Orthokeratology—What is It?

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-k for short, is a fantastic alternative to glasses or traditional contact lenses. It’s a reversible way to correct refractive error using overnight gas-permeable contact lenses to reshape the contour of the cornea while you sleep. The effect is similar to LASIK but without surgery and is completely reversible. These oxygen-intense, “breathable” lenses work to temporarily reverse the effects of myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism during the night so the wearer can experience clear vision the following day—without the use of glasses or contacts!

The Orthokeratology Process

Orthokeratology at COVE involves a four-step process:

1) Initial exam and consultation: Dr Karres will use a special instrument (topographer) to  map out your cornea’s unique surface, verify your uncorrected glasses prescription, as well as check the general health of the eyes. He will then discuss what to expect from orthokeratology and work with you to determine your goals. This typically takes about 20 minutes and there is no charge or obligation. 

2) Design: Dr Karres will personally create your custom designed lenses using the information from your exam, the topographer, and the consultation. The designs are sent to a specialty contact lens lab who get them to us in about a week.

3) Dispensing: We will teach you or your child how to properly apply and remove your lenses. We have many techniques to help even the most nervous new wearers leave being able to go forward with the treatment.

Most people are able to get a significant improvement in vision after one night of wear however full treatment can take several days to achieve.

4) Evaluation: Patients are normally seen at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months. We check the status of the treatment, the health of the eyes, and troubleshoot any issues that may come up. All these visits are included in the first year’s fees. If vision isn’t satisfactory we may have to re-design the lenses, if so this is also included in the fee so there are no hidden costs.

Candidates may wear disposable soft lenses or glasses throughout the day for the first few days while the eyes are being corrected. On completion of the treatment, only the prescribed overnight contacts need to be worn. Occasionally, candidates experience mild glaring and halos around bright light. Remember, there is always the risk of infection without proper eye and lens care, so practice good hygiene and schedule routine follow-up eye appointments!

Why Choose Orthokeratology For An Adult?

For those with myopia, astigmatism, or hyperopia, ortho-k can be a great option, especially for sports-related activities or when working in environments containing debris or dust. Ortho-k can also be an effective pre-LASIK treatment that can temporarily stall the need for corrective eye surgery. It is also a great option for people who have issues with dryness with contact lenses who do not want to wear glasses.

Why Choose Orthokeratology For A Child?

Orthokeratology has been shown by many studies to be a safe and effective way to slow down myopic (nearsighted) changes in children. People with higher myopia are at increased risk of open-angle glaucoma, retinal tears and detachments, and macular degeneration, all of which can lead to loss of vision and even blindness. Orthokeratology is a great way to help protect kid’s eyes for the rest of their lives.

How Costly is Ortho-k?

Unfortunately, most insurances do not cover the total cost of Ortho-k. Additionally, costs will vary depending on your eye doctor and your unique prescription. The general, two-set lens and appointment package can range anywhere from $1300 to $2400.

How Much Does Ortho-k Cost?

Most insurances do not cover the total cost of Ortho-k, and costs will vary depending on your unique prescription. Dr Karres will review your options with you and give you a precise cost for services before beginning treatment.

Typically, the package can range from $1300 to $2400. The price will include any and all visits for the first year related to ortho-k, and all lenses required to get satisfactory vision (we shoot for perfect on the first pair but if it takes more than one set you will not pay anything more).

Am I a Candidate for Ortho-k?

Almost certainly! Children who have increasing myopia are fantastic candidates for orthokeratology as it can sometimes help slow down the progression. Adults with myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia, or presbyopia may all be candidates as well. Ortho-k is also a wonderful alternative for those who are interested in seeing well without glasses or contacts but aren’t interested in LASIK or other eye surgeries.

Ask Your Doctor

If you have questions or concerns about Ortho-k, schedule an appointment with us here at Central Ohio Vision and Eyecare. Dr. Karres will be able to help you determine your candidacy, costs, benefits, and risks of the process.