Have you ever heard of contacts you wear overnight? While it is dangerous to sleep in regular daytime contacts, there is a type of lens that is safe, and FDA approved to sleep in. These lenses are overnight Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) contact lenses. Orthokeratology is the process of wearing gas-permeable contacts to correct the curvature of the cornea. This focuses light correctly onto the retina. When removed a patient can see clearly without the need to wear glasses or daytime contacts.
Paragon CRT® Contacts are Ortho-K lenses that treat nearsightedness. Nearsightedness is where faraway objects appear blurry. Paragon CRT® has no age restrictions!1 However, the benefits of Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses are especially noticeable in children. Ortho-K lenses have been clinically proven to improve a child’s ability to learn, boost their self-esteem, enhance their social skills, and increase their participation in sports!2
With any medical device or even medicine for children, parents can have questions and concerns about the treatment. To address some of the most common questions parents have about Paragon CRT®, we spoke with Tara O’Grady, who specializes in patient consultation and management of orthokeratology and Dr. Cohen, the first practitioner to ever become Paragon CRT® certified.
1. Why Have I Never Heard of This Before?
Paragon CRT® Contact Lenses became the first FDA approved overnight corneal reshaping lens in 2002.1 Paragon CRT® has been gaining popularity with over a million lenses prescribed since the FDA approval.3 Our lenses are prescribed in over 50 countries.4 For many parents who may have been treated for nearsightedness when they were a child, only glasses and daily contacts were available. Thus Ortho-K is a newer technology available to today’s children affected by nearsightedness. In addition, the epidemic of nearsightedness is a more modern phenomenon. The epidemic has helped people to become more aware of their different treatment options, such as Ortho-K.
“It has been through the success of lenses like Paragon CRT® that people have come to hear about it, along with doctors who are being proactive to educate children and parents about CRT as a viable option to treat nearsightedness.” Says Cohen.
2. Will the Contact Lenses Actually Work?
Paragon CRT® Lenses are Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) contacts, which is Ortho-K, a technology where your child wears the lenses overnight while they sleep. The process is gentle and safe. When your child wakes up in the morning and removes the lenses they can see clearly. No more glasses, daytime contacts, or sports goggles!
“I let parents know that the lens material that Ortho-K is made of has approval for extended wear before CRT as a contact lens treatment technique was approved by the FDA. Your child is only wearing these lenses 6-8 hours at a time in a material that has been approved extended wear. So, the lenses are very safe.” Cohen explains.
There are many studies and research papers on the science of Ortho-K. One resource is through the Brien Holden Vision Institute which has numerous materials on nearsightedness and Ortho-K that parents or those interested in the therapy may find insightful.
Nearsightedness usually begins in childhood at the start of primary school education. When left uncorrected, nearsightedness can affect a child’s ability to learn and develop. The causes of nearsightedness are both genetic and environmental. Increased urbanization and close-range activities such as reading, video games, or tablet use, are increasing the incidence of nearsightedness.5 While there are many treatment options for nearsightedness – Paragon CRT® lenses can give your child visual freedom. No longer will they have to worry about breaking their glasses on the playground or losing a contact on the basketball court. Not to mention, no more risk of accidentally swimming or sleeping in their daytime contacts!
3. Will My Child be Responsible Enough to Wear Overnight Contacts?
“Some parents may think overnight contact lenses are a big responsibility for an 8-year-old or 10-year-old. But your child is now nearsighted, and they will have to be responsible no matter what mode of correction you decide on going forward.” Explains O’Grady.
“They are going to have to be responsible with glasses or daytime contacts or responsible with Paragon CRT® lenses. When your child leaves the house in the morning with an expensive pair of glasses, they must be responsible outside of your care to switch back to glasses when their schedule is over for the day. You have to trust your child not to lose their glasses, daytime contacts, and any other eye care equipment when going from sports to a friend’s house or to home to the bus and to school. No matter what, your child will have to develop a degree of responsibility when nearsighted.
Paragon CRT® allows you to supervise and help your child to be responsible with the lenses. When they leave the house, there is freedom. One great benefit of Paragon CRT® is it can actually relieve your child of the responsibility of any glasses or contact lenses at all throughout the day.”
Is Paragon CRT® Right for Your Child?
What is your child’s prescription, are they committed and responsible enough for Ortho-K, what is their lifestyle like? All these questions need to be answered by a parent and child together to decide if a child can benefit from Ortho-K.
“Ortho-K is a beautiful gift to give to your child.” O’Grady says. “Especially if you have newly nearsighted kids. There is the misconception among parents to wait until a child’s nearsightedness gets worse to treat them. That breaks my heart when I hear that. I don’t want a parent to wait another minute.
Parents tend to consider treatment for their moderately/ highly nearsighted kids. I highly recommend CRT contacts for slightly nearsighted kids! If we can keep their child only slightly nearsighted- they can always see around the room, watch TV, and maybe in the future drive a car without the aid of glasses or daytime contacts. We have a tiny window of opportunity to maintain functional vision. Once that functional vision goes away, your child will be completely dependent on glasses or daytime contacts.”
“Ortho-K lenses have been shown clinically to be safe and effective in slowing down the progression of nearsightedness and also positively impacting the quality of life for children.[i] The fact that it is reversible gives a lot of reassurance to parents, knowing they aren’t making a lifetime decision for their child.” Says Cohen.
There are Paragon CRT® certified eye doctors across the United States. To find one near you, use our find a doctor locator here. To learn more about Paragon CRT® feel free to browse our website and blog. With a visit to a certified eye doctor you can dive into clinical questions and start your child on their journey to clear vision and freedom from glasses or daytime contacts.
 FDA Approval Letter
 F. Z., G. Z., & Z. Z. (2018). Investigation of the Effect of Orthokeratology Lenses on Quality of Life and Behaviors of Children. Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, Inc., 44(5). Retrieved May 8, 2019.
 Accounting Letter from internal CRT System - total lenses sold since 2002
 Paragon Vision Sciences, Data on file, 2017
 Holden, B. A., T. R. Fricke, D. A. Wilson, M. Jong, K. S. Naidoo, P.
Sankaridurg, T. Y. Wong, T. J. Naduvilath and S. Resnikoff (2016).
"Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from
2000 through 2050." Ophthalmology 123(5): 1036-1042.
[i] Paragon CRT® Lenses are currently not FDA approved for myopia control.