Ortho K, an alternative to Lasik?

Most people would have heard of lasik eye surgery.  Lasik and other forms of laser eye surgery have been available for quite a while now. But most people don’t know that there is a non-surgical alternative that has been available for just as long.  It’s called Orthokeratology or Ortho-K.

When people hear “non-surgical” eye care, it often brings up images of people doing eye exercises to throw away their glasses, or taking nutritional supplements. Some people simply assume it’s just another type of contact lens.  In some cases, it might just seem too good to be true that you can actually see clearly without surgery.

How Does It Work?

Ortho-K is a form of eye care that is prescribed by optometrists.  The treatment involves wearing a custom designed contact lens while sleeping.  This changes the shape of the front of the eye (the cornea), in order to alter focus enabling the person to see clearly once the lens is removed.  The lenses are removed upon waking, and the effect lasts all day, and often into the following day.  The lens needs to be worn every night to every second night to maintain the effect.  The treatment is reversible by stopping lens wear.

Unlike laser eye surgery, no eye tissue is removed.  The reshaping lens is not worn during the day, and is only worn while sleeping, so daytime comfort is usually better than when wearing daytime contact lenses.

What are the benefits?

  • No daytime dry eye from contact lenses
  • Dependence on glasses greatly reduced or eliminated
  • Non-surgical
  • Reversible
  • Ortho-K has been proven to slow the progression of myopia (short-sight) in children and teens

Any disadvantages?

  • While the prescription range is relatively broad, very high prescriptions cannot be treated, and some eye shapes are difficult to treat with Ortho K.
  • The lenses need to be cleaned and maintained to minimize infection risk
  • The lenses need replacing every couple of years
  • The lenses need to be worn regularly to maintain the treatment effect

A Brief History

Early forms of this technique were developed in the 1960’s but the eye care technology at that time wasn’t good enough to create consistent results.  The 1990’s brought better computerised eye care technology, along with better materials and manufacturing processes.  Now there are multiple brands of Ortho-K and the range of eye conditions that respond to the treatment is steadily increasing.  The safety of Ortho-K is comparable to contact lens wear, and infection risk is something that your optometrist will discuss with you.

Harmony Vision was the first to introduce Ortho-K to the Gold Coast and has a wealth of experience with treatment of a wide range of prescriptions and ages with this great product.  To find out more, visit www.nospecs.com.au.

Paul Graham

Paul believes that what he truly practices is “Optometry for the Individual”. Whether it be vision training, glasses, custom or disposable contact lenses, orthok or precision tinted lenses, Paul will consult with you, completely assess your vision and custom design a treatment approach that is right for you. If you want a fresh approach, then Paul is the Optometrist for you!