What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology is a revolutionary non-surgical vision correction procedure that eliminates the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. It improves vision by gently reshaping your eye WHILE YOU SLEEP, using specially designed therapeutic eye retainer made of a highly gas permeable material. You just put the orthoK in at bedtime and when you awake, you will have clear, sharp, natural vision all day.
This safe and effective treatment can correct near-sightedness (including high prescriptions), and astigmatism. OrthoK is a safe and effective treatment for childhood progressive myopia. It is also a great alternative to LASIK, for those who don’t want the risk or are not ready for surgery.
How does Ortho-K work?
The retainer for Ortho-K is filled with a fluid which is then inserted into the eye just before bedtime. While you sleep, the lenses gently reshape the cornea to correct your vision, so you can see clearly without glasses or contact lenses when you’re awake. The OrthoK retainers are applied at bedtime and worn overnight. The effect is temporary – generally enough to get you through a day. So you must wear the reshaping retainers each night to maintain good vision during the day.
Is OrthoK approved by the FDA?
Yes, orthokeratology materials and orthokeratology for vision correction by the FDA since 2002. In May 2021, OrthoK has been approved for myopia control.
How are these different from regular contact lenses?
Ortho-K retainers are custom made and designed to specifically fit your child’s eye and prescription. They are hard retainers and may take some time getting used to them but after a few weeks they are less noticeable.
What type of results can you expect from Ortho-K?
The goal for Ortho-K is to correct your vision to 20/20 without eyeglasses or contact lenses during the day. In FDA trials, more than 65% of patients were able to achieve 20/20 visual acuity after wearing the reshaping lenses overnight. More than 90% were able to see 20/40 or better (the legal vision requirement for driving without glasses in most states) after one night.
Success rates for Ortho-K tend to be higher for mild to moderate prescriptions. Call our office for a consultation to find out if your prescription is within the range that can be successfully treated with Ortho-K.
Who is a candidate for Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology is a very good option for myopic (nearsighted) children and teens whose vision is progressively getting worse. Another good candidate is someone who does not want to wear contact lenses or glasses and are not good candidates for vision corrective surgery. People of any age can try the procedure, as long as their eyes are healthy. Ortho-K is particularly appealing because it can be discontinued at any time.
What age can my child start Ortho-K?
We have patients that range from 7 years old – 60 years old. If they are comfortable putting contact lenses in and taking them out then they will be ready for Ortho-K!
How do I know Ortho-K is the best option for my child?
Dr. Homa-Palladino will discuss with you and your child the different options for achieving myopia control. She will also gather a series of measurements that will help assess what type of treatment will be best.
Is there a minimum age requirement for Orthokeratology?
There is no lower age limit on the FDA approval for orthokeratology, which makes this treatment available for carefully selected children. The scientific literature supports contact lens treatment for some children as young as six years of age. Any child undergoing Ortho-K must have the aptitude and responsibility to adhere to proper lens care and hygiene, and this requires a careful and honest assessment by both the parents and the eye doctor. Most often children age 8-10 are mature enough to consider orthokeratology but there are cases where even younger children are offered this treatment option.
Does Ortho-K work for college students?
Absolutely! We fit many college students from the D1 athlete to the bookworm and it works great for them.
Is Ortho-K safe?
Yes, the FDA has validated the safety and efficacy of Ortho-K. But like all forms of contact lens treatment, eye irritation is possible. Most cases are minor and resolve on their own if Ortho-K wear is stopped and there is appropriate professional care. Still, there are rare and isolated reports of serious eye infection with overnight corneal reshaping where improper lens care and hygiene were suspected. This risk is minimized by adhering to scrupulous disinfection and care procedures, by wearing your retainers only as instructed and by coming in for regular progress.
Our patients receive a complete review of the benefits, risks, and alternatives during their consultation so that it is possible for you to make an educated decision to undergo Ortho-K.
How long does Ortho-K take?
Most people see improvement in your vision after a day or two of overnight Ortho-K, it can take several weeks for the full effect to last all day. During this time, your vision will not be as clear as it was with glasses or contacts. A few people may notice some glare and halos around lights at night. It is possible you may need a temporary pair of contact lenses for certain tasks, like driving at night, until your vision is fully corrected by the Ortho-K.
Are there any other requirements?
Sleep is essential, at least 6 hours continuously, more sleep will stabilize the vision later in the evening.
Do I have to the OrthoK every night?
