What is Ortho-K (Orthokeratology)?
First up I’m a big fan of Ortho-k, in fact I was the first Ortho-k practitioner in Bristol. It works by popping specially made, ultra-thin gas permeable contact lenses onto your eyes before sleeping. These lenses gently and gradually reshape your cornea overnight enabling the patient to see clearly throughout the following day, without need for glasses or contact lenses. Ingenious isn’t it? Ortho-k (short for Orthokeratology) provides freedom from daily glasses or contact lenses. While Ortho-K is usually suitable for any patient who is short sighted (myopic) it can work well for those with a moderate degree of astigmatism, dry eye and active people who find glasses suboptimal for their chosen activities.
How do you get started with Ortho-K
Step 1 is an initial consultation with one of our specialist Optometrists. They will assess the health of the front and back of your eyes, measure the shape of the front of your eye using sophisticated imaging (without touching your eye) and advise you on the suitability of your eyes for Ortho-K lens wear.
Step 2 is ordering lenses custom made to your unique eye shape and refraction. Each pair of lenses lasts for 6 months.
Step 3 is an appointment where you learn how to apply, remove and care for your Ortho-K lenses. From here you commence lens wear and enjoy the freedom from glasses.
Step 1 costs £125, Step 2 is £185 and Step 3 leads into a monthly direct debit from the 2nd month you wear Ortho-K of £40 per month.
Your direct debit gives you Vision Plan membership, which includes all your eye care appointments while you remain a member as well as the two sets of Ortho-K lenses you need per year. We currently also include replacement lenses, as we know that from time to time a lens gets lost and we don’t want you to worry about any additional costs.
How do I wear my Ortho-K lenses?
For our younger eyes who wear Ortho-K for myopia management we ask that their lenses are worn every single night to ensure the best chance of minimising any myopia progression.
For our patients who choose Ortho-K as a lifestyle choice we recommend you wear your lenses most nights of the week. A few months into Ortho-K wear, and after their eyes have settled nicely into the Ortho-K routine, some of our patients find they can take a night off. Perhaps a weekend evening out or a midweek break can be taken and clear vision maintained the day after too.
We provide the solutions you need for the first few weeks of Ortho-K while you’re still trying the lenses out. After this, we can add solutions to your direct debit, or you can pop in and purchase solutions when you need them.
How often are my aftercare appointments?
We must see our younger patients the 1st morning after they start Ortho-K wear. We also prefer to see our adult patients the 1st morning after you start Ortho-K wear, but we understand sometimes this is not possible so we’re happy to discuss what works for you.
From there we see our patients as required, this varies from every night for the 1st few days to once a week or once a fortnight. Once settled nicely into Ortho-K wear we see younger patients every 6 months and adult patients at 6 months, 9 months and then up to 12 month intervals depending on the needs of our individual patient.
I have dry eyes, is Ortho-K for me?
We have experience of successfully fitting Ortho-K lenses to patients who find normal soft lenses don’t suit their eyes. We have adapted our process, solution range and wear & care advice to suit the needs of patients with marginal dry eye to enable them to comfortably wear Ortho-K. If you have severe dry eye, Orto-K may not be the best option - we would always advise on this at your step1 initial consultation.
Is Ortho-K an exact science?
The technical aspects of designing a custom lens for our patients is highly scientific. Once the lens is on a human eye it's a mix of a scientific and empirical process to achieve the lens that both is comfortable to wear, provides you effective vision correction and fits your eye brilliantly! What we can’t control is the odd night (typically one eye every 6 months) where for some reason the lens treatment effect is good but not perfect. I write this so you understand the nature of Ortho-k wear. It's a lifestyle choice, a wonderful experience and one that many of our patients continue with year after year.
Does Ortho-K prevent myopia?
Ortho-K has been shown, through research, to reduce the progression of myopia by around 40-60%. We encourage lifestyle changes as well as Ortho-K lens wear to give the best chance of slowing myopic progression as much as possible. Preventing further myopia developing is not guaranteed, but we really do try to do all we can to support our patients as we aim to keep any progression to a minimum.
Can my child wear Ortho-K?
We have fitted Ortho-K to young children, however this is only done after a lengthy discussion with ideally both parents and the child. There are factors to consider, such as the risk of myopia progression, the (low) risk of infection, how the child will feel about Ortho-K and how you as parents feel about supporting your child with applying at night, removing in the morning and carefully & thoroughly cleaning and storing their lenses - which may mean doing it for them! We’re happy to demonstrate to, and teach parents and children safe handling, lens care and application and removal of Ortho-K lenses.
We have found that some children prefer to get to Ortho-K wear via a month or two of daytime only daily disposable soft contact lens wear, as this helps them gain confidence and get used to wearing contact lenses in a gentle step by step process. You may still have to apply and remove the soft lenses for them!
If you have any questions, or there is anything else you would like to know please email us and we will reply!
Further information can be found here:
- Local News Story; Friends make the switch from spectacles to Ortho-k