How It Works
Ortho-k are specially designed lenses that your child wears at night while they sleep. At night, while they are sleeping, the lens will gently reshape their cornea. When they wake up, they can take off the lenses and have clear vision throughout the day without having glasses or contact lenses.
Who Can Use Ortho-k
- Mild to moderate short sighted children and adults (up to 4.5 dioptres) with or without mild to moderate astigmatism
- Children whose myopia keeps getting worse
- Allergy sufferers who find soft lenses uncomfortable
- Dry eye sufferers or soft lens wearers who find contact lenses uncomfortable towards the end of the day
- Myopic children who play sports and swim
- Myopic children who would like to be glasses free but cannot afford or are worried about the risks of refractive surgery
- Myopic children whose eyes are still developing and therefore are not candidates for LASIK eye surgery.
- Myopic children and adults who won’t wear their glasses and have been told that their eyes will get worse if they don’t wear their glasses
- Myopic children who continually lose or damage their glasses.
It’s Not New! It’s Been Around Since The 1960’s
Our optometrists are frequently asked why they were never offered ortho-k has a treatment option for myopia and whether this is a new service. The reality is that ortho-k has been around since the 1960’s when Dr. George Jenssen serendipitously found that a particular design corrected low levels of myopia.
Ortho-k was approved in 2003 by FDA for overnight wear. Extensive studies since 2005 have provided concrete evidence that ortho-k certainly does provide myopia control. As a result, Ortho-k is the preferred option for myopia control by our optometrists.
How Does Ortho-k Help With Myopia?
The increasing prevalance of myopia is worrying for many reasons. We think that one of the reasons that myopia gets worse is because of lack of visual stimulation on the peripheral retina. Spectacle lenses and contact lenses makes the central retina clear but keeps the peripheral retina blurry. This causes the eyeball to keep growing bigger which in turns makes the myopic prescription worse.
Let’s be honest, our optometrists hate seeing our kids get worse in their prescription. They really do. It’s just as frustrating for them to see kids get worse at every eye exam and have to give them stronger glasses. Although Australia is not as short-sighted as our Asian countries, we are sadly catching up.
Ortho-k Can Slow Down Myopia. It’s A Fact.
The lower the myopic prescription the quicker Ortho-k works. For -1.00 to -2.00, children wake up in and see clearly after just a couple of days of wearing them. Clinically, our optometrists have observed many children since 2004 who have not progressed in their prescription as they become young adults. An amazing result just from wearing Ortho-k lenses. A typical example would be a 12 year old who was -2.00 and as a 22 year old is still the same prescription instead of something like -4.00.
If you stop wearing Ortho-k lenses when you are older, the myopia may get worse again, but it seems to be generally at a much slower rate as an adult than when you are a child.
Ortho-k Is Not Like Braces But It’s A Little Like Braces
Sometimes the analogy is used that ‘Ortho-k is like braces for the teeth’. The lenses do change the shape of the front of the eye. However, you need to recall that Ortho-k is a reversible procedure and comfortable. Whereas braces are cause permanent change and is uncomfortable.
Ortho-k Is Not Like Tight Shoes!
Ortho-k doesn’t stop the eyes from growing because its tight on the eyes. It’s actually not tight at all. The lens is, what we call, “reverse geometry” design. The tear film causes positive and negative pressure between the lens and the cornea. This causes the epithelial cells to migrate to a certain shape the molds to the lens sitting on the eye.
The Risks Involved With Ortho-k
Any treatment you undertake are not without risks. Ortho-k risks are no different to wearing extended wear contact lenses. You can minimise this when you follow a good cleaning and hygiene system. There is a complete guideline that is provided by our optometrist to ensure safe usage of the lenses.
Final Word On The Benefits
- No breaking or losing glasses or contact lenses
- Less worries for the child which can lead to a more positive attitude about their vision
- Reversible procedure
- May Slow down the progression of myopia (the big benefit!!!)