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Many people in the world suffer from nearsightedness, or what is called Myopia, meaning they can only see things clearly when up close and struggle with seeing far away objects. When your eyes grow too quickly as a child, or never stop growing as an adult, you will form Myopia. This growth can curve the cornea incorrectly or space out the distance between the retina and the cornea and lens, altering where the light coming into the eye is landing and reshaping your vision. And there are other conditions that need corrective technology, procedures, and other solutions to solve this problem. So what other alternative is there for these patients to use?
What is Ortho-K and What Does it Do?
For those who wear contacts, you're probably used to hearing "don't wear your contacts to sleep!" However, in the case of Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K lenses, it's actually the whole point. Once again, Myopia is often due to the misshapen curve of the cornea, and by wearing these fitted gas-permeable contact lenses designed just for you to sleep, it can reshape the cornea to its natural curve it should have over time. This non-surgical treatment allows for the cornea to curve correctly for light to properly come into the eye and land on the retina so you can go the next day without having to worry about glasses or contacts.
Who is a Good Candidate for Ortho-K?
While the Ortho-K lenses are a perfect treatment for slowing the progression of childhood Myopia and correcting nearsightedness, it can also help hyperopia and astigmatism. So if you suffer from any of these conditions, you are a great candidate to try Ortho-K treatment.
How Long Do Ortho-K Lenses Last?
The lenses are meant to be worn at night so you can see well on your own for the next day or two. Unfortunately, they are not necessarily a permanent solution. It is up to the patient to wear them on a regular nightly basis in order to receive the great daily effects of clear focus and vision. And if you take very good care of your lenses, they can last up to two years before replacing them, which costs $1,600.
Can You Wear Ortho-K Lenses During the Day?
Thought these lenses can be worn during the day, as they are similar to contact lenses and can stay put on the eye, they are more effective during sleep. This is due to the fact that they must focus on reshaping the cornea and must stay relatively still to do so. When wearing them during the day and being active with eye movement and blinking, this may cause agitation with the lenses.
Are Ortho-K Lenses Safe?
Ortho-K is a safe treatment so long as the patient is being monitored regularly and takes care of their lenses and eyes. Patients my experience redness, wateriness, or agitation when waking up. This is normal as the liquids on our eyes provide an exchange of nutrients and the interference with the use of lenses can cause them dryness or discomfort (and that's why the doctor always says not to wear your contacts to sleep).
Does Insurance Cover Ortho-K? How Much Does Ortho-K Cost?
At this time, insurance does not cover the Ortho-K lenses. Overall, the Ortho-K treatment comes at a price of $1,900, which includes custom-made Ortho-K lenses, fitting, and follow up appointments for up to one month.