If you suffer from short-sightedness (myopia), until now you’ve probably had to choose between glasses or contacts for your treatment. Each choice has its own pros and cons to weigh up. But there’s another option available that corrects your vision while you sleep- leaving you free of glasses and contacts during the day. It’s called Ortho-K.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, uses special contact lenses to gently re-shape the cornea (the front of your eye) while you sleep. The lenses are put in before you go to bed and removed when you wake up. It’s welcome news for people who play contact sports, or who struggle with irritation associated with regular contact lenses.
The treatment works well on mild to moderate myopia, and there are particular benefits for kids and teenagers whose short-sightedness is still progressing: In clinical trials, Ortho-K has been shown to slow and even stop the progression of shortsightedness.
The re-shaping is a gradual process: In most people, 70% of the re-shaping happens in the first night, and full vision correction is achieved within 10 nights. You may like to wear disposable lenses for the first few days until your vision is adequately corrected. The results aren’t permanent- you can just stop wearing the Ortho-K lenses, and your eyes will return to their previous state.
First we’ll do a detailed examination of your eyes, to assess their condition, map the surface, and make sure they’re suitable for Ortho-K. Ordering the lenses will take 1-2 weeks. When they arrive we’ll show you in detail how to insert, remove and care for the Ortho-K lenses. You’ll wear them overnight and come back in the morning to have your eyes assessed and we can make any adjustments to the lenses. You’ll need to come back at 1 week, 1 month and 3 months to check on the progress. After that it’s just regular 6-monthly checkups.
Is it safe?
The risks from Ortho-K are similar to those involved with traditional soft contacts. When the instructions are followed, clean lenses used and regular checkups made, the risks of adverse effects are very low.
What about the cost?
Over the long term, the cost of Ortho-K is comparable to using regular contacts and glasses. The treatment program costs $1399, which includes the first set of lenses, all fitting, check-ups and adjustments for the first six months. You’ll need a routine check-up every 6 months, and a new set of lenses every 12-18 months, at a cost of $699. Health care card holders and pensioners are entitled to concessions and private health rebates are also available.
Ortho-K involves specialised equipment and training, so not all optometrists offer the therapy. But at Insight Optometrists we’re able to offer it to all patients who could benefit. Contact us with any questions, and to see if Ortho-K could work for you.