Clear Vision Without Surgery, Glasses or Soft Contact Lenses
Imagine having clear vision without the need for surgery, glasses or soft contact lenses. Orthokeratology is a non-invasive treatment used to correct short sightedness without the need for surgery. This is achieved by wearing a specially designed contact lens while you sleep which temporarily reshapes the cornea to reduce short sightedness (myopia). The result is clear vision for the day without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Orthokeratology has been around for a long time however it has not been until the last decade that Ortho-K lenses have been designed in a way to make predictable and controlled changes on the corneal surface. Orthokeratology is safe, reliable and a viable alternative to glasses, soft contact lenses and laser eye surgery.
How it works?
Orthokeratology works by wearing a specially designed rigid gas permeable lens overnight to reshape the cornea. The specially designed lens acts like a mould and flattens the central part of the cornea - temporarily changing the total power of the eye giving the wearer clear vision without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. When the Ortho-K lens is not worn the epithelial cells slowly start move back to their normal position - this is called regression. Regression is a slow process and the rates of regression will vary from each individual however despite the effects of regression the induced changes with Orthokeratology usually last the wearer for most, if not all of the waking day.
Why should you consider Orthokeratology?
Traditonally, glasses and disposable contact lenses have been used to correct your vision. Glasses however, limit us from living an lifestyles. Soft contact lenses work great, but for some wearers they can cause irritation, discomfort and allergies. Refractive surgery is an invasive and expensive procedure. Orthokeratology gives us an alternative to soft contact lenses and refractive surgery. For children, teenagers and young adults, orthokeratology can also be used a way to halt any further progression of myopia (short-sightedness). You should consider orthokeratology if:
- You suffer from allergies and itchy eyes
- Have red, dry or irritated eyes
- Have increasing myopia (short-sightedness)
- Are anxious about refractive laser surgery and want an alternative to glasses and contact lenses
- Stop myopic changes in children and teenagers
Ortho-K contact lenses are a safe and viable method of correcting vision and the risks of wearing the lenses are no greater than wearing soft contact lenses. Unfortunately for some wearers, soft contact lenses can cause a few undesired symptoms. They can bind and accumulate debris, protein and micro-organisms which cause infections or allergic repsonses. Wearing contact lenses in air conditioned environments can often cause drying of the eyes. Unfortunately not all contact lens wearers have a comfortable experience and this effects their lifestyle. Orthokeratology eliminates many of the problems associated with soft contact lens wear because the orthokeratology lenses only need to be worn at night. If you live an active lifestyle or work in an environment where wearing soft contact lenses are not a viable option, such as places exposed to dust and dirt, or in an office where the air conditioning dries out your lenses. Ortho-k may be the best solution. As an example, occupations as; office workers, police, firemen and divers may benefit from orthokeratology over traditional soft lenses.
Some interesting facts
You've made it this far. You must be interested in orthokeratology! Below are in some interested facts about using orthokeratology.
Children tend to have a greater effect from wearing overnight lenses and because their lower degrees of myopia some children may be able to wear lenses every 2 - 3 night.
- The lower the degree of myopia the faster the effect of orthokeratology treatment. Only after a single overnight wear of the lenses creates about 75% of the desired effect. After 1 week of wear you have the fully desired effect is seen.
- Ortho-K lenses are more comfortable then traditional rigid gas permeable lenses (hard lenses). This is because they are larger than RGP's and they are worn with the eyes closed. Most people have no difficulties sleeping and adapting to them.
- Lenses are used on children to stop the progression of myopia cease further elongation of their eyeball. Larger eyeballs have higher degrees of myopia and in turn, have greater risks thinning and stretching of the retina. Thin and stretched retinas have higher risks of retinal detachments.
Am I suitable for Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology sounds exciting, but will it work for you? Orthokeratology works best for people who are short-sighted (myopic), have prescriptions between -0.50 to -4.00 (take note of the minus symbol) and have no more than 1.50 Dioptres of astigmatism. Excellent visual acuity is often seen with people who have a spectacle prescription which lies within this range. Whilst orthokeratology may still work for people with higher degrees of myopia, and we have successfully fit people with higher degrees, the end result is a little more unpredictable.
