Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, or Corneal Reshaping Therapy (CRT), is a non-surgical, reversible vision correction method that uses specialized rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye.
This reshaping of the cornea can help improve your vision, reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or regular contact lenses. Ortho-K lenses are worn overnight while you sleep, and removed during the day.
Ortho-K lenses gently flatten the cornea's curvature, which temporarily corrects short-sightedness (myopia) and mild astigmatism. These lenses work by redistributing the cornea's outermost cells to achieve this temporary reshaping. The effect is not permanent and requires ongoing nightly lens wear to maintain clear vision.
At Cassidy Eyecare, we design ortho-K lenses using data from a corneal topographer. This precision instrument takes a series of scans of the front of the eye, and creates a 3D map of the cornea. This allows us to create highly customised lenses to correct vision.
Benefits of OrthoK:
- Improved Vision: Ortho-K can provide clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses.
- Non-Surgical: Unlike laser eye surgery, Ortho-K is a non-surgical and reversible method of vision correction.
- Great for Active Lifestyles: It's particularly useful for athletes or individuals with active lifestyles who may find glasses or regular contact lenses inconvenient.
- Myopia Control: Ortho-K is an effective way to slow the progression of myopia in children and young adults.
Risks and Considerations:
While Ortho-K offers several benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and considerations associated with this treatment:
- Discomfort: Some patients may experience discomfort and a foreign body sensation when wearing Ortho-K lenses, especially during the initial adjustment period. This typically improves with time as your eyes adapt to the lenses.
- Visual Changes: Ortho-K may not provide the same level of vision correction for everyone, and results can vary. In some cases, vision may not be as clear or stable as with glasses or conventional contact lenses.
- Risk of Infection: Proper hygiene and lens care are crucial when using Ortho-K lenses. Failing to maintain clean lenses and good hygiene practices can increase the risk of eye infections.
- Lens Handling: Learning how to handle Ortho-K lenses correctly is essential to prevent damage to the lenses or your eyes. It can take a bit of practice.
What to Expect:
Fitting orthokeratology lenses takes several visits, so we'll be seeing a lot of each other. It normally takes a week or so for the full effect of the reshaping lenses to kick in. In most cases you will need to wear the lenses every night to maintain good daytime vision.
Wearing lenses overnight does come with some risks, the most serious of which is microbial infection (incidence ~7.7 cases per 10 000 patient years). Good hygiene and careful cleaning and handling of the lenses help to minimise these risks, and orthokeratology is generally regarded as a safe form of vision correction and myopia control.
Particularly for children, learning to put a lens in your eye can be scary. As with all contact lenses, patient motivation is important.
Fitting orthokeratology lenses takes time, skill, and specialized equipment. The lenses themselves are highly customised, and produced on computer-controlled lathes. It should be unsurprising, then, that ortho-K can be more expensive than standard spectacles or contact lenses. Our fees are below:
New Fit: $1950 (includes lenses, initial supply of lens care products, and first 6 months of appointments)
Replacement Lenses: $490 to $560 each
Annual or 6 Month Check: $165
Is Ortho-K Right for You?
Ortho-K is a very effective method of myopia control, and has the benefit of providing good vision without needing glasses or contact lenses during the day.
The ability to handle and clean the lenses properly is very important for successful ortho-K wear, so it’s not suitable for very young children, or those with poor dexterity. Like all forms of contact lens wear, it requires a patient to be motivated to succeed.
At Cassidy Eyecare, we highly recommend orthokeratology for people wanting excellent myopia control, and/or daytime freedom from glasses.