Ortho-K (Orthokeratology)- Optometrist Hurstville

Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is the temporary reshaping of the cornea using specifically fitted and engineered contacts to enhance eyesight. Most orthokeratology lenses are used at night to remold the shape of the eye’s front surface while you sleep. The improvements are, however,  reversible but may be sustained if the lenses are used as prescribed.

What is the origin of Ortho-K?

It is reported that Chinese troops discovered orthokeratology while sleeping with sandbags over their eyes. When they awoke, they realized they had better distance

It wasn’t until 1962 that George Jessen, known as the “Father of Orthokeratology,” disclosed a method known as “autofocus”, in which he managed a change of refraction in the cornea of up to -1.00. It lasted a few hours before the individual would recoup and need their glasses again. It was one of the initial steps toward the science of orthokeratology.

The FDA in the United States approved orthokeratology lenses for daily daytime usage in 1994. At the time, the prescriptions treated were conservatively up to -2.00 of myopia. The invention has since progressed along with technology.

What does Ortho-K treat?

Ortho-k was first developed to help individuals with nearsightedness. Other forms of refractive defects, such as farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia, may now be treated with new ortho-k lens designs:

  • Near-sightedness occurs when items look clear up close but hazy from a distance. It occurs when your eyeball becomes too lengthy. As a result, light rays entering the eye do not come into sharp focus.
  • Farsightedness is the ability to perceive far things clearly while seeing close items fuzzy. When the eyeball is too short, the problem arises. Consequently, light is focused behind the retina rather than directly on it.
  • Astigmatism is a refractive defect produced by an uneven curvature of the cornea or lens of the eye. Light rays do not bend appropriately due to irregular curvature. Consequently, your eyesight for close and far things blurs or gets distorted.

How does Ortho K function?

Ortho-k lenses are intended to float on top of the tear film in the eye and deliver mild water-based (hydraulic) pressure to the epithelium, the front layer of the cornea.

The hydraulic pressure induces epithelial cells to migrate from the centre of the cornea to the periphery. Because of the migration of corneal cells, the cornea is temporarily reshaped, and the refractive defect is corrected.Ortho-k contact lenses gradually rearrange the eye’s focus, improving vision and slowing the growth of myopia.

What are the advantages of Ortho-K?

  • In the first two weeks, ortho-k may decrease myopia by -4.00D. Successful users’ vision is frequently preserved throughout the day once the lens is removed.
  • Those who detest wearing glasses or contact lenses during the day or who indulge in sports may find wearing them at night more convenient. Dry eyes, for example, may be prevented by using contact lenses throughout the day.
  • It is a reversible operation, and ocular parameters usually revert to normal within a few weeks.

What are the disadvantages of Ortho-K?

  • Wearers must rigorously adhere to the directions provided by the optometrist; failure to do so may result in corneal infection and probable vision loss. These issues may be avoided by following correct directions and lens use.
  • Parents and wearers must first devote extra time to ortho-k lens fitting and follow-ups. Even if no adverse events occur, frequent aftercare visits (3-6 monthly) are still required to maintain eye health.
  • Myopia cannot be cured with ortho-k. The myopia reduction effect will progressively fade when lens usage is discontinued.

Which demographics best suit Ortho-K?

Ortho-K lenses are appropriate for persons who are nearsighted to farsighted and who:

  • Want unrestrained eyesight all day
  • Soft contact lenses do not give the necessary comfort for their lifestyle.
  • Participate in leisure activities when contact lens usage is inconvenient. Have pondered refractive surgery but are worried about the dangers.

What are alternatives to Ortho-K?

  1. MiSight– The first FDA-approved contact lenses for reducing myopia development in children, MiSight lenses. Children as young as eight years old might be given these soft, disposable lenses. The lenses are used throughout the day and then removed at night.
  2. Atropine eyedrops: Although atropine is an FDA-approved therapy for lazy eyes, physicians may give it “off label” for an unapproved ailment such as myopia if they believe it would assist.
  3. Contact lenses with several prescriptions: Multifocal soft contact lenses integrate numerous medications into a single lens to enhance close, mid, and distant vision.

How long does it take to get results with Ortho-K?

Though you may see some improvement in your eyesight after a day or two of nocturnal Ortho-K, the full impact may take many weeks. During this period, your vision will be less clear than it was with glasses or contacts, and you may see glare and halos around lights.

Is Ortho-K reversible?

If you decide to discontinue therapy, orthokeratology is reversible. After a few nights of not wearing the lenses, your corneas will gradually return to their standard form.