Services - Ortho-K (Orthokeratology)

Singapore Ortho-K (Orthokeratology) Soft Contact Lenses To Control Myopic Progression

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) involves the use of soft contact lenses specifically designed to help reshape the cornea. This non-invasive, non-surgical technique aims to correct near-sightedness without needing you to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. You will wear these ortho-K lenses regularly at night while you sleep. It is important to note the procedure is not permanent as you will need to wear the ortho-K lenses regularly to maintain the vision correction.

Key Takeaways

  • Orthokeratology, or ortho-K, uses specially designed contact lenses to address myopia and other refractive errors like astigmatism and presbyopia.
  • Ortho-K lenses are worn at night, where they gently flatten the cornea and restore its ability to focus light into your eye.
  • Getting Ortho-K lenses requires a thorough eye check and a measurement of your cornea to make sure your lenses fit you properly and do not cause any irritation or issues.
  • Maintain your hygiene at all times when handling your ortho-K lenses to prevent eye infections.
How Ortho-K Lenses Work | Philip D Izaac

How Ortho-K Lenses Work

The ortho-K lenses reshape your cornea, a clear dome-like structure at the front of your eyes. The cornea is responsible for focusing light onto the retina, which converts light into electrical signals to the brain, as well as keeping objects in focus at varying distances.

As you wear the lenses overnight, they gently mould the shape of your cornea, causing it to flatten and affecting how light enters your eyes. This flattening is very similar to the flattening done through the surgical LASIK procedure but is a safer alternative for those who do not want corrective surgery. The lenses are also rigid enough that they can reshape the cornea but still allow oxygen to enter the eye and keep it healthy.

The Benefits of Ortho-K Lenses

Controlling Myopic Progression

Myopia refers to nearsightedness, where you cannot see distant objects until they get closer. Common symptoms include blurry objects that are far from you, eye strain, headaches, and dizziness or tiredness when you are performing activities like driving or exercising. You may also be at a higher risk of vision complications later in life.

Myopia control measures are the best way to treat myopia, and that includes the use of ortho-K lenses. The lenses will gently reshape the cornea and restore its ability to refract light and focus on objects. Research has also found that ortho-K has a 50 per cent myopia control effect, making it highly effective in mitigating myopia progression.

Other myopia-related or refractive errors that can also be treated with ortho-K include:

  • Astigmatism: imperfection of the cornea or eye lens’ shape that causes blurred vision
  • Farsightedness: nearby objects look blurry
  • Presbyopia: gradual inability of the eyes to focus on nearby objects

Promotes Active Lifestyles

People who lead active lifestyles may not be very open to using eyeglasses or contact lenses. With eyeglasses, they worry a fall or a collision with someone else will either damage their eyeglasses or their contact lenses fall out and become extremely difficult to recover. Water-based sports can also make the use of eyeglasses or contacts that much more difficult.

Ortho-K would be an optimal choice since it negates the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Simply wearing ortho-K lenses overnight on a regular basis will be sufficient to keep your eyesight in good shape.

Non-Invasive

Permanent surgical methods for treating myopia generally lead to positive outcomes, but some people are still fearful about taking that road. In some cases, people are afraid of the possibility of adverse outcomes or side effects after surgery, such as dry eyes or a need for further corrective measures. Ortho-K negates that fear since it is a non-invasive and non-permanent procedure.

Ideal for Children

Ortho-K is an ideal form of vision correction for children. This is mainly because children’s vision continues to change as they grow older and goes on well into their early adulthood. Permanent methods of vision correction, such as LASIK, are generally not recommended for children since they can potentially cause further eye complications as they grow older. Ortho-K is, therefore, the safer choice since it is not a permanent corrective procedure while still affording optimal vision correction.

The Ortho-K Procedure

After a quick eye examination to assess your optical health, your practitioner will use an instrument called a topographer to measure your cornea’s surface, showing its overall shape and curves. The readings taken from the topographer will then be used to create the ortho-K lenses you need. As no two corneas are the same, each ortho-K lens is unique to each person who needs it.

