Everything you need to know about Orthokeratology

contact lens

Are you suffering from short-sightedness? Worried about worsening vision? Frustrated by wearing glasses or contacts? Wouldn’t it be great if you could correct your sight, without having to undergo surgery? With orthokeratology you can! In this post, we cover everything you need to know about orthokeratology. 

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology (also known as ortho k), is a non-surgical treatment used to correct progressive myopia. Orthokeratology involves wearing custom made gas permeable contact lenses at night, while you sleep.  

Ortho k lenses are different to regular contact lenses, they use fluid surface tension to gently “pull” and reshape your cornea while you sleep. When you wake up, you can see clearly all day, without having to wear glasses or contact lenses. The effect of the lenses starts wearing off after a day or two, so we recommend wearing your ortho k lenses every night for best results. 

Is Ortho k suitable for me?

Orthokeratology can help slow down or even stop the progression of myopia (short-sightedness). It can also help treat astigmatism where myopia is also present.

Ortho k lenses are suitable for people of all ages and are especially suitable for children and teenagers with worsening vision. At Custom EyeCare we have successfully treated children as young as six with orthokeratology. 

When will I notice improvements in my vision? 

Some people notice improvements in their vision after a day or two of wearing ortho k lenses. For higher prescriptions, it could take 2 weeks or even longer for the full effect to kick in. 

Orthokeratology pros and cons 

Pros:

  • Non-surgical treatment. It has reduced costs and risk of complications
  • Fully reversible and you can discontinue wearing the lenses at any time
  • Safe for children and people who are not suitable for LASIK

Cons:

  • If you haven’t worn contact lenses before, it may take some time to adapt to the sensation of ortho k lenses 
  • Until you eyes are fully corrected, you may experience temporary blurred vision, glare and halos around lights
  • Poor hygiene and incorrect care of ortho k lenses and solutions can increase the risk of eye infections and corneal ulcers

How to remove ortho k lenses

Ortho k lenses can be removed manually or with a small suction plunger. 

Manual removal:

  1. Using your middle fingers, open your eyelids and apply pressure
  2. Move your eyelids together, under the lens and pop it out of the eye

Suction plunger removal:

  1. Using your middle fingers, open your eyelids
  2. Place the suction tool between your index finger and thumb
  3. Align the suction cup so it is in front of the eye, slightly below centre
  4. When the suction cup touches the lens, apply gentle pressure so it sticks and with an upward tilting motion, remove from your eye
  5. After you have removed the lens, carefully slide the lens sideways so it comes off the suction cup

Ortho k prescription range 

We can treat myopia up to around -4.50 dioptres with ortho k. Higher prescriptions can be partially treated, but “top-up” glasses are likely to be needed for sharp vision.

How long do ortho k lenses last? 

We recommend replacing ortho k lenses every 12-18 months, depending on their condition. Sometimes, with excellent cleaning and care, they can last longer than this. You should bring your lenses to each 6 month check up appointment so our optometrists can examine them under the microscope.   

How much are ortho k lenses? 

Costs for ortho k lenses can vary, depending on the type and degree of your refractive error. 

There are additional costs for replacement lenses, lens care solutions and follow-up exams. Find out about orthokeratology fees here. 

Orthokeratology is a highly specialised treatment. As such, not every optometrist is qualified to custom make and fit ortho k lenses. If you think orthokeratology might be an option for you or your child, talk to the experts at Custom EyeCare. You can find out more about ortho k lenses Newcastle by following the link.