What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K or OK lenses, involves wearing a specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lens while you sleep, aiming to reshape the cornea (front part of the eye, which is responsible for 70% of our eye’s refractive power). This enables the wearer to experience freedom and achieve what they love without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day.
Ortho-K lenses are worn at night when you are asleep, and taken out in the morning. This temporarily changes the shape of the cornea. It is a safe, non-surgical, and reversible procedure. This technique has existed for more than 50 years, however recent improvement of the technology in lens design, manufacturing and the extensive research has transformed Ortho-K into a much more efficient and safe option that many individuals are opting to go for.
How Does Ortho-K Work?
The corneal shape of our eye will be measured using a specialised tool called Topographer, it allows us to measure the 3D perspective of the cornea in micron-meters. The Ortho-K lens will then be specially designed according to our eye shape and prescription.
It is crucial that the lens is designed very precisely so the Ortho-K lens does not physically touch the eyeball but creates the necessary correcting force to alter the shape of the cornea. This is important as the cornea is responsible for 70% of our eye's refractive power. The correcting forces gently remould the cornea into a flatter shape (for short-sighted individuals) and steeper shape (for long-sighted individuals), which ultimately results in a change in the prescription to achieve clear vision during the day.
Ortho-K and Myopia Control
Ortho-K lenses have been shown to slow myopia progression, which is very important for children and teenagers whose prescription is continuously changing.
Ortho-K lenses are also used in myopia control (another benefit from Ortho-K lens other than simply correcting prescription during day-time), a portion of the altered shape of the cornea have effects on slowing down the elongation of the eyeball and thus slowing down the progression of short-sightness in young individuals. Click here to understand more about myopia (short-sightness) and risks involved in high myopia prescriptions.
Who Can Benefit From Ortho-K Treatment?
Since glasses or contact lenses are not required during the day for those who use Ortho-K lenses, many different types of people can greatly benefit. Below are a few examples:
Ortho-K lenses are an excellent option for children and teenagers who suffer with progressive myopia (short-sightedness with a continuously changing prescription). Studies have shown this treatment can slow the progression anywhere between 30%-60% or even higher.
People who lead active lifestyles, especially those who play water or contact sports can enjoy the freedom of not worrying about breaking their glasses or damaging contact lenses.
Occupations with physical environments, or dusty/weather dependent environments.
Great for individuals who cannot tolerate traditional contact lenses worn during the day.
An option for those who want freedom from their glasses or daytime contact lenses.
Ortho-K lenses are also a great option for those who suffer ocular allergy or dry eye.
What is Involved?
We are located in Pakuranga, east Auckland. We offer a free Ortho-K assessment for you to sit down and discuss more about Ortho-K with our Optometrists, to find what is involved, what are the expectations and suitability. You can Book Online for this. Once you have more understanding about Ortho-K and decide to go ahead, we will arrange the first Ortho-K appointment with our Optometrist.
During the first Ortho-K eye exam, we check your overall eye health, prescription and corneal shape mapping using Topographer are taken. From these we order the custom designed lenses which take approximately a week to arrive.
Once we receive the lenses, we book you in for a fitting and teaching consult. During this session the optometrist teaches you how to insert and remove the Ortho-K lenses as well as how to clean and care for them. That night you will wear the lenses for the first time.
We will then see you early (around 7am) the next day for a first morning review. Here we will assess how the Ortho-K lenses are reshaping your eyes and review your insertion and removal techniques as well.
Next, there is a one-week review to measure the reshaping of the cornea, change in vision and check the health of the eye. Of course, we are also happy to see you in between to answer any questions or help while your vision is still stabilising. During the transition period while the vision is stabilising, we can provide soft contact lenses to use during the day.
On-going follow up appointments are scheduled for one month, three months and six months to ensure the stability and best visual outcome. Sometimes, more follow up appointments are needed as per the individual’s case. We usually recommend six monthly or annually check-ups to ensure the health of your eyes and the condition of the lenses, as well as to monitor for any changes.
The cost of Ortho-K treatment is $1800 to $2000 (depends on prescription) which includes a pair of customised Ortho-K lenses, all Ortho-K related consultations for the first year (this includes your initial general eye exam), Ortho-K care starter package which includes starting pack of cleaning and care solutions, lubricating eye drops, contact lens suction remover, and contact lens case.