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What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology is the next revolution in vision correction. Also known as Ortho-k, it is a non-surgical, reversible procedure which gently reshapes the front layer of your eye with custom-made contact lenses. The lenses are worn while you sleep and correct your vision throughout the night. Upon taking the lenses out in the morning, you will be able to see without any glasses or contact lenses.


Why would you want Ortho-k?

Ortho-k enables clear vision without glasses or contact lenses. Unlike glasses, you will have unobstructed peripheral vision and won’t have to worry about glasses flying off your face while playing sport. Dry eyes will also no longer be a problem if you suffer from contact lens related dry eye. Additionally, you will be able to swim and not have to worry about losing your contact lenses.

Another main benefit of Ortho-k lenses is that it is one of the few ways to slow the changes in your prescription. Recent studies have shown this and from our experience, your prescription is usually stopped in its tracks. Therefore it is very important for children with a changing prescription to begin treatment immediately.


How long does the effect last for?

Throughout the first month, you will need to wear the lenses every night in order to obtain clear vision throughout the day. Depending on your original prescription and also the flexibility of your cornea, you may then slowly reduce wearing the lenses to every second night and maybe even every third night.


Is Ortho-k for everyone?

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for Ortho-k. At this stage, we are only able to perform the procedure on people with small to moderate amounts of short-sightedness (up to -6.00 dioptres) and astigmatism. As technology advances, hopefully we will be able to offer Ortho-k to everyone in the future.


What are the risks of Ortho-k?

Studies have shown that the risks are comparable to or safer than ordinary contact lenses, since they are typically worn for much shorter periods (6–8 hours rather than daytime or 24/7) and while asleep rather than while active. They also compare favourably to surgical correction since no surgery is involved, corrections to the eye’s shape can be handled over time (surgery corrects vision at a single point in time, but post-operative ongoing changes to eyesight will continue to occur during the patient’s lifetime); and it is considered generally safe for younger patients.

Since Ortho-K lenses are worn when the eyes are closed for sleep, so there is no blinking and therefore generally no residual feeling of the lens after the adaptation period. This resulted in a high level of comfort noted by our Ortho-K patients.

As with all contact lenses, it is important to keep maintaining good cleaning and hygiene discipline.


Why haven’t I been offered Ortho-k in the past?

Even though Ortho-k was first invented about 50 years ago, it was not very consistent and is only successful today because of recent advancements in technology. With new specialised equipment, we are now able to obtain very precise measurements of the cornea to individually customise lenses for every patient. The increased precision in the manufacturing of lenses and new lens materials is another factor which enables Ortho-k to be more consistent and healthy for the eyes.

Also, not every optometrist can provide Ortho-k as it requires a special instrument to measure the topography of your eyes and specific expertise to custom design and fit the lenses to your eyes.


How do I get started?

You will need to have a comprehensive eye test so we can assess your vision and health of your eyes. We will then need to take an image of the cornea with a corneal topographer. With this information, we will be able to tell you if you are suitable for Ortho-k or not.

After we have all the required information, we will custom design a pair of lenses and lenses will be made specifically for your eyes. This process can take from one to two weeks depending on the complexity of the lens.

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placing an Orthok lens on a patient finger tip

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