The vast majority of patients need to wear their orthoK every night, especially if using them for myopia control. Otherwise, the effect wears off and the vision is decreased the next day.
The patient and parent/guardian must adhere to good hygiene, a commitment to buying proper solutions, adhering to handling and cleaning regimen and must be available for follow up appointments as prescribed by the Doctor.
Is OrthoK comfortable?
Since OrthoK GP retainers are worn with the eyes closed, during sleep, comfort and awareness are generally not a problem. OrthoK are not meant to be worn with the eyes open, even though vision with them on is good.
What is the cost of orthokeratology?
The cost for your Ortho-K program: initial fitting, professional care, follow-up and Ortho-K treatment lenses vary by complexity. After the first year, the annual cost of Ortho-K program is about the same as wearing traditional contact lenses or glasses. Ortho-k fitting and follow up is a significantly longer process than a regular contact lens fitting. It requires a series of office visits and potentially multiple pairs of retainers. The OrthoK retainer needs to be fit to the specific shape of a a person’s eye, which takes time to design and fabricate. Ortho-K materials and manufacturing are more costly than most regular contact lenses. Therefore, fees for orthokeratology are higher than fees for regular contact lens fittings.
Can I pay with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health care spending account (HSA) for Ortho-K?
An FSA or HSA allows you to allocate pre-tax dollars toward qualified healthcare expenses and may include Ortho-K. FSA/HSA is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows you to pay for eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis. Not all employers participate in these programs. Check with your Benefits Manager to see if your employer participates.
Does Ortho-K prevent myopia for getting worse?
Yes, there are numerous clinical studies that Ortho-K slows myopia progression.
Can I have LASIK after Ortho-K?
Yes, it’s possible to have LASIK surgery after orthokeratology. But because ortho-k lenses reshape your cornea, you must stop wearing the lenses for a period of time so your eyes can return to their original shape and stabilize. The amount of time to stabilize may be months, it depends on how quickly the cornea stabilizes. Be sure to tell your LASIK surgeon that you’ve worn Ortho-K lenses, so they can advise you how long you should wait before having the surgery.
OrthoK Program Fee FAQs
What is included in the OK yearly Program fee?
– One new set of OrthoK retainers, new plunger, travel size Clear Care with case.
– Ortho-K lens follow ups, including deep cleaning at 4 to 8 months.
How can I renew my Maintenance Plan?
Simply renew at your yearly exam or call our office at (610) 422-7999. Our staff will be happy to help you.
OrthoK for Athletes
Ortho-K allows athletes to perform without glasses or contacts.
Athletes at all levels use Ortho-K to restore their vision.
- Ortho-K allows athletes to have perfect vision all day long without the need for glasses or contacts.
- Athletes no longer need to worry about spare pairs of glasses or contact lenses.
- Ortho-K improves confidence during competition and eliminates dry eye symptoms caused by daily contact lens wear.
Athletes often find it difficult to wear contact lenses while playing sports, including:
- Swimming, diving, dancing, tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, lacrosse, football, golf, field hockey, figure skating, ice hockey, martial arts, gymnastics, cycling, skiing, snow boarding, rock climbing, fencing, horseback riding, polo, water polo, synchronized swimming, bowling, cricket, hunting, hiking, rugby, rowing, scuba diving, squash, volleyball, wrestling and more!
OrthoK versus LASIK
Ortho-K has been FDA approved since 2002 and has gained significant popularity in recent years. Unlike LASIK, Ortho-K requires no surgery whatsoever. As a result, Ortho-K is a preferred treatment over LASIK.
- LASIK requires that a patient’s vision remain stable for several years and you must be at least 18 years old.
- LASIK is a surgical procedure with risks. There may be negative side effects that are permanent.
- Complications from LASIK include halos from lights, glare, dry eye, and in some instances impaired vision.
Ortho-K is a great treatment for patients of any age, including adults, teens, and children. Ortho-K can provide young athletes clear vision without any permanent complications that may result from LASIK.
- Ortho-K works for patients of all ages, even those under 18 years old.
- Ortho-K can help control myopia progression in children.
- Ortho-K has no post-operative pain, and thus no post-operative medications are needed, such as steroids or antibiotics.
- Unlike LASIK, which is irreversible, Ortho-K can be completely reversed simply by no longer wearing the OrthoK.
*Please note: Each treatment needs to be monitored by the doctor and will require a few appointments throughout the year