More info on Corneal Refractive Therapy
The inventors of the Ortho-K lens, two optometrists in Australia, have studied and researched the eye and the forces required to change its shape. Through a great deal of study and the assistance of many experts in a variety of fields, they have determined a formula and solution to accurately control epithelial movement. By creating a specific fluid contour between your Ortho-K retainer and the cornea, tiny forces are produced. The higher the prescription, the more the epithelium needs to change shape and therefore the stronger the fluid forces need to be. You do not need to understand these tear forces and you won't be able to feel them. However, your Optimal Orthokeratologist understands how to manipulate them to achieve the desired result. What is important for you to know is that Ortho-K therapy does not compress, damage, destroy or permanently alter your cornea. In fact, the retainer never even touches your eye. The Ortho-K retainer rides on a layer of your tears and applies minute forces to the cells of your epithelium. The forces shift your cells temporarily, correcting the focusing error of your cornea, for only as long as you continue Ortho-K therapy.
After the first night of wear, we expect 70% of the epithelial shifting which means that your vision will be greatly improved after only one night of sleep! Throughout the day, you may notice a reduction in the quality of your vision, which we call "regression", as your epithelium, without the retainer in place, shifts back to its normal uncorrected shape. After a week of sleeping in your Ortho-K lenses, 100% of the change should be evident by your crisp, sharp vision. In addition, the retention throughout the day and evening should be far improved. After a month, you may be able to skip wearing the retainer one or two nights a week. In other words, the longer you continue the therapy, the better the retention of the effect becomes. That is, your epithelial cells are slower to shift back to their normal shape. After one year, we are hope to have you wearing your Ortho-K retainer only 1 or 2 nights a week!
Benefits of Ortho-K
Laser (PRK) or LASIK surgery achieves the refractive results in a similar fashion to Ortho-K. During surgery, the laser oblates (burns) the cells of the cornea away to achieve the correct corneal shape. Ortho-K on the other hand also changes the shape of the cornea but rather than burning cells away permanently, we shift the cells temporarily. This shifting of the cells and improvement in vision lasts only as long as the patient continues the wearing schedule of the lenses. Although, Ortho-K is temporary, its distinct advantage is that its effects are reversible, where surgery is not.
Another benefit of Ortho-K is that its effects can be adjusted or modified. For instance, if a patients' myopia increases, we design a new lens to move more epithelial cells, creating more focusing power. Conversely, when a patient reaches their 40's, the ability to focus on near objects is reduced which is called presbyopia. Ortho-K can be adjusted on one or both of the eyes to provide good distance vision but at the same time, improve a patients' ability to focus on nearby objects as well (called monovision).
Am I a candidate for Ortho-K therapy?
Ortho-K therapy is suitable for a broad base of the population that requires vision correction. If you have light to moderate myopia, or a small amount of astigmatism you may be a good candidate. Candidacy Requirements.
What is the Therapy Process?
The therapy process begins with a review of your particular requirements and a trial to ensure the retainer is compatible with your eyes. Next custom retainers are manufactured based on a topographical map of your cornea. Your vision improves dramatically the first night with the retainers! Finally a series of follow up visits with your practitioner will monitor your progress.