Introduction to Orthokeratology
A refractive error occurs when images do not fall properly on the back of the eye (retina). Refractive errors are usually corrected by using spectacles or contact lenses or by having a surgical procedure such as laser eye surgery.
Orthokeratology or Ortho-K is a non-surgical procedure that eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day. With Ortho-K you wear specially designed lenses at night while sleeping. These back surface of these lenses gently change the shape of your eye so that you can see clearly, with your natural vision, during the day. These lenses are made from materials which allow for oxygen transfer.
This safe and effective technique is mainly used to correct shortsightedness (myopia), long sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism and presbyopia (blurred near vision). It is an alternative to laser eye surgery (LASIK/LASEK/PRK) for those who don’t want a permanent solution.
To make an Ortho-K lens we first map the surface of your eye, using an instrument called a corneal topographer. At Southern Eyecare we have a corneal topographer on site. We then exam your eyes thoroughly to check for suitability. We'll also teach you how to best care for your lenses as well as insertion and removal of your lenses.
Ortho-K is a safe and reversible procedure. The Ortho-K lenses we use are approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration).These lenses are made of materials that have high oxygen permeability that allow your eyes to breathe overnight while you sleep which maintains eye health. This material is different from contact lenses you would normally wear during the day. Contact lens users have a slightly higher rate of eye infetions. This statement is also true for Ortho-K users. As with any procedure, attending all follow-up care appointments, following instructions of your Optometrist and proper caring for your lenses will drastically reduce these risks.
Due to it's reversible nature, Ortho-K is suitable for many people. These include:
People who want to be glasses free but are too young to have laser eye surgery
People who live an active lifestyle and do not want the inconvenience of glasses or contact lenses - e.g. when participating in sports
People interested in LASIK/LASEK/PRK but don't want to undergo surgery
Children whose myopia (shortsightedness) is getting progressively worse
People who have refractive error, myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia
The number of children who are becoming myopic has grown rapidly over the last 25 years. The Center For Disease Control in the United States has estimated that by 2020 50% of the world’s population will have myopia. The results also indicates that Ortho-K has been proven to be an effective option for controlling myopia progression.
Myopia control is important because the higher the degree of myopia the greater the risk of sight threatening conditions such as retinal detachment or glaucoma.
The younger a child is when they first exhibit myopia the more likely that they will progress to high levels of myopia.