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What is Ortho-K?
Ortho-K or Orthokeratology lenses are contact lenses with special features. These lenses change the shape of the cornea by rotating it, and thereby allowing you to see better. Ortho-K corneal allow people to have clearer vision without the need to have surgery. They can be a useful solution for people who do not like to have to put on their glasses or use their contact lenses constantly. Orthokeratology cannot provide you with a vision that will last forever. But assuming you use them properly, they can help you see better.
Orthokeratology glasses are used to treat near-sightedness (myopia). However, some patients have mild cases of astigmatism or far-sightedness (hyperopia). Doctors treat refractivity problems by prescribing glasses or using contact lenses or performing surgery such as LASIK or PRK to correct them.
Ortho-K is a good substitute if:
- You do not want a surgical approach like LASIK.
- You are not able to wear glasses or contact lenses all the time.
- Wearing contacts is impossible (e.g., if you play sports that need a contact).
FDA does not accept LASIK on patients who are less than 18 years old. People’s eyes will only change shape when they are older, but there are many possible complications if surgery is performed before they are ready. If you perform LASIK at a young age, the eyes will still change shape and there may be some surprising results. So, Ortho-K is a safe option for kids and adolescents.
How Ortho-K Works
The cornea is a transparent part of your eye that focuses light onto your retina. When a person’s corneas are not properly aligned, they will suffer from visual impairments such as hyperopia, myopia and also astigmatism.
If you have a refractive error, you can get better vision by wearing Ortho-K lenses that change the shape of your cornea to make it more even. Cornea reshaping improves the way light enters your eye, allowing you to see more clearly. It allows you to focus more clearly on an object, which makes it easier for your eyes to scan it.
Is Ortho-K Effective and Safe?
Ortho-K lenses are completely secure and harmless for people of all ages. Hundreds of studies have been conducted to show that wearing Ortho-K lenses can help prevent and treat myopia. Those who begin to wear an Ortho-K lens when they are younger (age 7 to 16) may be able to delay the progression of myopia. Researchers tracked their treatment over 12 years, and they found Ortho-K lenses were clinically safe.
Risks of Ortho-K
Putting Ortho-K on your eyes could cause you to get keratitis caused by bacteria if you do not properly wash your hands and properly care for your contact lenses, according to the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Studies have shown that Ortho-K risks are not worse than any other form of contact lens. You can have lower problems with your contacts if you regularly clean them with a solution that contains peroxide and water. Washing your hands well before using contact lenses is the best way to prevent contamination.
Cost of Ortho-K Lenses
Like many vision treatments, the cost of orthokeratology varies widely. The cost of your lenses will vary depending on many factors: where in the world you are, the doctor you choose, your insurance company and how many lenses you want or need.
It will cost people who have very little refractivity around $1,000 to $2,000 to have contacts put on both their eyes. Higher amounts of refractivity in your eyes can cause you to spend more than $1,000. It could cost you more than $4,000 to have them fitted.
There are different types of retainer lenses that are available, and each one costs around $300-500. You will need to have your eyes checked regularly and change your lenses every few years in order to keep having clear vision.
The price is including:
- Follow-up exams.
- Updated corneal-topography measurements.
- Updated, new or replacement lenses.
- Removal or modification of current lenses.
The vision and health insurance policies that you have will not cover Ortho-K treatments as they are electives. You may be able to use a health plan to help you pay for some prices of Ortho-K and the follow-up eye exam. Here are some health savings plans that you may want to join:
- FSA (Flexible Spending Account)
- HSA (Medical Spending Account)
- Section 125
- Flex 125
- Tax saving plan
- Cafeteria plan
Many companies will help you by providing a company-sponsored plan for employees health insurance and vision insurance.
When tax time is approaching, you can use the money that you received as a result of paying taxes to pay for Ortho-K treatments. You could possibly work out a payment plan with your eye care group by contacting them and asking them to give you a small payment each month or by raising the money for the treatment at home by establishing a crowdfunding site or by borrowing money with a credit card, and then gradually pay it down.