What is ortho-k?Benefits of ortho-kWho is suitable?What is involved?Myopia controlSafetyHow much does it cost?
What is ortho-k and how does it work?
Orthokeratology (ortho-k), also known as corneal refractive therapy (CRT), is FDA approved and is now available in New Zealand. It is a safe and reversible alternative to glasses and daytime contacts for myopia (short-sightedness).
A specially designed hard contact lens is worn while you sleep and your tears help re-mould the cornea (the front surface of your eye). Upon waking, the contact lens is removed and you have clear vision lasting throughout the day without the need for additional glasses or contact lenses.
As this procedure is completely reversible, once lens wear has stopped the cornea will return to its original shape.
Benefits of ortho-k
- Clear vision and freedom from glasses and contact lenses during the day
- Completely reversible and no surgery required - Slows down and can even prevent short-sightedness getting worse (for children and teenagers)
- Clear and comfortable vision for sports
Who is suitable?
Those with low to moderate amount of myopia and mild astigmatism are suitable candidates.
Both children and adults are suitable, with no maximum age. Ortho-k is becoming increasingly popular in children and teenagers as they benefit from the effects of myopia control from the ortho-k lenses.
What is involved?
An initial screening is required to check the latest prescription and your eye health to ensure your eyes are healthy and suitable for ortho-k. Using a corneal topographer, we also the curvature of your corneas.
If suitable, an overnight trial will be done and your vision and eyes will be checked the following morning. Most people will notice some improvement to their vision after the first night and the ortho-k effects continue to improve over the next week. Some patients achieve 6/6 (20/20) vision within days, although the effects do vary with individuals. You will continue wearing the ortho-k lenses every night to stabilise the effects of the contact lenses.
After one week, we will monitor the performance of your ortho-k lenses. Depending on the outcome, we may refine the lenses and you will continue to wear the lenses where another review will be done at a later stage.
Regular reviews will be arranged at one month, three months and six months to assess the vision, eye health and the effects of ortho-k.
After wearing the lenses for a couple of months, some patients can also reduce how often they wear their ortho-k lenses to a few nights a week to maintain the effects (this varies with individuals).
Myopia (short sightedness) usually occurs when the eye is too big. Research from overseas and even locally at the University of Auckland, have discovered new options to slow down and even stop the progression of myopia in children and teenagers (myopia control).
Ortho-k lenses are specially designed to focus light clearly on the central retina (back of the eye) allowing you to see clearly, but light in the peripheral retina is out of focus (termed myopic defocus). Researchers believe this is important in myopia control.
Ortho-k has been approved by the FDA in the United States.
Ortho-k lenses are made from a high oxygen breathable material to ensure your eyes remain healthy.
The effects and safety of ortho-k has been investigated internationally and also in New Zealand at the University of Auckland.
As with all contact lens wear, regular check-ups and lens replacement as recommended by your optometrist is important to reduce the risk of infections.
How much does it cost?
Ortho-k is a specialty contact lens service. The fitting fee starts from $1950. This includes a pair of standard ortho-k lenses (valued at $900 a pair) and the remainder consisting of consultation and aftercare visits. A trial option is also available.
If changes need to be made to your lenses, this will be free of charge within the first 6 months.
Contact us for your FREE ortho-k assessment to see if you're suitable.
Ortho-k at Frith and Laird
At Frith and Laird, we are contact lens experts and regularly fit advanced speciality contact lenses. All our optometrists are members of Cornea and Contact Lens Society (CCLS). Robert, our therapeutic optometrist also wears ortho-k himself and is also a member of the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania (OSO). Robert also teaches contact lenses at the University of Auckland.
To learn how to insert and removal your ortho-k lenses, visit Paragon's website