All about Ortho-k: Everything you wanted to know about corneal lens reshaping

Posted 5 years ago


Orthokeratology (or Ortho-k) is ground-breaking technology that treats vision conditions such as myopia (short sightedness) and astigmatism (refractive error) and allows for clear daytime vision without the need for eye surgery.

Safe, non-surgical and entirely reversible, Ortho-K is where custom-made contact lenses are inserted into the eyes at night, and work to gently reshape the cornea, allowing for 20/20 vision in the daytime, with no other glasses or standard contact lenses needed.

The beauty of Ortho-K is it is reversible; just simply stop wearing the lenses and the cornea will revert back to its original shape after a few days. This means that it is easy to keep up with any changing needs, whether that be lifestyle or new prescription.

How long does it last? Do I have to wear the lenses every night?

The effect of Ortho-K is different on everyone; most people can go glasses-free for up to two days before the eyesight starts to revert back to its normal state. For the best vision possible, it is recommended that the Ortho-K lenses are worn every night.

Ok, so can anyone with glasses get Ortho-k?

Most of the common vision conditions can be treated with Ortho-K; this includes myopia (also known as near-sightedness) and it can also correct mild forms of astigmatism, hyperopia and presbyopia. For complex cases, it’s best to speak to one of our Ortho-K optometrists.

How do I know if this will work for me?

Ortho-K works best for those with mild to moderate degree of vision issues. Because the reshaping of the cornea is gentle and completely reversible, there is little risk involved in trying the procedure. Ortho-K is great for athletes who don't want to be encumbered by contacts, or those working in a dry, dusty environment.

Ortho-K is also good for those children and young adults who want to be free of glasses but are too young for laser eye surgery.

What if I’ve already had laser eye surgery, and I need glasses again? Can I have Ortho-K?

In some cases, Ortho-K can be used after laser eye surgery to ‘top-up’ any residual prescription that were not corrected in the surgery, or as an alternative to repeated surgery if your eyesight has gotten worse again. Again, as these sorts of cases are more complex, it is best to speak with one of our Ortho-K optometrists about your case.  

How old does a child need to be to have Ortho-K?

There are no age limits to Ortho-K, but there are a few factors that are important to consider with children. Firstly, it is important that a child is open-minded to Ortho-K and contact lenses. It is perfectly natural for a child to be hesitant, and our Ortho-K optometrists are amazing at putting a child at ease, and gently guiding them through their first experiences with contact lenses. There are practice and sample Ortho-K lenses that our practitioners will use to introduce the concepts and practice with the child, before committing to the treatment. Secondly, the child has to be mature enough to ensure they are being safe and hygienic with the Ortho-K treatment. Often parents will be on hand to help here too. Our Ortho-K optometrists have fitted children as young as 6 years old with Ortho-K.

So you’re saying I’ll have perfect vision with this treatment?

Yes, it is likely that you will be able to achieve the same level of vision that you experience with your glasses or standard contact lenses at present. However, individual vision results depend on the specific condition of your eyes and lifestyle habits, such as sleep patterns.

Allright, so how exactly does this process work?

The front of your eye, called the cornea, will be imaged with a high-tech piece of equipment called a corneal topographer. This only takes a few minutes and produces a highly detailed, 3-D ‘map’ of the surface of your eye. This allows the optometrist to custom-design the Ortho-K lenses for your eyes. The lenses take about a week to manufacture. You’ll then be fitted with your Ortho-K lenses to wear at night - but you may need up to three sets of temporary lenses until you reach the desired prescription level.

So how long until I can see without wearing daytime lenses or glasses?

This depends on several factors - but mainly the strength of your prescription as it currently stands and whether you have astigmatism as well. Those with a relatively minor prescription will experience improvement after one or two days, for others it may take a few weeks or even longer to reach maximum vision correction. Your Ortho-K optometrist will support you in the meantime with interim daily contact lenses while your vision is changing.  

This sounds great, how can I find out more?

Send us an email here, give us a call or click to book in for a free chat with one of our Ortho-K optometrists.


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