Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is a non surgical therapy that uses specially designed contact lenses to reshape the cornea and improve vision.
It is an increasingly popular alternative to glasses or traditional contact lenses for people with myopia (nearsightedness). In this article, we will answer 10 questions about Ortho-K to help you better understand this vision correcting technique.
What is Ortho-K?
Ortho-K is a non-surgical therapy that uses specially designed contact lenses to reshape the cornea and correct vision problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) , presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) and astigmatism. The lenses are worn overnight and are removed in the morning , providing clear vision throughout the day.
How does Ortho-K work?
Ortho-K lenses gently reshapes the cornea while you sleep, similar to a retainer straightening your teeth. You will be given a special hard gas-permeable contact lens to wear overnight and remove each morning. The Ortho-K lenses are designed to float on the eye’s tear film and apply gentle water-based(hydraulic) pressure to the front layer of the cornea. This hydraulic pressure reshapes the epithelium layer of the cornea. The effects of Ortho-K last for the day and allow you to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses. The results from Ortho-K are painless but they are not permanent.
What are the benefits of Ortho-K
- The benefits of Ortho-K include:
- Quick results. Most patients wake up with clearer vision after just one night of wearing Ortho-K lenses
- Non-Invasive. Compared to other vision correction options like LASIK, Ortho-K is a surgery-free alternative with minimal side effects.
- Improved vision without glasses or contact lenses
- Better Peripheral Vision
- Reduced progression of myopia in those under 21.
- It is a great option from athletes who want freedom from glasses or contacts
- Great for people who live in windy, dusty, dry environments.
- Great for people who live in extremely hot or cold climates
Who is a good candidate for Ortho-K
The success rate of Ortho-K varies depending on the individual and the severity of their vision problem. A recent FDA clinical study has shown that Ortho-K can improve vision to 20/40 or better in 95% of patients.
In addition, Ortho-K has been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of myopia in kids. Children as young as eight years old can benefit from Ortho-k for myopia management.
Many patients are not eligible for LASIK because of high refractive errors, thin or irregular corneas, unstable vision or severe dry eyes. These patients have discovered that Ortho-K can be a great solution.
What are the risks of Ortho-K
The risks of Ortho-K are similar to those of standard contact lenses. They include:
- Watery eyes
- Eye Infections
- Reduced night vision in some patients
- Risk of infection if proper hygiene is not maintained.
To reduce the risk of complications, make sure you’re following proper contact lens hygiene and instructions from your optometrist.
How long does Ortho-K take to work
Ortho-K can start to work within two nights to a few weeks, depending on the individual and the severity of their vision problem. However, it may take several weeks for the full effect of Ortho-k to be realized.
How long do the effects of Ortho-K last
The effects of Ortho-K can last for several days. However, the effects are not permanent, and the lenses must be worn regularly to maintain the clear vision.
How much does Ortho-K cost
The cost of Ortho-K varies depending on the prescription, the corneal shape and the eye doctor. The cost for your Ortho-K initial fitting, professional care, follow-up and Ortho-K treatments lenses varies with the average cost ranging from $1800-$4000 for both eyes the first year. The cost for Ortho-K goes down in subsequent years.
Is Ortho-K Permanent?
Ortho-K does not permanently correct a patient’s vision. Because Ortho-K is temporary, the lenses need to be worn every night to maintain clear vision during the day.
Does insurance cover Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology is typically considered an elective procedure by most vision plans and therefore not completely covered by many plans. A portion of the contact lens material fees may be covered in some insurance plans.
How to pay for Ortho-k treatment?
There are several payment options available for patients once it is determined they are a good candidate for Orthokeratology. One may be able to use a tax-free Health Savings Account(HSA), Flexible Spending Account(FSA), Medical spending Account(Section 125) or a Cafeteria Plan to cover the costs.
Many eye care providers offer optional payment plans such as CareCredit.
What can I expect from Orthokeratology?
Most people require a series of progress visits to achieve the best results-better than 20/40 vision. The patient may experience a dramatic improvement in their vision after just two nights. If nearsightedness is more severe, it may take a couple of weeks to achieve those results. For the first few weeks some patients notice glare, halos and blurred vision at night which resolves.
Because Orthokeratology lenses are thicker than regular lenses, the patient may be aware of them when they blink. Eventually, the lenses become more comfortable over time. Once the patient has reached the correct prescription, the eye doctor may modify the retainer lenses to maintain your vision.
The patient’s lenses should be worn as often as the provider prescribes.
Why have I not heard about Ortho-K?
The first daily wear Ortho-K lenses was developed and submitted to FDA in 1998. Less than 5% of the contact lens market in 2006 wore Orthokeratology lenses, they grew to 15% by 2016; likely reflecting the increasing myopia in kids.
Not all Eye doctors provide myopia management and prescribe Ortho-K lenses . Those that prescribe Ortho-K have undergone specific and extensive post-graduate training.
How does Ortho-K control myopia progression?
Traditional methods to correct astigmatism and myopia include eyeglasses and contact lenses. Many people who are in conventional methods of vision correction notice that there is a gradual increase in their optical prescription. By reshaping the cornea Ortho-K has been proven to reduce the rate of myopic progression in children by up to 50%. It is quickly becoming one of the most recommended methods for myopia management and vision correction.
Can I have Lasik surgery after Ortho-K?
Yes. If you later decide to permanently correct your vision you can get LASIK or Lens Exchange Surgery after wearing Ortho-K lenses. Ortho-K is a temporary and the results only last as long as you continue to wear your lenses. You will need to be out of your Ortho-K lenses for four months prior to LASIK Surgery
Ortho-K Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA
Vision Source Insight Eyecare has been treating patients using Orthokeratology since 2005 and have helped hundreds of patients to achieve amazing results. All Ortho-K begins with a consultation. Please call to schedule and Appointment today at Sandy Springs/Atlanta 404-250-1680 or send us a text.