Not really a big deal, but many don't know about it. I've been wearing them for a few years and they are not perfect but it works for me.

The gist is, you put them on at night, they mold your eyes a bit and you have 20/20 for about 24hrs depending on your prescription and correction zone. Larger and more severe mean less holding time.

So go and ask away, I know way more than I should have to about the subject. Getting working lenses was a bit of a long and drawn out process for me, and I learned a LOT in the process.

Edit: The worst part about this is that I can see everything, even when I go into the shower I can see that I really need to clean it, again. With glasses or contacts, blurry bliss. ;)

E2: Proof these are my contacts (notice the weird curve/wave, that's the magic) and an old prescription.

Comments: 77 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

JohnWad26 karma

  • When was this type of treatment brought to the public?
  • Who offered this to you as a treatment?
  • How much is it?
  • How close to 20/20 is your eyesight the next day?

tarjan24 karma

Since the late 80s or early 90s. Of course it is going up against Lasik, which doesn't require any continual care. Of course it is permanent and OK (Ortho-k or Orthokeretology) are temporary so it isn't going to win in a public advertisement situation.

Who offered this to you as a treatment?

I went looking online for information on RGP contacts as I have dry eyes and regular contacts don't work for more than 6-7 hours before getting blurry. I saw something about OK and it intrigued me. Called up a local ophthalmologist and asked if he knew about it. He directed me to someone who did. We went over the details and he thought I would be a prime candidate.

-1.75 and -2.5 with a slight astigmatism in the eye needing a lower correction. OK is good up to -4 in most people, and -6 if you can deal with a small correction zone.

How much:

Well this depends. The first doctor was 1200. Unfortunately for me, it didn't go well. I had GREAT vision in bright light, but it sucked otherwise. We went to progressively larger correction zones, then to experimental designs. Nothing got me acceptable night vision so I dropped the idea and went back to glasses.

A year later I had gone through trying to use regular RGP contacts but discovered my eyes really stay too dry even for them. Sucked, so I went back to thinking about OK. Found another doctor who used much more advanced equipment and hearing my story he agreed to see if he could help me out.

Close but no cigar with him either. He had the right technology but was missing some of the knowledge. Basically the fitting is a bit of knowledge mixed with magic. What some consider to be "proper" fit is completely wrong.

Third doctor cost be about 2k, he knew what he was doing top to bottom. Listened to my concerns and used a system called wave to design me a pair of lenses that are extremely accurately mapped to my eyes. We went through a few pairs to make it the best it can be and he used his corneal topographer to measure my eyes for the changes and the effects properly. (this just means he DIDN'T have me wear my lenses after I woke up, I put them on immediately before bed, then immediately out in the morning then go and have him scan my eyes absolutely first thing in the morning. When your eyes are open the contacts move around more and won't fit the same as when you are asleep, which harms vision and distorts results)

Eyesight the next day:

99% of the time it is 20/20 or better. The 1% is when my eyes get really dry. If that happens the contacts will stick to my eyes and "correct" in the wrong position. Gives me double vision the next day. This is what the first and second doctor got wrong, they thought that the contacts remaining mobile was an issue and they were completely wrong. They don't move much, but they should ride on a fluid layer and never the actual epithelial layer.

That being said, night vision for me will never be great, and it would be worse with lasik. I just have large pupils or some other issue that the doctors don't really understand. I can see perfectly fine at night, but lights starburst which can be really annoying.

JohnWad9 karma

This is really interesting. This is the first time I have heard of it. I will have to do some research on this.


tarjan10 karma

My pleasure. If anyone is in the NoVa/DC/MD area I can point you at someone If you are elsewhere, can help you find a doc. If you think you have "difficult" eyes, wave might work as well. to get to them.

I have no connection to either one, nor the doctor I'll suggest. The wave page does have some interesting videos on it about how they create lenses, and used to have some interesting info in the doctors section about how what they should be looking at. You could get to it by google searching, some of the links were exposed.

Dollar_thief14 karma


TheNeutralParty23 karma

tarjan10 karma

I wish. That would be super awesome.

Dollar: Just because I have bad luck with certain types of medical procedures. I'm always looked at as "perfectly normal" then.. not. When the doctor did some looking at my eyes they did a picture and a scan of the back of my eye.

It is disconcerting when you here "Hey, go get Dr jones, i want her to look at this." In the end I am fine, but some structures aren't laid out the way most people are.

