Orthokeratology or Ortho-K is one of our practice’s speciality interests. Our slogan, “No Specs, No Contact Lenses, No Kidding”, says it all.
Ortho-K is an alternative to wearing spectacles or contact lenses as well as a safe alternative to LASIK. It also boasts in being the singular most effective tool for myopia control. The need for some type of myopia control came from the fact that many more children need specs than a generation ago. This has come about from increased exposure to near tasks, such as using computers and phones and playing games. It is predicted that half the world’s population will be myopic, or near-sighted, by 2050. It currently stands at 23% of the world population!
[Sources: Global Prevalence of Myopia & High Myopia, Temporal Trends from 2000 through to 2050; Brien Holden et al.]
So how does it work? An overnight lens is designed to push down onto the central part of the cornea, effectively making the eye shorter from front to back. A shorter eye is less myopic or short-sighted, so the greater the push, the greater the result. The effect only lasts for one day, so one needs to sleep with the lens every night for consistent results. This means that the procedure is reversible and, therefore, safe.
Ortho-K is also great for patients who cannot tolerate contact lenses due to a dry eye as well as for patients with occupational limitations (for example, firefighting). Because a lens is not worn during waking hours, the negative effects of a contact lens are eliminated.
With the help of a Corneal Topographer (see Advanced Technology section), a map of the cornea is captured and then a virtual lens is designed with the software. The lenses are then worn overnight and follow up topographies show the changes.
Corneal topography maps showing before and after Ortho-K lenses were worn. The second pic was taken after two weeks of wear. Treatment can take slightly longer depending on the prescription. Generally under -4.00 reaches full correction in less than two weeks.
The successful candidates we have treated with Ortho-K since its inception in 2003, have come from all walks of life and for many reasons, not just myopia control and dry eyes. Many love the freedom that Ortho-K offers. It is ideal for people who swim regularly, as well as for travellers. The lenses last 2 years so there’s no need to collect stock every 3 to 6 months.
Some more Ortho-K examples. The last two were taken only after 20 minutes wear.