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What is Ortho-K (Orthokeratology)?

Are you seeking a solution to myopia (commonly known as nearsightedness or short-sightedness) that doesn't involve glasses or surgery? Look no further!

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore Ortho-K (Orthokeratology), a revolutionary vision correction method that can help manage myopia. Discover how Ortho-K works, its suitability for myopia, potential downsides, and cost. Plus, get answers to the top FAQs about Ortho-K.

What is Ortho-K (Orthokeratology)?

Orthokeratology, often referred to as Ortho-K, is a non-surgical vision correction technique. It involves using specially designed hard contact lenses worn overnight while you sleep. These lenses gently reshape your cornea, providing temporary improvement in vision. Ortho-K offers a safe, reversible option for both children and adults.

How Does Ortho-K Work?

This Ortho-K comprises three key processes:

  1. Corneal Flattening: Ortho-K lenses exert gentle pressure on the cornea's epithelium during overnight wear. This pressure causes corneal cells to shift from the center to the periphery.
  2. Temporary Reshaping: As corneal cells move, the central cornea flattens, altering how light enters the eye and correcting vision issues like myopia.
  3. Vision Correction: Upon waking, you'll experience improved vision, eliminating the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses.

Am I suitable for OrthoK lenses?

Ortho-K is an ideal solution for managing myopia. If you fall into any of these categories, Ortho-K may be a great fit for you:

  1. Myopia (Nearsightedness): Ortho-K is suitable for prescriptions ranging from -1.00 to -6.00 diopters.
  2. Active Lifestyle: Active individuals who find glasses or regular contacts uncomfortable during sports and physical activities can benefit from Ortho-K.
  3. Challenging Work Environments: If you work in dusty conditions or frequently wear masks that fog up glasses, Ortho-K offers convenience.
  4. Avoiding Surgery: If you prefer non-surgical options or are ineligible for refractive surgery, Ortho-K is a viable choice.
  5. Dry Eyes: Ortho-K doesn't require daytime lens wear, reducing the risk of dryness and the need for eye drops.
  6. Pre-LASIK Preparation: Ortho-K serves as an interim solution for those considering LASIK.
  7. Managing Myopia: Ortho-K has shown promise in slowing myopia progression, particularly in children.

What is the Downside of OrthoK?

While Ortho-K provides numerous benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential drawbacks:

  1. Risk of Infection and Vision Loss: Proper hygiene and adherence to optometrist-recommended instructions are crucial to minimize the small risk of infection (approximately 0.001%).
  2. Time and Effort: Initial fittings and follow-up visits are necessary, especially in the first month. Regular check-ups are required thereafter.
  3. Adjustment Period: Some individuals may experience mild eye sensitivity during the initial days, which typically improves within a week.
  4. Non-Immediate Results: The speed of vision improvement varies, with higher prescriptions taking longer to achieve optimal results.
  5. Required Maintenance: Ortho-K lenses must be worn for 6-8 hours nightly.

How much does Ortho-K cost?

Ortho-K is a premium service, and costs vary by region. In Australia, Ortho-K typically ranges from $1,800 to $2,400. Factors influencing pricing include:

  1. Professional Expertise: Experienced optometrists offer comprehensive packages, including follow-up consultations and essential supplies.
  2. Specialised Equipment: Optometrists require specialized diagnostic tools for precise measurements.
  3. Customised Lenses: Ortho-K lenses are tailored to each patient's unique needs, ensuring optimal results.

Top Three FAQs About Ortho-K:

Let's address the most common questions regarding Ortho-K

1. How Long Do the Effects Last?

Ortho-K provides improved vision for 24 to 72 hours after nightly wear. Consistent use is recommended for daily clear vision.

2. How Much Will My Vision Improve?

Most Ortho-K patients achieve 20/20 vision. Studies indicate that 73% achieve perfect vision, while 95% reach 20/40, meeting driving requirements.

3. Can I Have LASIK Surgery After Ortho-K?

Yes, LASIK is still an option after using Ortho-K. Ortho-K's reversibility allows for a smooth transition to LASIK.

How to Get Ortho-K Lenses?

If Ortho-K sounds right for you, here's how to proceed:

  1. Visit your local optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination to determine your Ortho-K suitability.
  2. Ask if your optometrist offers Ortho-K fittings or can refer you to a specialist.
  3. Undergo a corneal 3D scan (topography) for custom Ortho-K lenses.
  4. Make your payment, including follow-up consultations and essential supplies.
  5. Await lens delivery, typically taking two to three weeks.
  6. Learn how to insert, clean, and care for your Ortho-K lenses under your optometrist's guidance.

Ortho-K (Orthokeratology) offers a non-surgical solution for managing myopia and achieving clear vision. If you're ready to experience life without glasses or daytime contacts, consult your optometrist to explore Ortho-K. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section. Thank you for joining us on the journey to better vision. See you in the next one!