A patient asks, “A friend of mine told me there are special contact lenses that you wear only while sleeping and that allow you to see well all day with no lenses on. Can I do that?” The way you respond to that question may literally “reshape” the future of your practice.
Unfortunately, if patients inquire about orthokeratology (ortho-k) to practitioners who are not informed about it, those practitioners may tell their patients that the process is not for them or, worse yet, that it just doesn’t work. If you choose not to be involved in ortho-k, refer them to a colleague who offers this service. If you work with ortho-k patients, start the process by determining their candidacy, and you can enjoy providing this service to your patients. But, if you have not previously done ortho-k and make the choice to start fitting ortho-k patients, prepare yourself and your office for this new process.
Training and Education
For the Practitioners You should start by learning the practical aspects of fitting as well as the science behind ortho-k. You can get experience through a hands-on or wet lab fitting. In addition, find a mentor and/or a manufacturer’s fitting consultant to guide you.
For the Technicians Your technicians also need to understand the process. Make sure to provide them with instructions on ortho-k-specific lens handling and care.
For All Office Personnel Provide an explanation of office policies and expected visits related to ortho-k fitting. Also, make sure to discuss the various fees that will come up during this kind of fitting.
Equipment To properly fit ortho-k, you will need a corneal topographer. You should have printed materials on hand, such as references, sources of additional info, informed consent forms, and handling instructions. Videos of application/removal techniques will also be helpful and are available online or they can be customized for your office.
Ortho-k is a unique alternative to glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. From the patients’ perspective, it provides no need for vision correction during waking hours (Lipson, 2008; Berntsen et al, 2005; Charm, 2017); there are less symptoms of dryness or scratchy eyes compared to soft lenses (Lipson et al, 2005); and there is improved overall vision-related quality of life (Hiraoka et al, 2009; Queirós et al, 2012). From an office perspective, ortho-k adds an alternate service to provide for your patients as well as a new source of patients, referrals, and income. From a practitioner perspective, ortho-k adds variety to your daily routines by allowing you to use a different technology, and it adds professional stimulation when you get to use those clinical skills.
As mentioned above, training and education for practitioners and staff is critical. Seek out all fitting and practice management tips you can before you start.
Ortho-k Lens Manufacturers Tap into their online resources, lab consultants, training materials, and sponsored workshops with specific lens designs.
National, Regional, and Local Meetings These include lectures, wet labs, and workshops providing generic diagnostic skills. Look into Vision By Design, an annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control; the Global Specialty Lens Symposium; and training from specialty groups or individuals.
Webinars and Online Resources Various organizations—including the Gas Permeable Lens Institute of the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association—provide additional information, references, and libraries of lectures and webinars.
Colleagues/Mentors Valuable information can also be gained by talking with a colleague or friend who has experience in starting ortho-k. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #262.