Orthokeratology : Correct your vision while you sleep

Did you know that it’s possible correct your eyesight and reduce your reliance on glasses or contact lenses without having to have eye surgery? How you ask? Orthokeratology.

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology, or “Ortho-K”, is one of the most recent developments in vision correction, and in preventing the progression of myopia (short-sightedness).

It is a non-surgical procedure that involves a specially designed gas permeable contact lens, which is worn overnight to correct vision. While you are sleeping, these lenses gently reshape your cornea so that after the lens is removed the following morning, your vision is clear without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Who is suitable for it?

Ortho-K works best for people with mild to moderate myopia (short sightedness). However, it can be used successfully to treat people with mild to moderate myopia and hyperopia, (short and long-sightedness, with or without mild astigmatism).

Research has shown that Ortho-K has been proven to slow the progression and even stop childhood myopia, which makes children, and young adults who want to be free of contacts or glasses both excellent candidates for Ortho-K.

Ortho-K is also suitable for those who participate in contact sports or who can’t wear contacts due to dusty environments or dry eyes, and those who are interested in LASIK but aren’t ready for surgery.

Ortho-K in myopic (short-sighted) children?

Ortho-K is an excellent option to consider for children, and is highly recommended for myopic (short-sighted) children (or adults) whose prescriptions seem to be constantly increasing. The results of recent scientific studies have shown that Ortho-K is one of the best options for controlling myopia progression.

Myopia control is important because there is a higher risk of developing sight threatening diseases like retinal detachments and glaucoma, when you are more myopic. The number of children who are becoming myopic has grown rapidly over the last 25 years, and the younger a child is when they first develop myopia, the more likely that they will progress to high myopia. Trying to slow down the progression of their myopia is vital in reducing their risks of developing future eye diseases.

How does it work?

When a person experiences blurry vision, images are not focussed on the back of the eye (the retina), which may be due to the eyeball being too long, too short, or the front surface of the eye (the cornea) being out of shape. To refocus the images and correct this, we usually use spectacles and contact lenses. Ortho-K refocuses the images by re-shaping the cornea.

To make an Ortho-K lens, a contour map of your cornea is taken with a high tech imaging instrument called a topographer. Trial contact lenses may also be fitted to get more information about your cornea shape. This information and your prescription are sent to our labs, where they design a customised lens for your eyes. The back of the lens is specially shaped to mould the cornea overnight, so that you can wake with clear vision, free from glasses or contact lenses.

Ortho-K can be thought of as similar to dental braces for the eyes, where braces corrects and straightens teeth, Ortho-K remoulds the front of the eye and corrects vision. The main difference however, is that after some months with braces, the teeth will usually stay straight. The cornea is much more elastic, meaning the effect is temporary, and it will always return to its original shape once you stop wearing the lenses. As such, it is recommended that you wear them every night to every second night, to maintain correction.

What are the side-effects or risks?

Ortho-K is safe and reversible. The material of the lenses prescribed is high in oxygen permeability, which means they allow your eyes to breathe over-night and maintain eye health.

As with all contact lens wear, there is a small risk of adverse side effects and serious eye infections. However, the risk can be greatly reduced if you follow the cleaning and lens care instructions properly, only use the lenses as prescribed, and attend all the required follow up visits.

In young children, parents are advised to supervise them as they insert, remove and care for their lenses.

Because the corneal reshaping effect is only temporary and you can choose at any time to discontinue using the overnight lens. Of course, once your myopia returns you will need to address the issue by again wearing glasses or contacts.

We are proud members of Orthokeratology Society of Oceania, and our optometrists are certified to fit Ortho-K, with our practice being equipped with the gold standard in corneal imaging instrumentation.

Contact us at In Focus Eyecare today and find out if Ortho-K is the right solution for you, and correct your vision while you sleep!