What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology also known as Corneal Refractive Therapy or Ortho-K is the programmed use of contact lenses to remould the shape of the cornea to reduce or eliminate myopic (short-sighted) and astigmatic (irregular surface) errors in the eye.
Why have Ortho-K done?
The main purpose of Ortho-K is to be free of both contact lenses and spectacles for the majority of, or possibly all, waking hours.
Is everyone suitable for Ortho-K?
No. At present the procedure is only suitable for short-sighted errors of up to 4.00 dioptres and up to 1.50 dioptres of astigmatism. It is important to note that the Ortho-K procedure is reversible.
What does Ortho-K involve?
A series of Ortho-K contact lenses made from a highly oxygen permeable rigid material are fitted in progressive stages to gently reshape the cornea towards less curvature and a more spherical shape. This reduces near sightedness (myopia) and astigmatism whilst dramatically improving unaided eyesight. These lenses are generally worn overnight. The full program may require up to ten visits over a six month period. We may perform an 'overnight trial' appointment which means that you can try the lenses and we can assess your inital reaction and your suitability to the Ortho-K process.
As the cornea is highly elastic and always returns to its original shape, retainer lenses will need to be worn four to six nights per week to stabilise the new corneal shape when maximum results have been achieved.
Fees for Ortho-K
The fees for Ortho-K are $1800. This fee is not rebatable from Medicare. If you decide to proceed with Ortho-K, 75% of this fee ($1100) is payable at the time of collection of the first lenses. This part of the fee is not refundable. The balance ($700) must be paid within six months of beginning the treatment. If either you or your practitioner are not happy with your progress, the first fee will cover fitting for a different type of contact lenses. Fees are not refundable from this point because of the professional time and lenses involved.
During the Ortho-K program, each lens must be returned at the end of its intended period of use. Lenses not returned or lost or broken will be charged separately. Some lens costs may be claimable from your private health fund. Once the Ortho-K program is complete, you will need to purchase a pair of retainer lenses. The ongoing costs associated with these lenses are usually much less than for conventional contact lens wear.