Precision Corneal Molding
Precision Corneal Molding (PCM), also known as orthokeratology or Ortho-K, is a nonsurgical alternative to refractive surgery that reshapes the cornea using a series of custom-designed, rigid contact lenses that are worn at night. These lenses flatten or steepen the cornea overnight, as needed for each individual patient, to provide improved vision throughout the day.
Patients can achieve clear vision with no need for glasses or contact lenses without having to undergo surgery. While results are only temporary, they can be effectively maintained by continuing to wear overnight contact lenses.
The practice of orthokeratology has been used for several decades, although contacts were not FDA-approved to be worn overnight, and results were often mixed. However, in recent years, overnight wear of cornea-reshaping lenses was approved by the FDA and helped to improve the appeal and effectiveness of this treatment.
Candidates for PCM
This procedure is ideal for patients with myopia (nearsightedness) of up to six diopters or astigmatism of up to 1.75 diopters, although the best results are often achieved in patients with lower amounts. Patients who do not want to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day, but do not mind wearing them at night, often choose PCM instead of undergoing surgery for their vision correction.
Many people who may not be candidates for LASIK, including teenagers and adolescents, seek treatment through PCM instead, as this treatment can be performed on patients of all ages. In addition, patients with dry eyes and other symptoms may be better suited for PCM rather than LASIK, as surgery can worsen these conditions.
Certain patients may not be candidates for this condition, including those with a corneal infection, certain systemic diseases or eye diseases or injury. Your doctor will determine whether or not this procedure is right for you after a thorough evaluation of your eyes and overall health.
How Precision Corneal Molding Works
Similar to LASIK and other types of refractive surgery, PCM reshapes the cornea to allow light to properly focus on the retina for improved vision. To begin treatment, your doctor will measure the precise curvature of your corneas with a corneal topographer to determine the individual amount of correction needed in order for you to achieve improved vision.
Temporary contact lenses are then given while your customized lenses are crafted. These lenses are worn overnight and results may be noticeable the very next day. While only one pair of lenses is often needed to improve vision, some patients may require additional lenses in order to achieve their desired results.
Once desired vision improvements have been achieved, patients will wear special lenses while they sleep in order to maintain new vision levels. If wear is discontinued, vision will gradually return to its original level.
Benefits of PCM
Precision corneal molding offers many benefits over other forms of lens correction, especially for patients who do not wish to undergo surgery or do not want to deal with the hassle of wearing glasses or contacts every day. This comfortable, noninvasive treatment achieves precise results while you sleep, making it convenient for nearly anyone. Although results are not permanent, they are often more consistent than surgical results, in which vision may begin to gradually blur.
Results of PCM
With PCM treatment, patients often see an improvement of two to three diopters in less than two weeks. During this initial period, you may experience glares and halos, but these side effects will subside with time. Results are not permanent, and will require continuous wearing of contact lenses overnight in order to maintain desired vision results.
Despite its ongoing maintenance care, most patients find the contact lenses used for PCM to be comfortable. Even patients who experience discomfort or lens awareness with ordinary contact lenses are usually not bothered by PCM lenses since they are worn during sleep.