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Is Orthokeratology Safe and Effective?

With today’s modern science and extensive use of top-of-the-line medical apparatus, there are many ways to revive impaired eyesight. Orthokeratology is one method of restoring normal vision. What exactly is this? Who are the patients who undergo this procedure?

Definition

Orthokeratology is more commonly known as Ortho-K. The main principle of this process is to fix the shape of the cornea. That way, the retina would be able to interpret light properly so that vision could be repaired.

This may sound too clinical but it is actually a non-surgical procedure. What happens is that when physicians prescribe this procedure to patients, they are asked to wear specially-designed contact lenses which should reshape the eye’s curvature.

Process

Patients are requested to undergo several tests which determine the exact needs. That way, the right lenses which have the perfect fit will be given. Orthokeratology does not take much effort from the patient. The contact lenses have to be worn before going to bed and this stays on during sleep. During sleep hours, the surface of the eyes is gradually adjusted. When the patient wakes up in the morning, the contact lenses have to be removed. The eye’s surface retains the shape which matches the lenses. Hence, vision during the day is much better and wearing glasses or corrective lenses will no longer be necessary.

Patient Qualification

It has to be understood that Orthokeratology is not recommended for all individuals who have vision impairment. The procedure might not work as effectively to some people.

The eye structure of the patient determines whether he/she is fit for Orthokeratology. If the corneal curves are too steep or too flat, wearing the designed contact lenses overnight might not work. It is because the right shape still would not be achieved.

The lifestyle of the individual is also a factor to consider when it comes to qualifying patients. Those who are subjected to work environment which makes it difficult to wear glasses or contact lenses can be considered for this. For example, athletes have difficult time wearing glasses or contact lenses because of their intense physical activities. The same challenge is faced by those who work in construction sites too because of the dusty atmosphere.

Advantages

For individuals who are hesitant to undergo invasive eye procedures like laser treatment, Orthokeratology can be a good option. It has to be noted though that the adjustment is not permanent. Once the lenses are removed in the morning, the curvature would slowly return to its normal shape again. The plus side is that, when the lenses are worn regularly over a long period of time, it would be easier for the eye’s surface to maintain the right shape. There will come a point when the lenses should only be worn every other night.

Orthokeratology can be good for children with nearsightedness too. The lenses do not involve careful maintenance but it is important to teach the kids how to properly put the lenses on. Ideally, the parents should still guide them when wearing the lenses.

Book an appointment now by calling us on (02) 9290 1899 or fill in the form at the top right to make an appointment online.

About the Author

Dr Jim Kokkinakis (Optometrist) graduated in 1983 from the Optometry School University of NSW. He is currently a Senior Lecturer there and regular speaker to both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Australia and Internationally. He has a specialist clinical practice in the Sydney CBD with interests in Eye Strain, Computer Vision problems, Treatment of Eye Diseases and complex Contact lens Fittings.

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