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What is Ortho-K?

December 18, 2019

Does relying on prescription eyewear frustrate you? Many people who have refractive eye errors find that the novelty of glasses or contact lenses quickly wears off. Popular styles of glasses frames can change quickly, leaving you looking out of place if you don’t keep up. They break easily, are easy to forget and leave behind and some people simply don’t like the way that they make them look. Contacts may eliminate some of these issues, but there are many people who dislike wearing contacts too. They can be costly, fiddly and if you suffer from environmental allergies, impossible to put in during the day when the pollen count is high. Fortunately, there is another option that removes all of the frustrations of conventional prescription eyewear and it is known as Ortho-K.  


What is Ortho-K?


Ortho-K or orthokeratology to give it its proper name, it a new form of non-surgical treatment used to correct refractive eye errors such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism without the need to wear prescription glasses or contact lenses during the day. 

Ortho-K utilizes the concept of contact lenses, but rather than wearing a prescription lens to enable you to see during the day, Orth-K rigid lenses are worn while you sleep and actually help to temporarily reshape the curvature of the cornea so that light is refracted correctly. This enables patients to benefit from crystal clear vision all day long without being reliant on an optical device. 


Is Ortho-K Painful?


Reshaping the cornea sounds like it will be a painful process, but it really isn’t. Ortho-K lenses are designed specifically for your eyes using cutting edge technology that takes the natural curvature of the lens and determines how your eye lens should curve for you to see clearly. It then applies this information to the lens that patients will then wear so that it applies light pressure to your cornea which, alongside your natural tear production, will help to temporarily reshape it so that light is refracted correctly.  

The lenses are worn overnight and should have no effect on your ability to sleep soundly. When you wake up, you should be able to remove the lenses and see clearly without any sort of prescription eyewear for the duration of the day. 


Will I Be Able to See Clearly After Just One Sleep Wearing Ortho-K Lenses?


Unfortunately, Ortho-K won’t fix your eyesight overnight… at least not at first. You may see some improvement after one sleep, but most patients need to wear their lenses every night for around six weeks to see a significant improvement in their vision. Once you reach optimal eyesight, if you continue to wear your lenses, you should be able to retain this level of clarity during the day.


Contact Lenses Aren’t Supposed To Be Worn Overnight, Are They? 


Regular contact lenses aren’t supposed to be worn overnight. However, Ortho-K lenses are created from a high-quality, breathable material that facilitates the flow of oxygen to the eyes so that they don’t dry out and become uncomfortable. 


Why Would Someone Consider Ortho-K?


There are a number of different reasons why a patient would consider Ortho-K rather than relying on conventional prescription eyewear. These include the following:

  • You dislike your appearance when wearing glasses but struggle to wear contact lenses during the day due to allergies like hayfever.

  • You play sports or participate in other activities where it is difficult to wear glasses or contact lenses. 

  • You do not want to undergo laser eye surgery to correct your refractive eye error.

  • You work in a very dusty, dry or smoky environment that makes wearing contacts difficult.

  • You do not want the expense of conventional contact lenses or frames and lenses for eyeglasses.

  • You simply want the freedom to not need prescription eyewear during the daytime.

If you would like to know more about Ortho-K or if you would to find out if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable and experienced eye care team at NVISION Eyecare in Rosedale, Auckland by calling 09-884-0034