Astigmatism with Orthokeratology
BY EEF VAN
DER WORP, BSC, FAAO, FIACLE
can sometimes rule an orthokeratology fit simply because many rules are
involved. However, new toric ortho-k lens designs have recently become
available, and the future of ortho-k treatment of astigmatism looks bright.
Consider Astigmatism Type
The first rule that applies is that you can correct only corneal
astigmatism with standard ortho-k lenses. Any residual refractive astigmatism due
to internal astigmatism can possibly complicate the refractive outcome.
Rules also apply when it comes to the type of astigmatism: With-the-rule
corneal astigmatism is preferable, because against-the-rule and oblique astigmatism
are more difficult to correct. In addition, Mountford and Pesudovs (2002) demonstrated
that standard ortho-k lenses reduce only about 50 percent of corneal astigmatism
meaning that astigmatism of about 1.50D is usually the limit.
Another rule is that central corneal astigmatism is easier to
correct than limbus-to-limbus corneal astigmatism. Collins et al (2006) at the University
of Brisbane, Australia, recently categorized this phenomenon. They found that 38
percent of corneas have a spherical center with a spherical periphery and 22 percent
showed a toric central cornea with a decreasing toricity towards the periphery.
These should be relatively simple to correct. But another 21 percent of corneas
have a toric center with a stable toric periphery, 15 percent showed a spherical
central toricity with a toric periphery and 4 percent demonstrated toric central
astigmatism with an increase in toricity towards the periphery. These represent
potential fitting challenges.
Improved Toric Designs
The good news is that two independent groups in Europe (Beerten
et al, 2005; Baertschi et al, 2005) have now shown that correcting corneal astigmatism
with toric ortho-k lenses is feasible. They used corneal topography to calculate
the sagittal height of the cornea in both meridians (which includes the increase
or decrease in astigmatism towards the periphery) and created custom lenses based
on this. In fact, this method is so successful that corneas with low astigmatism
of about 1.00D are now also fit with these toric back surface designs. Alternatively,
you can choose to design your own toric ortho-k lenses based on corneal topography
with the use of additional software such as the Wave Contact Lens System (Wave Contact
Lens System LLC).
The results from the European studies show that correction of
with-the-rule corneal astigmatism up to 3.00D might be feasible, and that there
are also possibilities for correcting against-the-rule and limbus-to limbus corneal
astigmatism. You must take into account that the maximum amount of correctable ametropia
with orthokeratology cannot exceed 6.00D (so a –3.50D spherical correction
with –2.50D of astigmatism is pushing the limits). Furthermore, the amount
of astigmatism should not exceed the spherical component of the refraction (a –2.00D
sphere with –3.00D of astigmatism is not an ideal candidate).
But all in all, we can now accommodate the majority of patients
who have corneal astigmatism and who are interested in ortho-k, which is another
step towards the adolescence of orthokeratology. We and an increasing number of
patients can all benefit from the availability of these toric ortho-k designs.
For references, please visit
and click on document #128.
Dr. van der Worp is a lecturer
at the school of optometry of the Hogeschool Utrecht and a researcher at the University
of Maastricht department of ophthalmology in the Netherlands.
Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: July 2006