What is Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology is the use of contact lenses to mould the shape of the cornea to reduce or correct myopic (short sighted) errors of the eye. It can also be used to correct hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism.
In some ways it is similar to the use of dental braces by an orthodontist to straighten crooked teeth. The main difference is that if a tooth position is corrected for some months it will usually stay in the new position. The cornea is highly elastic however, and always returns to its original shape over time. For this reason retainer lenses are worn several nights per week even after the ideal corneal shape has been achieved.
Why Have Ortho-K Done?
The main purpose of Ortho-K is to be free of both contact lenses and spectacles for all of your waking hours.
Whilst this is ideal for sportsmen, swimmers or those who work in dusty or dirty environments, the freedom from any optical correction appeals to other spectacle and contact lens wearers. School age children benefit greatly for example.
Night Therapy – The Most Common Application
The ideal use of Orth-K contact lenses is to wear them whilst you are sleeping and remove them on waking in the morning and enjoy the whole day with clear unaided vision.
Does Ortho-K Have Any Advantages Over Excimer Laser Surgery?
Yes. Ortho-K costs less and is a reversible procedure. As well it is more appropriate for people whose eyes are still changing such as children. Laser vision correction is not done on young, growing eyes. If a child uses Ortho-K this does not prevent them from choosing a Laser vision correction option later on when their eyes have matured.
Lenses are inserted before going to sleep and removed in the morning. As the therapy progresses and the cornea is moulded, the lenses give good unaided vision for longer periods of time.
Is Everyone Suitable for Ortho-K?
No. Ortho-K procedures are not capable of correcting all levels of prescription. However improvements in lens design and materials now allow us to treat short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.
Individual corneal shape and rigidity will determine the results achieved. While the success rate is very high, success cannot be guaranteed.
Your optometrist will examine your eyes and then discuss your personal suitability for this treatment.
Fees & Charges
The preliminary examination charge is that set by Medicare. There is a nominal fee for corneal topography. Corneal topography is an absolutely vital technology in Ortho-K treatment that allows us to map the shape of the cornea. This is very important because, in OrthoK, we change the shape of the cornea.
The cost of Orth-K treatment varies with prescription power. Program costs start from $1800. This cost includes your Ortho-K contact lenses and your consultation fees for 6 months. Ortho-K treatment is generally available for prescriptions of myopia up to -6.00 and astigmatism up to -2.00. High prescriptions may be treatable, come in for a consultation and we can assess your suitability.
As with any contact lens wear it is vital to ensure the health and integrity of the cornea at all stages. Over the first 6 months many visits are involved. After the initial therapy an examination twice a year is considered essential to ensure ongoing safety of the eyes and good vision.