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What is orthokeratology?

The cornea of our eye can lose its shape, in order to reshape this we can use fitted contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea in order to improve vision. Orthokeratology or also known as ortho-k is the use of these specially designed contact lenses. Orthokeratology is almost like orthodontics but for your eyes, the treatment is similar to dental braces. Usually, ortho-k lenses are worn during the night in order to reshape the front surface of the eye. With regular usage, there can be vision improvements. This technique is used with the usage of hard lenses that you wear overnight to correct your vision, the lenses are custom-made with your prescription, and the correction of the cornea allows users to see near enough to 20/20 vision in the morning when they are removed. This is a non-surgical procedure, in a short period of time, the central portion of the lens starts to your cornea so that it takes the same shape. When your cornea is flattened, your prescription is cut down during the daytime without the use of your glasses or contact lenses. Orthokeratology is safe to use, gentle on the eyes and is a cheaper alternative to LASIK. Ortho-k is also a primary proven method to slow myopia progression, and slow down near-sightedness in children.

You may be wondering if ortho-K really works, the simple answer is yes. This method is particularly useful for children as they cannot undergo LASIK surgery, and also because it slows down the progression of myopia. If used correctly and regularly, orthokeratology is an effective method to get rid of glasses and contact lenses that are used during the day. Orthokeratology lasts the day and gives 20/20 vision, and must be used regularly in order to maintain the adjusted shape of the cornea for ultimate results.

How orthokeratology works:

Our cornea is a clear and dome-shaped window that is in front of our eye which focuses light into the retina and controls the eye’s ability to focus, the tissues in our cornea are very flexible. Once you get a consultation for orthokeratology, your ophthalmologist measures your cornea using a topographer, these details are used in order to design a lens which is made specifically for your eye. A map of your cornea is created by the reflection of light on the surface of your eye. This process is completely pain-free as the machine which is used does not come in contact with your eye. This process allows your ophthalmologist to see the exact shape and curves of your cornea. The lenses which are used overnight work by flattening out the centre of the cornea, it adjusts the way light is bent as it beams through the eye. These lenses are quite stiff and hard, enough so that they can reshape your cornea but has no issues regarding allowing oxygen to flow through your eyes during the night. These lenses must be removed in the morning, leaving users with 20/20 vision, the cornea stays flat for the day which means that the vision is corrected without the usage of day lenses or glasses. Although this is an easy method to improve your eyesight without surgery, consistency is key; once your stop wearing your lenses during the night the shape of your cornea will eventually return to its original shape, users are advised to wear these lenses regularly to ensure the correction is kept.

The only disadvantage of ortho-k is that there is a small risk of an infection, however, this can be easily avoided with the attention that is paid to hygiene when taking the lenses out and putting them back into your eyes every night and day. Making sure to use clean contact cases, and clean hands are important in order to make sure that there are no risks of an infection.

How much does orthokeratology cost?

The price of the orthokeratology process can vary depending on the situation of your cornea. This method is cheaper than getting laser eye surgery and has fewer risks. The cost of ortho-k can be anywhere between $1000 to $400 per year, there is also the cost of follow-up checks and care for the lenses which would cost you anything between $300 to $500 a year.