Orthokeratology is a procedure that involves the use of rigid gas permeable contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea to reduce nearsightedness or myopia. The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye which covers the iris and the pupil. It is the clear front window of the eye that is responsible for transmitting and focusing light into the eyes.
Orthokeratology is also called ortho-k, corneal refractive therapy, vision shaping or corneal reshaping. Currently, there are also lenses designed to address presbyopia and farsightedness.
This procedure is ideal for people with low to mild nearsightedness or those with -4 diopters or less. It is most successful when performed on patients under 40 years old. Orthokeratology is not recommended for patients with large pupils, high levels of myopia or those with dry eye syndrome.
LASIK or laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis is an irreversible laser surgical procedure done to correct vision problems of people who are farsighted, nearsighted or those with astigmatism. This procedure is done by reshaping the cornea to enable light traveling through it to properly focus on the retina which is located in the back of the eye.
Which is better?
Orthokeratology and LASIK both appear to be viable options for people with vision problems. Here is a look at some things you may wish to consider if you are thinking of which option is best for you:
• Both procedures are designed to correct vision problems that affect the cornea of the eyes. They both aim to reshape and flatten your corneas to allow light to reach your retina properly. They will also help you see objects from afar clearly without using eye glasses or contact lenses.
• Ortho-k is more popularly known as a procedure used to address myopia. LASIK, on the other hand, is known to correct more vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Recently, however, ortho-k lenses have also been designed to address problems like farsightedness and presbyopia and even astigmatism.
• Orthokeratology lenses are worn at night to flatten the cornea to enable patients to have improved vision the following day without relying on eye glasses or contact lenses. The ortho-k lenses should always be worn nightly, otherwise, the vision problem can recur after around three days of not wearing them. LASIK, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure that can flatten your cornea permanently with laser technology in as fast as 15 minutes.
• LASIK is the more expensive option of the two. It can cost twice as much as ortho-k. However, you may want to factor in the convenience of LASIK over ortho-k when you make your computations. In the long run, LASIK may actually come out cheaper.
• With LASIK, your vision problem is corrected immediately after the surgery. Its result is permanent. You may opt to undergo another LASIK procedure if your desired vision is not achieved. With ortho-k, you can observe improvements only after two weeks of wearing the lenses nightly. You also need to use the lenses every night to maintain your desired vision.
• LASIK is permanent and it cannot be reversed. Orthokeratology, on the other hand, is not permanent. When you stop using the lenses, your vision problem can recur. You may also opt to replace the procedure with other methods of treatment.
• Ortho-K can be performed on children, whereas LASIK cannot. In fact it is best not to perform LASIK until one has reach twenty-five to reduce the chance of significant complications.
• Ortho-K has been shown to slow down the progression of myopia whereas LASIK has not.
• At The Eye Practice we have been performing Orthokeratology successfully for over 15 years. We have been consulting with patients being assessed and managed after LASIK procedures for also around 15 years. We clearly understand the pros and cons of both these great procedures.
• Call us on (02) 9290 1899 for your comprehensive Orthokeratology or Laser Eye Surgery Assessment.