When I had braces, they would correct my teeth the wrong way. Had to use very, very strong ones to get it all to work.


In the end I am glad because the starbursting would probably have been there and even worse with regular lasik.

putsch803 karma

I too am an ortho-k user (paragon CRT, to be specific). I didn't do LASIK because 1) I have dry eyes anyway, and LASIK can make the dry eyes far, far worse, to the point of being unbearable (search LASIK forums for these horror stories), and 2) I was told I was a poor candidate for LASIK because of how much my pupils dialate in the dark. Basically, the LASIK procedure would cover my entire pupil areal in the light, but at night time my pupil would extend beyond where the cut goes, meaning I'd have the dreaded star bursting effect and basically be unable to drive at night. Ortho-k had neither of these compilations, and is completely reversible by simply stopping lens use.

tarjan1 karma

what is your correction zone size? They made mine as big as possible, but still get some starbursting.

I know it is as big as possible because we went one step up and I couldn't get to 20/20 the next day. Just too big of an area to correct unfortunately.

FaKeShAdOw11 karma

I've done this from ages 10 to 18. 2000 ~ 2008 so it's been around for quite a while.

I was basically forced into it by my parents when I was fine with glasses, all because some other same-race girl in my class was also doing it. My mom thought it'd be swell for her daughter to look more "beautiful," because that way she could have something to brag about. I felt like a guinea pig the entire time.

Never again. It made me feel really horrible whenever I lost a lense, or that time my friend at camp SMASHED IT IN MY EYE using a thrown Starburst. A teacher had to help qtip all the pieces and shards out of my eyeball. I'm lucky nothing else happened.

I remember they were like 200 bucks per lense at one point. 400 per set. Lose it down the sink? Better just throw like 200 dollars down the sink grinder. Once my corneas got really scratched up too for no apparent reason so I had to go without them for a week like a blind bat. I remember lots of discomfort. I remember once it suctioned so hard on both of my eyeballs even the little plunger thing didn't work. I had to keep squirting lube into my eyes to get them to budge at all. It left those goddamn red circles on my eyeballs for about an hour before receding.

I went through a bajillion pairs when I was younger, just to keep my corneas in check. I hated every visit. The only cool part about that whole experience is how they put yellow liquid on my eyeballs then shined UV light into my eyes to make them glow.

I use glasses/soft contacts now. I've given up on this stuff because it was that bullshit to me. My boyfriend also convinced me to just throw away the damn things. Soft contacts were so easy in comparison. :/

I use BC pills now which made my eyes a little more sensitive. I'm pretty sure I would have been forced to give up those lenses now.

So I ask... have you ever regretted using them at any point? Do you also use those goddamn plungers? :P

tarjan8 karma

Ahh fluorescein dye. Then the slit lamps etc. Been there many, many times.

So here is the deal, you wore them because they were trying to hault the change in your eyes over the years, hence wearing them during the day. That is not why or when I wear mine. I only wear them at night, never during the day at all so your issues just don't map to mine. My guess, based on what you said, is that they were fit improperly or your eyes had changed enough that the fit was no longer appropriate.

I say this because of them getting stuck to your eyes. Mine do, occasionally, but it means my eyes dried out. It should NOT happen regularly.

Close the sink drain and put a towel down in there. Another thing is to get a small mirror, put that on the towel in the sink bowl and then take the contact out while looking down.

Before removing, push in a tiny bit on your sclera (on your eyelid, not the eyeball) under the contact to get it to break free. That will induce fluid into the underside of the lens. Never had any problems once I started doing that even when stuck.

Yep, use the DMTs all the time. I recommend a better doctor.

As for regretting, there are times. It isn't often, but when I am tired and just dont want to have to deal with it or when I am flying on long (20+hr) flights it kind of sucks. You can't put them in on the plane, too dry. 99.999% of the rest of the time I love them.

FaKeShAdOw3 karma

My eyes are probably the greatest shapeshifting superheroes of all time, because I was that uncomfortable!

I should make them do useful things like grab a cup of tea.

tarjan5 karma

Find a better doctor :(

If you decide to try again, find one accredited and/or a fellow in the orthok association. Then find a master designer with wave. Combine the two and you should be cookin' with gas.

FaKeShAdOw1 karma

No way dude, I think my dating chances got higher when I went back to glasses.

