Magic? No, it’s orthokeratology!
Myopia (short-sightedness) has been recognised as one of the five leading causes of blindness and visual impairments in the world by the World Health Organisation. Research shows there are a number of options to slow myopia progression, and thus reduce the associated increased eye health risks including glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment. One of these is overnight Orthokeratology, often referred to as OrthoK. Although most of us are familiar with spectacles and daytime wear contact lenses, I often get asked in practice what is OrthoK? Is it true that I can see clearly through the day with no daytime correction?! The answer is yes!
I absolutely love seeing the great, big smile on a child’s face after a week of wearing OrthoK lenses and their excitement (and their parents!) of reading many more lines down the vision chart. My first experience with OrthoK was in high school when my mum was fitted with these lenses to correct her myopia, and I am just as excited now about OrthoK as I was back then!
So, what is OrthoK?
OrthoK are custom-made rigid lenses that are worn overnight. They gently reshape the cornea (the clear dome at the front of the eye) so that you can see clearly during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. This provides lifestyle benefits, particularly for active children and adults, sports and recreational activities. The corneal reshaping is reversible. Thus if you stop wearing the OrthoK lenses, your eye shape and prescription will return to its pre OrthoK baseline. It is also an alternative to LASIK or other refractive surgery for adults. There is some awareness of the OrthoK lens on eye initially when applied and there is generally very good adaptation and comfort. It can be worn to correct vision in children and adults.
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