Keratoconus and Orthokeratology

Contact Lenses Auckland

Eye Problems – Keratoconus

Keratoconus is fairly common in NZ. Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects the cornea causing visual distortions. Common symptoms are ghosting, multiple images, glare, halos, starbursts around lights and blurred vision.

A normal, healthy cornea holds its round shape. However, sometimes the cornea becomes structurally weakened and loses its shape. Instead of a dome, it becomes cone-shaped, preventing clear vision. The images entering through the irregular keratoconus affected cornea create distortion and blurring.

Causes Of Keratoconus

The cause of keratoconus is unclear. Some researchers believe keratoconus may be hereditary and may also affect those with allergies more often.

If you do develop keratoconus, there are many treatment options available. The first symptoms of keratoconus are blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light. Soft contact lenses or eyeglasses can correct the mild myopia, making you less short sighted. However, the keratoconus may progress to a point where prescription glasses cannot correct your vision.

Treatment – Contact Lenses

Your optometrist can use rigid gas permeable contact lenses to correct and control the myopia caused by keratoconus. The rigid lens masks the underlying irregular cornea and functions as the new refractive surface of the eye, with the tear film filling in the space between the back of the contact lens and the front of the eye. The smooth surface of the contact lenses and the tear film layer between the lens and the keratoconus affected cornea allow a clear image to enter the eye.

Whether your optometrist advises you to wear soft or rigid contact lenses the best lens is the one that fits your eye, corrects your vision and is comfortable to wear. The optometrists at John O’Connor are experienced and can be relied upon to select the best lens for your eye. They always weigh the needs of each individual patient carefully in order to find the lens that offers the best combination of visual acuity, comfort and corneal health.


To test for keratoconus, your Auckland optometrist will check for distorted or blurred vision. An examination called corneal topography using computerized instruments to create a map of the cornea can also be performed. This is an advanced technology and offers the most complete view of your cornea.

Contact Lens Subsidy

You may be eligible for the government contact lens subsidy scheme if you suffer from high myopia (short sighted), high hyperopia (long sighted), keratoconus and also anisometropia (large difference in prescription between the eyes). The subsidy covers the cost for your eye examination, contact lens fitting and contact lenses themselves. Our optometrists will be able to advise if you are eligible.

Regular eye examinations are vital. They ensure your eye doctor has a chance to detect any conditions like keratoconus before they become a bigger problem. Once a year eye health check-ups are an important part of maintaining good vision over your lifetime. Full eye exams with our experienced optometrists start from $65 and you can get an eye test at either our Newmarket or Henderson optometry practice. Call 09 522 1283 or 09 836 1731 to book an appointment with an optometrist.

Correcting Eye Problems – Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology (ortho-k) or corneal refractive therapy is a non-surgical procedure that can correct your vision without having to wear correcting contact lenses during the day. It is a revolutionary therapy which involves the use of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that temporarily reshape the cornea. The gas permeable contact lenses are worn overnight and gently reshape the front surface of the cornea so the following day after you remove the lenses you can see clearly. These lenses reduce refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism while you sleep.

Orthokeratology is primarily used to correct eye conditions that leave sufferers short sighted or long sighted and have difficulty focusing. Ortho-k contact lenses are a great alternative for people who have problems with contact lens due to work or sport.

What Is Ortho-k?

Ortho-k contact lenses are prescribed to slow the progression of childhood myopia or remove the hassle of wearing glasses or contact lenses during the day.

Ortho-k lenses are corneal reshaping contact lenses. Ortho-K works by gently remoulding the front window of the eye: the cornea. The corneal tissue is soft and can be subtly moulded. The ortho-k lenses float on your eye tear film, creating enough pressure to reshape the cornea. The tears underneath your specially designed lens create a sucking force and it is the tears that actually do all of the work. The lens itself does not physically press on the eye in any way. It is safe and comfortable for users.

Because the corneal reshaping effect is temporary, little risk is involved, and you can discontinue wearing the lenses at any time, provided you are happy to start wearing glasses or contacts again when your myopia returns!

Children and young adults who want to be glasses-free but are too young for laser surgery are good candidates for ortho-k. People who participate in contact sports such as water polo, surfing and in situations where wearing glasses or contact lenses is not suitable such as working in dusty environments can be good candidates. It is a safer and less invasive alternative to laser refractive surgery for some eye problems.

Schedule a consultation today with any of our qualified optometrists for a comprehensive eye examination to see if you could benefit from orthokeratology lenses. We have optometrists in Henderson and Newmarket. If you wish to discuss any eye problems, call us on 09 522 1283 to speak to our Newmarket optometrists or to speak to an optometrist in Henderson call 09 836 1731.


Orthokeratology and Myopia Control

In addition to the benefit of lens-free daytime vision, orthokeratology is used to slow the progression of childhood myopia. A number of published clinical studies have found that orthokeratology lens designs inhibit the growth of the eye’s axial length, which determines the degree of myopia. The optometrists at John O’Connor have had great success with this approach in children.

Orthokeratology Advantages

  • Non-surgical method
  • Available for most people
  • Freedom from constant corrective lens wear
  • Better vision improvement
  • Slot the rate of myopia progression in children
  • Freedom from glasses or contact lenses during daytime for children, great for sports

Ask one of our Auckland optometrists whether orthokeratology contact lenses are right for you or your child.

We deliver peace of mind about the way you see the world, your sight.

We offer high quality eyecare and friendly service at our optometry practices in Newmarket and Henderson. For your convenience both stores are open 6 days a week.