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Refractive Therapy / Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

What is Ortho-K (or refractive therapy)?

Orthokeratology (ortho-k), involves the use of specially designed rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses to alter the shape of the cornea in order to reduce or correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. It has been practised for almost 40 years, but the results were quite variable and unpredictable. However, in the last ten years new technology has become available to accurately map the corneal shape and manufacture lenses that will achieve a controlled and precise reduction in the eye’s optical imperfection. In addition, new developments in lens materials have been made that enable safe overnight wear to be possible. The technique of Ortho-k is now a safe, viable and reversible alternative to refractive surgery. The cornea, whilst being mouldable, always returns to its original shape if lens wear is stopped. For this reason, lenses are always worn nightly, or alternate nights after the ideal corneal shape has been achieved in order to retain the effect. You simply sleep in your lenses, then wake up and remove them, and enjoy clear vision all day!

Why have Ortho-K done?

The main purpose of Ortho-K is to be free of both spectacles and contact lenses throughout the day. This freedom of clear vision appeals to spectacle and contact lens wearers and is ideal for:

  • Contact lens wearers who suffer with dry eyes or can’t comfortably wear contacts through the day
  • People who are unsuitable for laser corrective surgery
  • People who just don’t want to have surgery
  • Laser candidates who are still changing in prescription
  • Sportspeople and people who enjoy active lifestyles and watersports
  • those who work in dusty or dirty environments
  • or people who just find spectacles and conventional contact lenses inconvenient.
  • In addition, those who need to have a certain degree of uncorrected vision to satisfy their employers or a licensing body (e.g. pilots, police) can also be helped by Ortho-K.

Does Ortho-K Have Any Advantages Over Laser Surgery (LASIK)?


  • No ethical surgeon will treat a patient until they are at least 18 years old
  • The prescription does not need to be stable for 1-2 years before undergoing treatment
  • It does not cause the permanent hazy vision experienced by some patients following laser surgery caused by scarring
  • Changes in prescription over time can be dealt with without further surgery
  • The procedure is reversible (laser is not)
  • There is a very significant understanding of the effects of contact lens wear on the cornea, because of the many years of lens use.  LASIK long term effects are not completely understood.
  • There is no post-operative pain or recovery period.
  • Ortho-K is significantly cheaper.
  • Ortho-K does not preclude surgery in the future.

Come and see our optometrists at Envision Optical to assess your eligibility for treatment by booking an appointment today.


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