: Many people have a fear of surgical procedures. Even those who aren't afraid may prefer a non-invasive option to improve eyesight.There are very few risks with Ortho-K.
  • Affordable: Ortho-K is estimated to cost approximately half the price of a Lasik procedure.
  • No more glasses or contacts: The freedom from glasses during the daytime is exciting for many people. Many people prefer an option that eliminates the need for contacts most of the time. (As noted above, following the initial period of wearing specially designed lenses, periodic usage of retainer lenses are necessary for maintenance. )
When is Ortho-K Considered a Viable Option over Lasik?

Temporary: The results are not permanent. If you decide that the treatment is not for you, simply stop using the lenses and your eyes will gradually return to their original condition.

How does it work?

There are several stages in choosing Ortho-K treatment for vision correction:

  1. Assessment: First the patient has a comprehensive ocular exam to determine if she is a good candidate for this option. 
  2. Fitting: Using advanced technology, contacts are individually fitted to meet the precise specifications of the patient’s eyes. 
  3. Usage: The patient is instructed on proper usage and maintenance, including instructions on inserting and removing the lenses. Periodically, the patient will require retainer lenses to maintain the shape of the cornea and to sustain improved eyesight.

Common Questions

No. It has been available for many years but previous options were time-consuming and could take up to two years to see improvement. Advancements in technology have made this an incredibly quick process.
Many patients see initial results within a week and complete improvements within two weeks. Naturally, all people react differently, but the process is remarkably quick.
The risks are minimal, but as with all contacts, appropriate usage and maintenance are critical for it to work safely. Failure to adhere to standard sanitary requirements can result in infection or the onset of a medical complication. Be sure to follow all of the guidelines for using and maintaining them.
The answer is yes and no. If your goal is to stay out of glasses and contacts throughout the day then there is an alternative called ortho-keratalogy (ortho-K) hard contact lenses. These are specialty lenses that are custom designed for you to sleep with at night; the lenses gently applies pressure and reshape your cornea (the front curvature of your eye) to safely and gently improve your vision, such that when you wake up in the morning and remove the lenses you’re able to see clearly without any correction throughout the day. However, the difference between LASIK and ortho-K is that ortho-K is not permanent, you have to wear the ortho-K lenses every night or else your cornea will go back to its original shape. Talk to your eye doctor to see which treatment you’re a better candidate for.
Depends. If you got LASIK to correct your distance vision, you may need to wear contact lenses again once you reach presbyopia. Presbyopia is a normal part of age processing that starts around age 40-50 resulting in near vision blur. Thus you would need reading glasses/contacts to help you see clearly up close. Additionally, the front part of your eye is flattened after LASIK, so your eye doctor will have to choose a contact lens with a flatter curvature to properly fit on your eye.
The rate of orthokeratology treatment will vary slightly per patient. On average, the first night of treatment will correct 50-75% of a patient’s baseline prescription. The average treatment period for full correction can take up to 1-3 weeks.
Yes, orthoK lenses are designed such that you wear them overnight where they gently reshape the front curvature of the eye to temporarily reduce the amount of myopia (nearsightedness) during the day so you don’t need to wear glasses throughout the day. However it can take up to 1-3 weeks to get the eye to get to the shape it needs to be in order to see clearly throughout the whole day without any glasses or contact lens correction. However, it's vital that you have a backup pair of glasses in the event that you develop a contact lens related infection that forces you to take a break from your contacts.
Dr. Wernick cartoon

Are Ortho-K Lenses Right for You?

Speak with an optometrist to find out more about this unique, non-surgical treatment to improve eyesight with minimal risk of complications. Many customers are satisfied with the results and the newfound freedom of obtaining fully-corrected daytime vision without laser surgery. Schedule an exam today to find out more about this exciting alternative, and to see if it is right for you. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (212) 752-6930. Patients who are nearsighted or looking for a LASIK alternative visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of contact lens services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.

Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.

Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.

Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.

Allen B.
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