Our optometrists will examine your suitibility for orthokeratology and discuss your expected results. They will examine your prescription, shape, and health of your eye. To be suitable for ortho-k you must have a healthy cornea. This will be examined prior to any orthokeratology fitting. Fitting the lenses requires several scheduled visits. Patients who have higher degrees of myopia may require more visits as more adjustments may be made to the lenses.
Is it uncomfortable?
People are often concerned whether wearing a hard contact lens is painful. If you have not worn contact lenses before, you can expect some irritation upon insertion of the ortho-k lenses. The irritation feels similar to that of having an eyelash in your eye, however after time, your eyes will adapt to the sensation. With traditional hard contact lenses, people had problems with comfort because of the irritation they felt with the lens during day time wear. The irritation is caused by the hard lens rubbing up against the eyelids. This is not a problem when using ortho-k lenses because the larger diameter ortho-k lens is tucked underneath the eyelids and is worn with the eyelids closed. Orthokeratology lenses feel more comfortable compared to traditional hard contact lenses. Most people do not have any problems adapting to the lenses.
Which is better, Orthokeratology or LASIK?
If you are looking to reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, and don't mind wearing lenses to sleep at night, orthokeratology is an excellent option. If you want to completely eliminate use of contacts and glasses altogether, refractive surgery is the only way of permanently correcting your vision. Both options have pros and cons. Orthokeratology is non-invasive and the effects are temporary and reversible. Whereas refractive surgery is invasive but permanent. Generally speaking, if you are anxious about having surgery on your eyes and want an alternative to contact lenses, ortho-k is a great way of correcting your vision. You can still have refractive surgery at a later stage, simply cease wearing the orthokeratology lenses and your eyes will revert back to their original state. If you unstable vision and have an increasing prescription, we generally recommend waiting until your vision stabilises before performing refractive surgery. Whilst there is no guarantee at what age your eyesight will stabilise, a majority of people have myopic changes up to around ages of 26 to 28.
How much does it cost?
For people who require lenses to correct their short sightedness (myopia), the total cost for orthokeratology treatment is $1500. This includes the orthokeratology lenses and all initial consultation fees. The cost may vary depending on your prescription. Although the initial cost may appear to be expensive at first, it is less than a quarter of the cost lasik eye surgery and no more than wearing soft contact lenses or glasses over a period of 2 - 3 years. Remember orthokeratology lenses are permanent and may last up to 2 or 3 years for some individuals.
What is the procedure?
The procedure for fitting ortho-k lenses usually takes more time compared to traditional contact lens fitting and may require multiple sets of lenses. Before any commitment is made to orthokeratology your eye health needs to be assessed along with a prescription check. This information is usually revealed with just a general eye examination, which is covered by medicare. If you are an eligible candidate and decide to continue with the orthokeratology treatment, measurements of your cornea will be taken. These measurements are required so the orthokeratology lenses can be custom made to fit your eyes and correct your prescription. Lenses usually take about a week to be made, after which, another consultation will be booked where our optometrist will assess the fit and teach you how to insert, remove and wear the lenses. You will need to schedule another visit after the first night of wearing the lens. This visitation is important so our optometrist can check the health of your eyes and how much you've responded to the first nights wear. Most wearers will notice an improvement in their vision after the first night of wearing the lenses, however the maximum potential of the lens is not seen until it is worn for a complete week. Another appointment is required after a week. If there is any residual uncorrected vision, changes are made to the lenses accordingly and another set of lenses is ordered.
Follow up consultations are required 1 month, 6 months and 12 months after the final lenses are dispensed. These consultation are important to assess your eyes are coping well with the lenses and your vision is stable. No extra payment is required for these visits.
If you are interested in Orthokeratology (OrthoK) in Sydney or would like to speak to our Orthokeratologist specialist: