Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
Is there such a thing as contacts that you wear at night and take out during the day and can see normally?        

Answer:
Yes. This is the latest ideation of orthokeratology. Think of the gas permeable lenses as orthodontia for the eyes, but different. With the advent of high D/k gas permeable contact lenses, this type of treatment became available.

The lenses fit flatter than normal contacts, so they tend to reshape the cornea of the eye. Because the newer lenses transmit oxygen so well, you can sleep in them. They are gradually increased in configurement to flatten the cornea enough to reduce or eliminate mild nearsightedness, but this is not permanent and you have to wear them as a "retainer" at night, or the cornea gradually resumes its normal shape. Fortunately, the cornea has the highest refracting power of the eye, so small changes in curvature create mild flattening but significant visual effect.  

It will not correct farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, or moderate to high myopia. Sleeping in any contact lens increases the chances for infection and other problems, so do not do this without careful consideration.  

I suggest that you seek consultation from an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) who is experienced in this procedure, but also offers contact lenses and refractive surgery such as LASIK. Sometimes doctors who get very skilled and enthusiastic about a particular procedure lose their objectivity, so be very careful.   

Answered by: Richard G. Shugarman, MDDr. Richard Shugarman

Categories: Vision Correction

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Answered: Jan 12, 2013

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