An increasingly popular form of specialized contact lenses abroad, orthokeratology (or OrthoK for short) offers the user the ability to see clearly without the use of glasses or daytime contact lenses.
What is OrthoK?
OrthoK is the use of a hard gas-permeable contact lens to gently reshape the cornea while you are sleeping. This is done in a finely controlled manner so that when you wake up, your prescription or blurriness of vision is corrected, even after you remove the lenses to go about your everyday activities.
OrthoK is particularly effective at addressing low-to-moderate levels of shortsightedness (myopia). It is also effective to a lesser extent while correcting astigmatism and longsightedness (hyperopia).
It has subsequently been found to be effective in slowing down the progression of childhood myopia, greatly reducing the risks of glaucoma and retinal detachment later in life.
How does OrthoK work?
The OrthoK lens is put on at night time before going to bed, and it gently applies a pressure over the front of the cornea to reshape it in a controlled manner such that when you remove it the next morning, it will retain its shape for the day and give you clear vision as a result.
Is it reversible? What are the risks?
Yes, the OrthoK treatment is fully reversible. Upon stopping the wear of the lenses, the cornea will slowly revert back to its original shape. This is also the reason why you have to wear them every night, or two nights. This also means that if you decide you want to perform laser surgery in the future, OrthoK will not interfere with the surgery.
The risks are the same as it would be for normal contact lens wear - misuse or lack of cleaning of the lenses can lead to higher chance of infections. However, with proper care and usage your eyes will generally be healthy.
How does it differ to other types of vision correction?
No glasses wear
Less dry eye issues over the course of a waking day compared to normal contact lenses
No risk of grit getting under contact lenses when in dusty environments
No risk of lenses falling out when playing contact sports, or when in water
What’s the deal with myopia control?
OrthoK has been shown to be able to reduce the progression of myopia from anywhere between 30-60%, and anecdotally even higher than that. This is particularly of interest when your child’s eyes appear to be deteriorating year on year, sometimes even necessitating updates of glasses every few months.
While there are other forms of myopia control that have also been shown to be effective, OrthoK so far appears to be among the most effective, while being able to maintain its treatment effect even long after stopping the treatment.
That is not to say it is always the best or most suitable treatment - that will come down to the individual case, and we will discuss that thoroughly with you so you can make an informed decision.
How does it compare to other treatment options?
In terms of efficacy OrthoK has been around for a while now and it is generally accepted that it has the best track record in preventing the shortsightedness from getting worse. Other options such as the MiSight contact lenses as well as the MiyoSmart spectacle lenses are newer solutions and are said to be just as effective - they just simply haven't been around for quite as long.
From a practical aspect, each of those solutions are rather different however, and our recommendations likely come from this standpoint.
To find out more, visit our Myopia Control page to read more about the other solutions.
What are the costs involved for OrthoK?
The cost for the entire process of OrthoK is $1950. This includes all the necessary fitting appointments, the first set of lenses themselves, as well as any necessary changes over the first 6 months.
We understand it is a big decision, which is why we offer you a free assessment as to the suitability of your eyes and your lifestyle for OrthoK. Simply give us a call on (09) 831 0202, or book below.