Once your lenses are ready, a test fitting will be needed to make sure it fits properly and does not cause problems. When the lens is first placed onto the cornea, it needs 30 minutes to settle down before an assessment of its fit is made. If everything looks fine, we will teach you how to insert and remove the lenses safely as well as how to keep them well maintained.

After your first overnight use of the lenses, you will need to return to the practitioner to have your eyes checked. This will include a vision test and a topographer check. Initial usage may not immediately have results; in some cases, your vision might not necessarily see a marked improvement. After about one to two weeks, you might find that your vision has improved and will last anywhere between one to two days per overnight use.

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Are There Risks to Orthokeratology?

The greatest risk for any type of contact lens use comes from infection. Infections are caused by pathogens that have been transferred to lenses by contaminated fingers, contact lens cases, and so on. Some infections can be serious, but fortunately, most are treatable with antibiotics or other medication.

To keep your lenses from contamination, make sure you closely follow your practitioner’s recommendations on cleaning and soaking solutions. Be sure you wash your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses, too.  Another concern is ill-fitted lenses that may cause abrasions; if you experience any discomfort while using the lenses, contact your practitioner immediately.

Ensure that you also attend your appointed aftercare sessions. This is extremely important as your practitioner will monitor your progress and make suggestions or recommendations to your ortho-K use as and when needed.

The Cost of Ortho K Lenses | Philip D Izaac

The Cost of Ortho-K Lenses

The overall cost for Ortho-K lenses comes from the lenses that are customised to your needs, along with the personalised care you will receive to help you get used to them. However, the long-term benefits of using ortho-K lenses are substantial:

  • You don’t need to replace ortho-K lenses as regularly as ordinary contact lenses. You only need to do so once every one or two years, making it a more cost-effective choice in the long term.
  • Ortho-K has a high success rate in myopia correction without surgery or other corrective methods.
  • Lifelong vision improvement with minimal fuss and expense throughout your lifetime.

There may be additional factors that go into the pricing of lenses, such as the degree of myopia progression. General costs, including consultations and follow-up checks, can start from SG$1,000 and higher.

Expectations of Using Ortho-K Lenses

The initial fitting is very important as the lenses must be suitable for your eyes and not cause any irritation. You will also need to ensure that the lenses are properly placed before you sleep. Don’t worry, though: our practitioners will help you learn the proper fitting and removal techniques for your lenses before you leave the practice.

You will not see immediate changes in your vision for the first few days, so do not worry too much about it. You can always speak to your practitioner if you have any doubts or concerns, and they will do all they can to assist you. You can expect your vision to dramatically improve by the second week, but again, this can still vary from person to person; some users have reported great results as early as the first week.

Just follow your practitioner’s advice and observe proper hygiene when inserting and removing the lenses, and you’ll be enjoying clear vision in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need to wear ortho-K lenses each night?

It is recommended that you do, but it may depend on how long the cornea stays flattened after each use of the ortho-K lenses. If you find that your vision is slowly becoming blurry within a day after your overnight use of the lenses, it may be best to wear them every night. Your practitioner will advise you on the frequency of use.

Does using ortho-K lenses hurt?

Not at all! It might feel a little weird to put them on at first unless you have used contact lenses before, and you might feel something on your upper eyelid because of the lens. Once you fall asleep, you will not feel it at all. After some time of using the lenses, you will hardly notice them.

Can I wear my ortho-K lenses like contact lenses?

You could, but we do not recommend it as it is not the intended use.

Can I go to any optometrist for an ortho-K fitting?

Not all optometrists are capable of performing a fitting. For one, the lenses require a specialised contact lens fitting, and only qualified optometrists with proficiency in myopia management can do so. Be sure to ask first if the optometrist of your choice can perform an ortho-K fitting before scheduling an appointment.

Can I still wear ortho-K lenses if I have dry eyes?

Yes, you can. Some people may find that using regular contact lenses very easily causes dry eyes; in other cases, dry eyes may be caused by environmental factors such as air conditioning. Ortho-K lenses may be preferable instead since you only need to wear the lenses overnight while still having your vision corrected once you wake up.