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Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

by | 1 Jan 2023 | Contact Lenses, News

Commonly referred to as Ortho-K, orthokeratology provides clear unaided vision throughout the day without the risks of refractive surgery. Ortho-K is a gentle, non-surgical, and reversible procedure that involves reshaping the front of your eye (cornea) with custom-made contact lenses, while you sleep.

What is Ortho-K

Orthokeratology is an alternative to surgery and corrects eyesight without the need to wear contact lenses or prescription glasses all the time. You will need to be assessed for Ortho-K. Not everyone will be suitable.

Orthokeratology has many different names including night lenses, Ortho-K, OK, overnight vision correction, corneal refractive therapy (CRT), vision shaping treatment (VST), and cornea corrective contacts. Essentially, it is the use of custom-made contact lenses (rigid gas permeable or RGP contact lenses) that temporarily and gently reshape the cornea to reduce refractive errors such as myopiahyperopia, and astigmatism.

Appointment & cost schedule

Estimated time to clearer vision: 14 days

  1. Initial assessment

    Our optometrists will complete a 40-minute comprehensive vision and eye health examination of your eyes, including corneal topography. The Optometrist will map and measure the surface of your cornea using our advanced corneal topographer. The machine doesn’t touch your eye, and there is no pain. They will determine if you are a suitable candidate for Ortho-K and provide an accurate start-up package cost quotation based on your individual eyes.

    Cost: If you continue with Ortho-K, your start-up package cost will cover this appointment (see next step). If you do not continue with Ortho-K, our usual complete eye consultation fee will apply, for this appointment.

  2. Lens order & deposit

    Ortho-K lenses are complex, custom-made lenses. They will take a couple of weeks to arrive and a 50% deposit is required at the time of order.

    Cost: 50% of your start-up package cost (approximately $750 for new wearers).

  3. Lens Fitting

    When your lenses arrive, another 40-minute appointment with the optometrist will be required. At this appointment, our optometrist will check the fitting of the lenses on your eyes and teach you how to properly insert, remove and care for your lenses.

    Cost: 50% of your start-up package cost (approximately $750 for new wearers).

  4. 1st morning after Ortho-K wear

    Our optometrist will re-assess your corneal response after your first night’s wear. You can expect around 50% of the re-shaping required for clear vision at this point. At this appointment, the optometrist will decide if any changes are required. You’ll continue using the same lenses each night to build up your vision correction. However, you may need a supply of temporary lenses to see properly during the day, over the first couple of weeks, until you reach the desired prescription.

    Cost: Included in the start-up package.

  5. 1-week check-up

    Around half of people will have good vision by this time. However, it will take two weeks to reach 100% of corneal reshaping. You’ll continue using the same lenses each night to build up and then maintain your vision correction.

    Cost: Included in the start-up package.

  6. 1-month check-up

    We’ll need to ensure that your vision is stabilizing after about 3-4 weeks. It can take two weeks or more to reach maximum vision correction from orthokeratology. Some people will experience significant vision improvement within days. You should no longer require temporary lenses to see during the day.

    Cost: Included in the start-up package.

  7. 3-month check-up

    It’s important to keep checking your vision and corneal health. As a first-time Ortho-K wearer, a 3-month visit is scheduled. You’ll continue using the same lenses each night to maintain vision correction.

    Cost: Included in the start-up package.

  8. 6 monthly after-care visits

    We’ll continue to invite you back for 6 monthly vision and corneal health checks while you’re wearing Ortho-K lenses. This is important for all wearers, both new and experienced.

    Cost: Included in the start-up package for new wearers up to 12 months from the date of the package payment. For experienced wearers, our usual consultation fees will apply, for these appointments.

Who is Ortho-K for?

Ortho-k is very useful to correct near-sightedness (myopia). Other vision types can also benefit from Ortho-K. Orthokeratology is suitable for all ages of people with healthy eyes. It has no long-term effects and can be stopped at any time.

Ortho-K lenses also offer one of the best vision correction options to slow the progression of myopia in children.

Orthokeratology is also ideal for sportspeople, swimmers, and people who work in dusty or dirty environments, where contact lenses and glasses aren’t ideal.

How does Ortho-K work?

Orthokeratology lenses work by reshaping the cornea (front of your eye) while you sleep. This changes how the eye focuses during waking hours. Remove your Ortho-K lenses in the morning on waking. It’s like orthodontics for your eyes. For example, where dental braces and splints reshape your teeth, orthokeratology lenses reshape your eyes.

The reshaping of the cornea is only temporary and will last around 12-18 hours on average. So, Ortho-K lenses need to be worn every night to maintain clear daytime vision without the need for additional glasses or contact lenses. If you stop wearing the OK lenses at night, your eyes will gradually go back to their original shape and your uncorrected vision blur will return.

What results can I expect?

Everyone’s eyes are different. So it’s important to get an individual assessment of your eyes prior to starting the process. Of course, the goal is to achieve perfect vision (6/6 or 20/20 vision).

Suitable candidates have a more than 90% chance of achieving a level of vision to legally drive without glasses. That is 6/12 vision (or 20/40 vision).

Some patients may notice haloes around lights at night time. This is the most common side effect of Ortho-K.

What do Ortho-K lenses feel like?

The process of measuring your corneal topography is completely painless. Initially, you will be aware of the Ortho-K lenses when they are placed on the eye and you will have this sensation while you are awake. But, as you are sleeping the majority of the time while wearing them, you won’t feel them.

Is orthokeratology safe?

Wearing any good quality contact lens is safe, under the right conditions. Furthermore, the risks of ortho-k lenses are the same as with any contact lens and include infection and allergic reactions. However, with correct care and maintenance and regular check-ups, there is no limit to how long you can use orthokeratology lenses. Studies show they are as safe as daily disposable soft contact lenses.

How much does Ortho-K cost?

Ortho-K costs around $300-$500 per year, with an initial estimated setup cost of $1,500 over the first year only.

It is a complex process to measure, design, and fit custom contact lenses for Ortho-K. So, generally, and in most cases, the total starting package cost will be $1,500. However, this can vary between $1,000-$2,000 due to differences in eyes and complexity. Our initial start-up packages include everything required. We’ll also provide you with an accurate quotation, for your eyes, at your initial assessment consultation. Ongoing costs for replacement lenses, lens solutions, and follow-up consultations can range between $300 and $500 a year.

Noosa Optical

Suite 2 & 3 Noosa Professional Centre
1 Lanyana Way
Noosa Heads QLD 4567

Opening hours:

Monday - Friday | 9:00am - 5:00pm

We're closed for weekends and public holidays.