Bitches love glasses!

tarjan3 karma

I hear they love being called bitches as well...


chesterhawk6 karma

Do you notice your eyesight diminishing again as the day progresses?

tarjan6 karma

Depends, most days no. Some days, yes, mostly if I didn't get much sleep the night before. (I'll go into this more in another response.)

TheUnknownFactor4 karma

I have keratoconus, which loosely translated means the physical shape of my eyes is fucked up. To avoid further damaging my eyes though, I must wear contacts that do not put pressure on the shape of my eyes.

I don't know how much of an expert you are here; but how is it that pressuring your eyes is good for you, bad for me?

tarjan4 karma

Sorry my fellow redditor, you are out of my comfort zone. I doubt ok would work for you, it does not put direct pressure on your eye, but the fluid forces do. If you don't wear contacts now and want to, I found lots of research and contact formats that do work. wave can make them as well as a few other very large format ones that ride on the whites of your eyes. Supposedly comfortable for a number of hours.

TheUnknownFactor2 karma

I currently wear hard contact lenses that basically put equal pressure on all of the eye. I wear them opposite hours from what you do- always except during the night. It's not comfortable, but I'm effectively blind without them (As in, -18).

For a while, I accidentally had my contact lenses in the wrong way (ie: left contact in right eye and vice versa), this punts more pressure on the more fucked up eye and the result was that when I took the contacts out- my eye sight was actually better than normal. When I brought this up with the specialist I see he urged me to try my best avoiding it in the future-- as it would damage the cornea surface.

tarjan2 karma

Uh, tell them to color code them things. Every material out there has the option to do colors. Mine are yellow for left and red for right, otherwise I would never get it done right.

Are they scleral lenses? There are some custom ones out there, expensive though. I considered it at one point due to my dry eyes, but I went ortho-k.

Ireland12064 karma

Were they uncomfortable at first?

Did you have a hard time falling asleep with them in?

Can you get them at any old optometrist (whatever they call them)?

tarjan6 karma

Yes, like en eyelash stuck in your eye.

Nope, close my eyes and I forget about them.

No, you need an expert or someone willing to learn from one. It isn't difficult to do for anyone who can do a regular RGP contact, but some equipment is needed, namely a corneal topographer. They can use a keratometer but it isn't as accurate and can be a problem with any out of the ordinary eyes.

st0neski4 karma

My optometrist has told me I would be a perfect candidate for this. I have just not really thought about it much.

Did your insurance cover any of the costs?

What happens if you wake up in the middle of the night to take a piss? Can you see where you are going?

What is the recommended amount of time to have them in during the night?

tarjan4 karma

Insurance: Nope, just the max my vision plan covers for any contacts.

Sight: They are perfect to see through. Best contacts ever, so no problems there. Most people with moist eyes have no problems if they have to wear them up and about for an hour or something. I can't because of my dry eyes,

Time: Whatever you do to sleep. Longer is better in some cases, but Ive gotten by on 4 hours.

erin48783 karma

Hmmm maybe I should look into this as I am not a Lasik candidate.

tarjan3 karma

Why not? Just too thin epithelial layer or something else? The limits to prescription strength and size for orthok are pretty similar to lasik, but the thickness of the layer may be easier to deal with since there is no surgery.

erin48781 karma

I think my right astigmatism is too bad to correct, pupils kind of big, cornea would get too thin and maybe tear.

I don't really know what this means, but I went for a consultation recently, and the guy was nice and gave me a new prescription...I think is a prescription anyway:


R: -2.00 / +5.75 / 097

L: -2.25 / +3.75 / 075

Vertex: 12

tarjan1 karma

possibly, but I cant say for sure. but there are a few contacts designed for astigmatism. bicurved as well.

There is a decent amount of astigmatism based on that.

mw_nn_wm3 karma

What do they look like?

tarjan5 karma

They are regular RGP style contacts. If you look at them closely you can see the curve change to get to the different zones as they go to the outside. From a few inches away they look no different than any other contact.

TheNeutralParty2 karma

My brand?

tarjan5 karma

Amazingly enough YES er well no. They have the material, but they can't do the cut. Ortho-k is a specialty shape and requires you to REALLY do it right. No cheap online options.


My friend has these. How long did it take to get used to them?

tarjan1 karma

2 weeks or so, kinda. once you close your eyes for sleeping the sensation is really minimal so in that respect almost immediately. The time before and after sleeping was a bit annoying at first though.

theadmiraljn1 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. I began wearing contacts in middle school (2004?) and while I was really excited about not wearing glasses, I've always had issues with dryness and irritation. Especially at school, where the heat was always cranked and the air was really dry. I'd get headaches from blinking so much/hard to try and make them comfortable.

