Could ortho k make your glasses a thing of the past?
Imagine waking up one day with perfectly clear vision, without needing to reach for your glasses or contact lenses…and without laser eye surgery. It sounds too good to be true, right?
Independence from glasses or contact lenses at work, school and during sport is now possible with orthokeratology. What’s more, it is completely non-invasive (no surgery), suitable for both children and adults, and is 100% reversible if you change your mind.
Orthokeratology – or ortho k – is especially beneficial for myopic or short-sighted kids, as it is a proven method of reducing the rate at which their myopia worsens every year. Children as young as 8 years of age can be successful with ortho k.
Ortho k is not just convenient, it also helps protect our children’s long term eye health.
What is orthokeratology – or ortho k?
Orthokeratology – also known as ortho k or Corneal Reshaping Therapy (CRT) – is a method of correcting vision by gently reshaping the cornea (clear front surface of the eye) using specialised contact lenses that are worn during sleep every night (or every second night). An ideal candidate for ortho k is anyone with low to moderate myopia (or short-sightedness), with or without mild astigmatism. It is most effective for children that have just started to become myopic.
Upon wakening in the morning, the ortho k contact lenses are removed and you are left with clear distance vision. This effect is only temporary, and gradually wears off after about a day or two.
Ortho k has been around for the last 50 years or so, and a lot of research and improvements to the system have been made over that time. With modern fitting philosophies and lens designs, ortho k is highly developed with a very good success rate.
Glasses, contact lenses and laser eye surgery can correct myopia but did you know you can also slow or halt the progress of your myopia? With a global epidemic of myopia on our hands, all eyes are on any proven methods to control its progression. Read more about myopia control here.
What are myopia and astigmatism?
Myopia, often called short-sightedness, is a common focusing condition of the eye. In myopia, the eye ball tends to be longer than usual and therefore the eye cannot focus objects clearly on the retina (the back inner surface of the eye that relays visual information to the brain).
Astigmatism is also a common focusing condition of the eye. Astigmatism is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or lens inside the eye. The eye is therefore unable to focus objects clearly on the retina and the object of interest appears blurred or distorted.
Ortho k lenses
Orthokeratology uses a specially designed hard contact lens to mould the surface of the eye to a new shape while we sleep. They are usually worn at night (or second night) and removed first thing in the morning when they will need to be cleaned and stored. Learn more about ortho k lenses here.
Ortho k cost
There are several steps involved in fitting you (or your child) for orthokeratology:
•An initial consultation to determine if ortho k is likely to be successful. This involves mapping the shape of the cornea – the front surface of the eye – in a non-invasive way as well as a complete eye test.
•A contact lens fitting to find the perfect lens for your eye. These lenses are then ordered.
•Delivery of the new contact lenses and instruction on how to insert, remove and clean the lenses.
•Review after a week to see how effective the lenses are and if they require tweaking for better effect. This may happen a number of times until the perfect pair of lenses is found.
It is common to bundle all of these steps into a single cost. Learn more about the cost of ortho k here.
Benefits of ortho k – an alternative to LASIK?
- Ortho k can be a great alternative to laser surgery, or for anyone that finds their current contact lenses uncomfortable. Unlike laser vision correction, which involves a permanent surgical change to the cornea, the effect of ortho k lenses is only temporary. The cornea will go back to its original shape once the lenses are no longer worn for a few weeks. It is also much less expensive than laser surgery.
- Ortho k is also a great option anytime glasses and contact lenses become a nuisance, for example when swimming and playing other sports, or for people that work in dusty environments.
- Aside from the great convenience of not having to wear glasses or contact lenses, one of the amazing benefits of ortho k is that it is one of the most effective treatments for myopia control – wearing the lenses has been shown to reduce the progression of myopia in short sighted children, teenagers and young adults. Any parent with a short-sighted child should have a discussion with their optometrist about ortho k and other methods of myopia control. An important thing to keep in mind is that not all optometrists that fit contact lenses can fit orthokeratology lenses – it is important to find an optometrist who specialises in ortho k, or be referred to one by your current optometrist.
- Ortho-k offers freedom from glasses and the hassle of wearing contact lenses during the day, enhancing the lifestyle of those requiring vision correction. Active individuals can freely participate in sports without the interference of glasses or bother of contact lenses. As these special lenses are worn whilst sleeping, eye irritation and dryness often associated with the combination of contact lens wear, extended computer use and outside dust and pollutants, is eliminated.
Ortho k risks
Because ortho k involves wearing contact lenses, there is a slightly higher risk of adverse events occurring (such as eye infections) compared to people who never wear contact lenses.
Why have I not heard about Orthokeratology before?
Orthokeratology has been around for decades, however the recent advances in contact lens technology has brought it to the forefront of myopia/astigmatism control. The practice of Ortho-K requires a great deal of technical skill and specialised equipment. The Eye Practice specialises in contact lens fittings and Orthokeratology and we have achieved excellent results in the management of myopia and low to moderate astigmatism.
WHY NOT READ OUR BLOG - We have written a number of articles on orthokeratology: