If you are tired of waking up in the morning and not being able to see across the room, or fed up with stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night hoping that you do not run into the door, then you might want to consider Orthokeratology. Ortho-K is a simple, safe and much more inexpensive alternative to Lasik Eye Surgery. Unlike Lasik it doesn’t cost over six thousand dollars and the severe dryness that ALWAYS lasts months after Lasik is way milder and usually goes away within two weeks, if it occurs at all.
What is Ortho-K?
Ortho-K is a very simple procedure where you sleep in rigid gas permeable contact lenses at night. When you wake up, you take them off and you see clear all day. You do not need to put the lenses back in until you go to sleep the following night. The majority of people find they get uses to the feeling of the rigid gas permeable lens very quicklu and most report a decrease in dry eye because the Ortho-K lenses gently hold the tear layer on the cornea while sleeping. Lubricating drops can also help increase comfort before you put the lenses in, but once your eyes are closed you barely feel the lens, if at all. After a few days it will feel completely normal.
Ortho-K is an easy and safe procedure if you are a good candidate. The best candidates are patients who are nearsighted with not much astigmatism whose corneas are not too flat as evidenced on Dr. Taranto’s state of the art corneal topographer. The best ages for Ortho-K are ages 6 all the way up to 42 depending on your prescription. Ortho-K can also be performed on somebody who is in their early 40’s and has just lost their ability to read if the patient is mildly far-sighted. In some cases patients will not need bifocals or progressives because with both eyes open they will be able to see far away and up close without wearing glasses or contact lenses. Patients who have recently lost their ability to read up-close are also excellent candidates.
Side effects for Ortho-K are minimal with the most common being mild dry eyes. If this does occur it is easily treated with lubricating drops. The dryness usually only lasts for the first 10 days, if at all, whereas Lasik leaves your eyes feeling dry and irritated for months after the procedure.
Ortho-K is also inexpensive compared to Lasik. Laser eye surgery does not last forever and can often cause fuzzy side vision due to the halo effect from the flap after the surgery. You may see 20/20 but it is not a crisp clear 20/20.
Is Ortho-K Right For You?
Ortho-K is great for…
- Patients who are tired of wearing glasses and contacts to see.
- Children of parents who do not want their prescription to end up so high.
- Anybody who is into sports like swimming, running, cycling, basketball, dancing, gymnastics, baseball etc.
- Anybody who suffers from Dry Eye or allergies to dust and other things that contact lenses make worse.
Ortho-K and Myopia
Myopia is another name for nearsightedness. The prevalence of Myopia is growing around the world due to the increased technological advances in computer and cell phone use. 30% of the world is currently nearsighted and by 2050, almost 50% will be nearsighted, that’s approximately over 4 billion people! The U.S. reported the prevalence of Myopia at 42%, which is almost double what it was 3 decades ago. The more nearsighted we get the more likely we are at risk for Glaucoma, Cataracts, Macular Degeneration, and Retinal Detachments due to the continuous growth of the eyeball. Numerous published studies have shown that Ortho-K can help slow down the eyes from getting more nearsighted! Depending on your age, your prescription, and EXACTLY what your corneas look like after the Topography we can determine whether you are a good candidate.
What if I do the procedure and then next year I decide I want to wear glasses and soft contacts again? Will it be too late?
Absolutely not. If you stop the Ortho-K, your prescription will go back to what it was in a couple weeks. The good news is that your prescription will not be as bad as it would have been without Ortho-K.
The Next Steps
If you decide Ortho-K is right for you, then Dr. Taranto will fir you for your lenses. On average it will take about 10-14 days until Ortho-K has fully resculpted your cornea and your vision is excellent. In the meantime, Dr. Taranto can fit you with a temporary soft contact to help during the short transition period.
Does Insurance contribute to the cost of the procedure?
In most cases vision insurance will help contribute to the cost of the Ortho-K but the amount depends on your vision insurance. Others with and without vision insurance can use care credit which is a medical credit card that gives the patient 6 months of interest free financing to help pay for the cost of the procedure and the lenses.