Myopathy is reaching alarming numbers across Australia. While it is easy to assign blame for the near-epidemic numbers, E Eye Place prefers a more compassionate and active approach to myopia control.
One of our highly successful treatments for short-sightedness is orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K. This non-surgical treatment controls myopathy by gradually reshaping the eyes’ surface while you sleep. The treatment has an excellent record of success and makes it possible for patients to go through their day without lenses of any sort. You have likely heard of orthokeratology lenses by other names, including:
VST (vision shaping treatment)
We find a great deal of interest in Ortho-K, and understandably, patients have many questions about the treatment.
Who can have orthokeratology treatments?
Children are excellent candidates for Ortho-K, and there is a well-documented success rate in children under the age of 14. Adults also benefit from using the orthokeratology lens. Ortho-K is an excellent option for adults who spend time in environments that make wearing daytime contact lenses uncomfortable. These include smoky and dusty work sites, air conditioning, areas with allergens, and high exposure to computer screens. Additionally, Ortho-K lenses also benefit adults who want to avoid laser eye surgery or those waiting on their prescription to stabilise before laser surgery.
What prescriptions respond well to Ortho-K?
While Ortho-K is a well-known way to control myopia, it is a suitable treatment for astigmatism, hyperopia, and presbyopia. Ortho-K typically works best for prescriptions between -1.00 and -6.00 when used to correct myopia. However, higher corrections are sometimes possible.
Who can wear Ortho-K lenses?
There are no definite age perimeters for Ortho-K lens treatment. Younger children benefit the most from Ortho-K treatment because it can slow the progression of eye disease. An Ortho-K eye assessment is the best way to find out if you are a good candidate for the treatment.
Is Ortho-K safe, and what are the risks?
All lenses have a slight element of risk, including Ortho-K. The most common is infection. The microbial infection rate for Ortho-K wearers is approximately 7 in 10,000 wearers, but this is preventable. The key for patients using Ortho-K lenses is careful adherence to the instructions regarding cleaning and use. With proper handwashing and cleaning, the chance of a problem is minute.
Is Ortho-K effective for myopia control, and is it comparable to other types of treatment?
International researchers hold Ortho-K in high regard. Many consider the treatment to be the gold standard in myopia control. Results can vary greatly from patient to patient, but the majority of Ortho-K patients respond excellently to the lenses as a treatment for myopia.
Does Ortho-K slow the progression of myopia, and how?
Ortho-K is very effective in slowing the progression of myopia. Young children show the best success rate for slowing myopia. Generally, the treatment slows progression by 50%, with the best results showing the progress of myopia stopped.
The treatment works by applying gentle pressure on the eye’s cornea while you sleep. This gradually changes the shape, and the cornea becomes flatter. This also changes how light focuses on the peripheral parts of the retina. In turn, this moderates the eyeball’s elongated growth, which causes myopia.
How soon can I expect to see a change in my vision with Ortho-K treatment?
Depending on the degree of your vision problem, you may begin to see improvement after the first one or two nights. Further progress will occur over the period of the next two weeks.
How long must I wear Ortho-K lenses each night?
You should wear your lenses for eight hours for maximum daytime vision improvement and the best results. However, the minimum amount of time to wear the Ortho-K lenses is six hours.
Are Ortho-K lenses comfortable to wear?
The first few nights wearing your Ortho-K lenses, you may notice them, especially when you blink. Once you close your eyes and sleep, you should have no issues with the lenses.
Will I be able to see while wearing Ortho-K lenses?
Yes, you will be able to see while wearing your lenses. We suggest you insert your lenses about 15 minutes before you go to sleep to allow the lenses to settle on your eyes. You will notice that the lenses do not impair your vision.
Will my vision become blurry at the end of the day?
The majority of patients notice very little change in their vision over the course of the day. When we design your lenses, we allow for a bit of daytime regression. This ensures that you experience clear vision for most of your waking hours. You should experience clear vision throughout the day if you have a lower prescription.
What happens if I forget to wear my lenses one night?
Patients report their vision is still functional if they miss one night of lens wear. If you forget and notice an increase in blurred vision, you can correct it by wearing the contact lenses or spectacles we provided when your treatment began.
Can I wear Ortho-K lenses if I have dry eye?
Generally, our patients with dry eye are successful with Ortho-K treatment. Before you begin your treatment, we carefully assess your eyes for many conditions, including dry eye, to anticipate potential issues. Often, patients with the treatment experience some improvement in dry eye symptoms. This is because the lenses take the place of regular soft contact lenses, which rob eyes of moisture during wear.
How do I care for my Ortho-K lenses?
Caring for your Ortho-K lenses is simple. Each day, clean your lenses with a hydrogen-peroxide cleaning solution. Once a month, cleaning your lenses with an intensive protein cleaner such as Menicare Progent is advisable.
Must I replace the Ortho-K lenses often?
Typically, we suggest yearly Ortho-K lens replacement for our patients. Over time, minuscule scratches and microbes can collect on the lenses. These reduce the effectiveness of the treatment as time passes.
Can I still have laser eye surgery after Ortho-K treatment?
Ortho-K treatment has no negative impact on any laser surgery you may have in the future. After a few weeks, your eyes will revert to their original state when you stop treatment, and you can safely have successful laser surgery.
How long can I continue my Ortho-K treatment?
There is no time limit on how long you can continue your Ortho-K treatment; patients have successfully continued it for decades. Children using the treatment for myopia need to use the lenses until their myopia is stabilised. However, many continue to wear Ortho-K lenses throughout adulthood as an alternative to spectacles or contact lenses.
Will any eye doctor fit Ortho-K lenses?
Because fitting Ortho-K requires extensive training, not every optometrist can fit these lenses for patients. You can rest assured that the experienced staff at E Eye Place has the training needed to give you exceptional care for Ortho-K lenses. Additionally, you should note that there is an extended monitoring period once the procedure is complete. For more information about Ortho-K, contact us. We are equipped to assist with myopia control and all of your optical needs.
At E Eye Place, we are committed to helping you enjoy the best vision possible. Our knowledgeable staff are here to help you and answer any questions you may have about Ortho-K or any of the various treatments we offer.
Stephanie is an owner optometrist, researcher and educator. She has held clinical, teaching and research roles in Australia and overseas, and has extensive training and clinical experience. Stephanie is also the head optometrist at E Eye Place, on top of this, she is also currently a PhD candidate at UNSW. Dr Stephanie Yeo Optometrist BOptom (HC1) GradCertOcTher DOPT (Merit) CO Ophthalmic Medicines Prescriber.