Orthokeratology is an important advancement in vision correction I am regularly asked about in my practice. I have many patients young and old who enjoy a freedom with Ortho-K lenses they did not imagine possible.
What is Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology is a safe, completely reversible overnight vision correction with the potential to restore 20/20 vision – while you sleep.
Orthokeratology lenses (Ortho-K) are worn every night and removed in the morning. The result is clear, sharp vision every day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Although the treatment was originally designed for patients with myopia (short sightedness) as a myopia treatment, recent advancements in optical technology has made Ortho-K lenses suitable for a range of eye conditions.
What eye conditions can Ortho-K treat?
Eye conditions which can be treated by Ortho-K include:
● Myopia (short sightedness)
● Hyperopia (long sightedness)
● Presbyopia (deterioration of sight after 40)
● Moderate astigmatism (irregular curve of the cornea)
Ortho-K lenses are also particularly suitable for:
● Athletes, sporty or active people
● People who dislike the inconvenience or discomfort of wearing glasses or contact lenses all day
● People who are worried about invasive laser eye surgery
● People who cannot have laser eye surgery
● Young children who are progressing in myopia (short sightedness)
How does Ortho-K work?
Although the science behind Ortho-K is complex, it can be explained quite simply.
Specially shaped lenses are placed over the cornea, the clear protective outer layer of the eye. Gentle pressure from the lens gradually reshapes the cornea enabling the light entering the eye to reach the back of the retina and provide correctly focused vision.
The lenses do not physically press onto the eye: the cushioning reservoir of tears beneath them induces the pressure necessary to influence the shape of the cornea.
This gentle, non-destructive reshaping over 8 – 10 hours provides around 2 days of clear vision for each night of contact lens wear.
How long does it take to see results from Ortho-K?
On average, vision improvement is expected to occur within a few days. As everyone is different it is important to keep to the follow-up schedule so adjustments can be made early if required.
Advantages of Ortho-K
● Clear, sharp, natural vision
● Completely reversible
● Alternative to laser eye surgery and LASIK
● Prevents the progression of myopia
● Offsets moderate astigmatisms
● Reduces eye fatigue and irritation during the day – due to contacts only being worn at night
● Presents no greater risk of eye infection than daytime soft contacts
● Reduces instances dry eyes
● Non-invasive and non-destructive procedure – unlike laser surgery
● Less expensive than laser surgery
Disadvantages of Ortho-K (No additional risks to using regular contacts)
● More expensive than regular contacts
● Hygiene – lenses must be maintained and cleaned to prevent conjunctivitis and eye infections
● Strict regime. Eyes revert to their normal vision level if lens insertion is irregular.
Can Children benefit from Ortho-K?
I am often asked if Ortho-K is safe for children. The answer is yes – Ortho-K is suitable for children from a very young age. As with all remedial treatments, parental or adult supervision is recommended.
How do I get started with Ortho-K lenses?
Eyeconic Optometry has the latest specialised equipment to ensure you receive the highest level of prescription accuracy and comfort from your lenses. As part of your consultation for Ortho-K treatment we fit a trial lens to determine how your eyes respond to the treatment. Stable results can usually be measured within a week.
3 easy steps to Ortho-K
1. Consultation. We assess your suitability for Ortho-K lenses by checking your prescription and mapping the shape of your cornea.
2. Fitting appointment. We supply you with trial lenses for overnight evaluation.
3. Follow-up appointment. The morning after the overnight evaluation we check to see how well your eyes responded to the Ortho-K lenses, and how the lenses have moulded the cornea.
If all goes well we order your lenses. The lenses take approximately 2 weeks to be made according to your unique prescription and requirements.
Once the lenses arrive we make sure you have access to us on a regular basis to monitor their effectiveness, and answer any questions.
What is a typical follow-up schedule?
Initially we check your vision improvements after the first 1-3 days. We repeat the checks at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months: beyond that every 6 months.
Often 2-3 pairs of lenses are required per fitting to achieve the desired treatment effect.
Where the moulding effect is not 100% perfect, a second pair are ordered and the follow-up schedule repeated.
How long will a pair of Ortho-K contacts last?
There is some discussion on this point among optometrists: 18 months appears to be typical. I have patients reporting excellent longevity with their Ortho-K lenses from 18 months – 2 years, while others may require new lenses after 12 months.
Please contact us if you would like to have your Ortho-K questions answered in person, we are happy to discuss your options with you! You can book your own appointment online or call the office at 07 5532 7398.