Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, is a non-surgical procedure that eliminates the need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day. It works by gently reshaping the front surface of the eye (the cornea) as you sleep. It is a safe and effective treatment to correct myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism
Ortho-K is a contact lens that acts like a mould to reshape the cornea whilst you sleep so that when you wake up and remove the contact lens it has corrected your vision, allowing you to see clearly without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day.
Lenses are custom designed and selected for each individual patient. Customizing the lens allows for parameters to be adjusted and made to ‘fit’ the cornea. The designing and selection process takes into considering the myopia profile of the patient, pupil size, corneal shape so that a precise and well-centred lens is prescribed for clear vision, ocular health and to maximize myopia control efficacy.
Ortho-k can be likened to orthodontic braces for your eyes. Braces are worn to straighten your teeth, correcting your smile, just as Ortho-K lenses reshape your eyes, thus, correcting your vision. The main difference is that corneal reshaping is temporary and reversible. The more regularly the lenses are worn the more accustomed and foldable the cornea is to reshaping. However, if you cease lens wear for several nights the cornea will start to return to its original shape.
Ortho-K is a significantly longer process than a regular contact lens fitting. It requires a series of office visits and potentially multiple pairs of lenses. An initial consultation is required to assess your vision, prescription, ocular health and a corneal imprint map is taken. These maps measure the corneal surface and provide valuable information in lens selection and determining if you are a suitable candidate for Ortho-K lens wear.
If you are a suitable candidate, following the initial consultation, trial lenses will be organized and can span over two to three appointments. This is followed by a fitting process, where the lens will be assessed on eye to determine if they are a ‘good fit’ and will provide the desired effect. If they are, the lenses are dispensed and an appointment is scheduled for the following morning to assess the changes over night. The optometrist will determine the following appointments and check-ups required to monitor your eye healthy and progress with lens wear. Insertion, removal and cleaning of the lenses will also be taught so that you are ready for your first night of lens wear!
Ortho-K is not suited for everyone. Factors such as corneal shape and prescription can limit this. Cleaning and hygiene is critical to the safety of overnight contact lens wear.
To provide Ortho-K an optometrist requires a topographer as well as experience in lens fitting. This assures safe lens wear and correct lens dispensing for the patient.
Yes. As a child with myopia grows, the length of the eye also grows, casing myopia to increase. Spectacle lens thickness increases and so does their risk of retinal detachment. Ortho-K acts like a brake and retards myopia progression. There is sufficient evidence in the literature that concludes that Orthokeratology indeed retards myopia progression significantly.
Yes, it is possible to have LASIK surgery after orthokeratology. But because Ortho-K lenses reshape your cornea, you must stop wearing the lenses for a period of time (usually several months) so your eyes can return to their original shape and stabilize. Be sure to tell your LASIK surgeon that you have worn Ortho-K lenses, so they can advise you how long you should wait before having the surgery.
There are many benefits associated with the Ortho-K treatment. The more common benefits are for those who require myopia control where it has seen to slow down the progression by 70-100%. Ortho-K also allows you to be spectacle free so it is excellent for athletes, children and adult who are prone to losing their spectacles, also for patients who are unable to wear contact lenses due to dry eyes or those who are not suitable to LASIK surgery.
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