What is Ortho-K?
This revolutionary contact lens treatment is available to improve your vision in days. Myopia (short sightedness) and astigmatism (the irregular shape of the cornea) are reduced, and your eyesight is dramatically improved. The Ortho-K lens program employs a contact lens while you sleep to gently improve your eyesight. In many ways, it is akin to using braces to straighten teeth. The result is good vision throughout the day without lenses.
Why use Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology allows those normally requiring glasses to be free of both contact lenses and spectacles for their waking hours. This is ideal for sports people, swimmers, and those who work in dusty or dirty environments. Other people benefit from being free of artificial aids during the day, enabling a greater freedom to pursue activities without hindrance.
Can anyone have Orthokeratology?
No. Whilst new lens designs and improved accuracy of corneal measurement have resulted in a dramatic improvement in the effectiveness of this procedure, only prescriptions up to moderate degrees of myopia and astigmatism can be treated. Hence low to moderate myopes ( up to -5.00) are best suited, although some high myopes might enjoy being able to see better without such thick glasses.
Myopia, or near sightedness, is the most common of all vision problems. The condition worsens in the teenage and early adult years even while wearing glasses or soft contact lenses. Light entering a healthy, but myopic, eye is focused in front of the retina, instead of on the retina. The myopic eye is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, which causes blurry distant vision.
Astigmatism is a common vision problem causing ghosting of vision, headaches, eyestrain, and blurred vision. Uneven curvature of the cornea results in multiple points of focus at the retina.
The speed of moulding of the cornea will vary from person to person depending on corneal shape and rigidity. Allergies, dry eyes and other health problems may restrict wearing times and thus success cannot be guaranteed.
What does Ortho-K involve?
The first stage is an initial examination to assess the general condition and health of the eyes. Then using a computerised corneal mapping system, the shape of the cornea is measured; and this provides the opportunity to discuss the likely effectiveness of the procedure with more precise background information.
The next step is the trial fitting. A lens is selected and is worn overnight and the response of the eye to the lens is then measured directly. If a central change is observed it means that the cornea will change appropriately. If the change is off centre then a second fitting is attempted or the procedure is terminated.
Most of the changes occur rapidly during the first few days. Therefore, frequent examinations are required initially. Stabilisation occurs over the next few weeks at a lesser pace. Thus the Ortho-K program runs for one to three months depending on the initial degree of myopia or astigmatism and the rate of change of corneal shape.
Once the maximum changes are achieved, retainer lenses are worn to stabilise the corneal shape. These are worn overnight. Failure to wear the retainer lens on an ongoing basis will result in the return of the eye to the original prescription.
How much does it cost?
The fees involved reflect the time consuming nature of the procedure, the number of lens changes invoked and the use of expensive equipment. Once completed, however, the costs are no greater than conventional lens wear. Some fees may attract a rebate from Medicare and some lens costs may be claimed from your health fund. A full breakdown of costs is available from your Optometrist on request, however as a guideline, you should allow between $1600 to $2000 for the procedure.
Ortho-K Lens Summary
- A non-surgical vision improvement
- After improvement, you simply see better without help from glasses or contact lenses
- Vision rapidly improves within a day or two
- Convenient and comfortable – not disrupting your visual performance as your eyesight improves
- All ages benefit
- Glasses-free, contact lens-free vision for recreation, sports and leisure
- Pilots, Policemen, Fireman, etc. can now meet required uncorrected vision demands
- May reduce the rate of progression of myopia in children caused by myopia
For more information, please visit Orthokeratology Society of Australasia.