Ortho – what? Orthokeratology is a nonsurgical procedure used to correct the refractive error of the eyes. You sleep with a specially designed Orthokeratology lens every night to reshape your eyes’ cornea (front surface of the eye). In the mornings when you wake up, the lens is removed, and you have regular, clear sight for the rest of the day. At night, just before bedtime, the lens is inserted into the eye again to maintain the shape for the next day.
For most people, this sounds a bit far fetched, but believe me, it works. I have corrected my wife’s vision, she was a –4.00D myope, for the past 11 years using Orthokeratology lenses. Unfortunately, only about 5% of the world’s Optometrists offer Orthokeratology as a procedure in their practices, thus most people are blissfully unaware of this correction method. If you Google the words Orthokeratology, Ortho-K, OrthoK, OK, CRT, Corneal Refractive Therapy, you will find a surprisingly high amount of websites providing information about Ortho-K, yet somehow it still manages to fly under the radar of most spectacle wearing people.
Orthokeratology received its FDA safety approval in 2002 for the correction of Myopia up to –4.00D. Since then many manufacturers of Gas Permeable contact lenses have pushed the boundaries of what is possible to correct with Ortho-K lenses. With current technology, Orthokeratology can correct Myopia up to –10.00D, Hyperopia up to +5.00D and Astigmatism. Even multifocal designs that provide similar vision to that of soft multifocal contact lenses. Also for people who had LASIK refractive surgery done, but still can not see too well, patented Post-LASIK Orthokeratology lens are available. With this lens, it is possible to rehabilitate most post-LASIK corneas by smoothing out the uneven LASIK treatment zone and then correcting the remaining refractive error to help improve the overall visual acuity of the patient.
For parents with young children, Ortho-K provides an exciting alternative for vision correction. The child only deals with the lens at home where parents can keep a supervisory eye. During the day at school, on the playgrounds and during sport, the child doesn’t have to worry about spectacles or contact lenses in the eye. Orthokeratology is ideal for young people who play contact sports, swim, surf, and kitesurfing.
Another exciting prospect is Myopia control. More and more research is showing that children who wear Orthokeratology lenses develop less Myopia than children wearing regular glasses or contact lenses. At the moment many research studies, are underway to understand this phenomenon better. Hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to custom design a particular pair of Ortho-K lenses to completely halt the progression of Myopia in your child’s eye.
So remember the name, Ortho-kera-tology, it means the science to straighten the cornea. But for most of the children in our practice, it means freedom for your eyes.