Orthokeratology or OrthoK is a non-surgical procedure that eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day. With OrthoK you wear specially designed lenses at night while sleeping. These lenses gently change the shape of your eye so that you can see clearly, with your natural vision, during the day.
This safe and effective technique is mainly used to correct short–sightedness (myopia), long – sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism and presbyopia (blurred near vision). It is an alternative to LASIK for those who don’t want surgery.
How does it work?
When a person cannot see clearly it may be because the eye is too long, too short or the surface of the eye is out of shape so that images do not focus on the back of the eye (the retina). Normally we fix this by refocussing images with spectacles or contact lenses. With OrthoK we refocus images by changing the shape of the front surface of the eye.
To make an OrthoK lens we first map the surface of your eye, using a high tech instrument known as a topographer. Your eye care practitioner uses this information along with your prescription to design a customised lens for YOUR eye and its unique vision problems.
OrthoK lenses are manufactured on a high-speed computer assisted lathe. They are made of materials that have high oxygen permeability that allow your eyes to ‘breathe’ overnight while you sleep, maintaining eye health. The back surface of the lens has a number of specialised curves that move the tear film under your lens and reshape the front surface of your eye while you sleep. The result after waking and removing your lenses is clear, sharp vision.
Is it safe?
OrthoK is a safe and reversible procedure. It was approved by the United States of America Food and Drug Administration in 2002. The Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration includes OrthoK lenses.
All contact lens wear has a small risk of serious eye infections and so does OrthoK lens wear. Typically, infections can be treated by your eye care practitioner. The risk of infection can be greatly reduced by following your cleaning and lens care instructions meticulously, only wearing the OrthoK lenses as prescribed by your optometrist and attending the necessary follow up visits.