Lately, I've stopped wearing my contacts all together A) because I am a graphic design major so I am staring at screens a lot which can make them hurt on top of the dryness and B) I ran out of lenses and didn't want to jurt reorder since I think my fit needs to be fixed. I don't mind wearing my glasses, but I definitely like how I look better without them, not to mention my glasses give me headaches sometimes too, and I miss wearing sunglasses!

I didn't know about these lenses but it seems like I might be a good candidate for them so I will have to do some investigation!

tarjan1 karma

Glad I could help and good luck!

tarjan1 karma

Definitely give it a shot.

fearthejew1 karma

I had these contacts for awhile when I was younger. They work extremely well, but I found them to be horribly uncomfortable. It was also my first experience with contacts, and I was very young at the time. That's cool that you like them, and I'm glad you have found success with them

tarjan3 karma

Need to be fit better, honestly. This is where doctors go from "good" to "artists". Fitting for orthok is difficult but with the right tools, it shouldn't be more than inconvenient.

BTW, I have EXTREMELY sensitive eyelids. That isn't the issue here.

fraggin1 karma

Read this as an oral K user.

tarjan3 karma

I wouldn't suggest drinking the contact lens solution.

freemarket271 karma

some jobs, such as NYPD police officer require 20/20 vision. That is 20/20 when your vision is tested. Would these contacts correct a person to good enough vision to pass an eye test?

tarjan1 karma

Maybe? Everyone is different. If it works for you, sure, but they may not. I certainly do have 20/20 or better.

featons1 karma

ive been wearing these for prolly 10 years.

when do you plan to stop? The thing I hate the most is that my eyes get dry if i sleep without them (like a long nap durin the day). I've always worried about traveling for incase they broke or something

tarjan1 karma

I have the same issue. It's odd that my eyes have adapted to being moist with them in now, but get dry without. I think it is only that we are used to it though. When I had a year gap in there my eyes went back to normal, including being somewhat moist at night.

I don't plan on stopping until I have to.

maimonides1 karma

What lenses are you wearing? My RGPs are by Menicon and they make ortho-k lenses, too, so I'm just curious. Are they comfortable enough for you?

I really think ortho-k is so cool. I wish my parents had known about it when I was a kid. When I see toddlers with the kind of glasses I had (and have) I want to tell the parents about it (but I don't want to seem like an overly-enthusiastic weirdo, so I only mention it to fellow myopes with kids). I'd love to not be so badly nearsighted.

tarjan2 karma

Menicon Z is great. I actually tried them for my regular lenses, but my eyes just wouldn't work with them in the end.

I can't remember the name of the material, menicon wasn't able to be used by wave at the time. Bausch XO or XO2 I think.

Cannonball71711 karma

So.. you put the contacts in, and it 20/20's your vision only until the next day? Does it not last for a long time?

tarjan1 karma

about 24hrs. I am functional for about 48 then it starts to get too blurry for regular business.

Some people last a few days, it depends on your prescription, correction zone and eyes.

hellogoodbye921 karma

Wait I'm confused. Are they like hard contacts?

tarjan1 karma

rgp. "hard contacts" refer to old pmma lenses which didn't let any o2 through to the eyes, but yes they are hard in that they are not flexible like soft contacts.

StrangeDesire-2 karma


tarjan5 karma

whatcha want for proof? I can take a picture of the contacts, but they look fairly normal. You might be able to see the curves used for correction though. I also have an old corneal topography scan that was done of my eyes, though it doesn't mean a huge amount I guess.

How about the fact I know what a dmt is? (little eye plunger thing) Nothing like plucking contacts out on a moving dive boat with a teensy plunger.

StrangeDesire2 karma

Well... I would imagine you need some work of paper work. Anything that you can show. And as the rules on the side say, if you don't feel comfortable showing something you have then just message the mods.

tarjan3 karma

<iframe class="imgur-album" width="100%" height="550" frameborder="0" src=""></iframe>

I can never remember how to paste albums. Either way, that will take you to two pictures of my contacts. You can distinctly see the secondary curve where it changes shape. There are more curves that are not visible at the very edge, but that's not important.

Also included an OLD CRT prescription. CRT is just a brand name of ortho-k. There are a different names, so don't get confused. CRT is ortho-k but not all ortho-k is crt.