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What is Orthokeratology?

What is Orthokeratology?


Orthokeratology or Ortho K is a procedure in optometry where the cornea is temporarily reshaped or remoulded in order to correct a person or a child’s vision, allowing them to see clearly throughout the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses. This is achieved using a retainer lens or corneal mould, much like braces for the eyes to reshape the cornea into the correct power required for clear natural vision.


Why haven’t I heard of orthokeratology until now?


Orthokeratology is practised mainly by professionally trained optometrists with specific experience and knowledge. Many modern day optometry practices do not have the resources, time or clinical setting for which to practice orthokeratology. 


Orthokeratology was FDA approved in the USA in 2002, and practiced by many forward thinking optometrists around the world 10 - 20 years prior to this.


With the advancement of modern day computing and technologies in mapping the corneal contour and with the advanced understanding of the medical sciences in manipulating corneal change to safely produce clear comfortable vision, it is the convergence of these factors which have seen orthokeratology now arriving at its dawn.


Orthokeratology will no doubt continue to evolve and develop, however the science is now such that we can offer orthokeratology treatment to a large percentage of our demographic.


Orthokeratology in 2018 is now arriving at the next generation of treatment, which offers more accuracy and a larger range of prescriptions making it suitable for a majority of the population.


I have heard of orthokeratology from my friends years back, what’s changed?


Orthokeratology was FDA approved in the US in 2002 and since then there has been an increasing awareness. The parameters however were very limited, with many prescribers being limited to treating low myopia up to -4.00 and astigmatism upto -1.25. This limited range meant that if your prescription fell outside, then you would either wear spectacles to supplement orthokeratology treatment, or you would not be recommended orthokeratology and instead offered spectacles of soft contact lenses. 


In recent years however, with the advent of more precise corneal control and orthokeratology treatment principles, orthokeratology can be used to treat people with myopia (short-sightedness) up to -12.00, astigmatism upto -5.00 and hyperopia (long-sightedness) up to +4.00.


This has opened up a gamut of possibilities meaning that the majority of our demographic is now a candidate for orthokeratology treatment.

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