Higher Initial Cost, but Longer Lasting Than Traditional Contacts
Eyesight problems are much more common than we know. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, as of 2020, 295 million people worldwide suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment. Moreover, 258 million have mild visual impairment, while 10 million have near-vision problems.
More often, people with poor vision resort to wearing glasses or lenses. However, there is a non-pervasive procedure that is getting recognition globally – that is orthokeratology.
In a survey in the United States in 2022, cited by the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry, out of 545 eye care professionals, 283 are fitting patients for orthokeratology. 68% recommended this procedure for myopia control, while 53% recommended it for monitoring axial length. These eye care providers use Orthokeratology because it is highly effective for their patients.
Ortho K Lenses can help many with vision issues – but is Ortho K worth it?
What Is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology, or Ortho K, is a non-surgical vision correction procedure that is used for myopia management. This vision shaping treatment uses specially designed contact lenses to apply gentle pressure to the eye.
In this manner, patients can achieve better vision by reshaping the cornea. This is called corneal refractive therapy (CRT) and the lenses are oftentimes referred to as CRT lenses. Orthokeratology lens treatment is effective and safe for those suffering from eye problems.
Patients will wear a custom-designed overnight contact lenses which are removed during the day throughout the treatment. It is important that lenses worn at night are gas permeable (gp). Ortho K features the use of a gp lens that allows oxygen to travel through the lens which keeps your eye more comfortable and prevents irritation.
It can correct nearsightedness (myopia) or astigmatism by allowing light to enter the eyes. This procedure is suitable for people involved in activities requiring clear eyesight. It is also in demand as it gives comfort and freedom from always wearing glasses and lenses.
First, orthokeratology is non-invasive, meaning eye surgery isn’t required to receive better vision. Avoiding any type of surgery can be a big benefit as surgically altering the eye comes with potential risks as well as recovery time.
With Ortho-K, patients will only wear a unique contact lens – an Ortho K lens – overnight to correct their vision.
With respect to costs, Ortho-K can typically range anywhere from around $800 – $4,000. That said, these lenses can last for years. Daily contact lenses have to frequently be replaced and have a regular ongoing associated cost.
The actual cost of your Orthokeratology lenses will vary based on your specific needs, so it is difficult to give exact pricing without having a patient exam in our office. The following are some variables that factor into lens pricing:
- The type of lens prescribed
- Replacement fees
- Supplementary treatments
- Follow Up Office Visits
This vision therapy is for patients with mild to moderate levels of myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism. Those with much higher prescriptions are still eligible, but it depends entirely on the doctor’s assessment. Both children and adults can benefit from this procedure. It may affect younger patients as their eyes still develop at this age.
Even so, it is an excellent alternative for people who find wearing glasses or contacts uncomfortable.
Both children and adults can benefit from this procedure. It includes:
Wearing these lenses overnight can correct refractive issues. The result is clear vision without needing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Patients can engage with the day-to-day experience. They will get to read books, use computers or do tasks that need good eyesight without wearing glasses or contacts. In this sense, they can enjoy life because of their newfound clarity of sight.
One of the harmful effects of regularly wearing non disposable contact lenses is that they may increase the risk of bacterial infection and the build-up of particles in the eye – especially if not used as prescribed. As a result, contact lenses may cause eye problems. Since patients will only have to wear Ortho-K lenses while they sleep, the risk for developing infections is somewhat lower.
While orthokeratology is safe and effective, all medical interventions come with some drawbacks.
While orthokeratology offers a safe treatment to correct vision, it is not permanent. It also needs regular and proper management to avoid infection and irritation, such as dry eye. Also, it may not fit into one’s lifestyle. Aside from that, there is still a chance that the patient will revert to using glasses or lenses.
How To Get Started With Orthokeratology
To start with Ortho K, set up an eye exam with our eye doctor – Dr. Knapp – at our office in Fair Lawn. During this comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Knapp will evaluate your overall eye health by examining the overall structure of your eyes, determining your visual acuity, and looking for any signs of eye disease.
The end result of this exam will be to determine if you’re a good candidate for Ortho K. Dr. Knapp has an extensive background when it comes to fitting and prescribing orthokeratology lenses. An ideal lens is an essential and intricate part of the process; hence special training and expertise in this field are crucial. Checking out reviews can also help in settling on a choice.
In some instances, patients may not be a good fit for CRT lenses. In that case we offer a full range of eye care services and will create an eye care treatment plan that will meet your particular needs.
Below are some frequently asked questions people have about orthokeratology.
As emphasized above, orthokeratology’s effectiveness can vary. It depends on the patient’s condition and the management of the treatment. Of course, the practitioner also plays an essential role in it.
In general, according to research, 80 to 90% of patients have a satisfactory experience with orthokeratology. Patients can expect a noticeable improvement in their vision in the first two months of the treatment – and usually much more quickly than that, sometimes within days. On the other hand, results may vary depending on the patient’s age group or if they have any existing conditions.
Compared to other vision therapy options, orthokeratology is an unlikely alternative for some because it requires a strong commitment from the patient. It also has a longer fitting process and frequent visits to an optometrist than getting a glass or a contact lens. Apart from that, it can be inaccessible, although it is cheaper than opting for corrective surgery. Moreover, Ortho-K lenses may cause discomfort for some people who find it difficult to sleep while wearing lenses.