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Orthokeratology in Tucson

Orthokeratology (or Vision Shaping, commonly referred to as ortho-k) is a treatment that involves the reshaping of the cornea to correct myopia (nearsightedness). This is achieved by wearing rigid gas permeable contact lenses overnight to shape the cornea.

Orthokeratology is becoming more and more requested as an alternative to regular contact lenses or eyeglasses, as well as the most popular non-surgical alternative to LASIK. Given that it is less invasive, less risky and much less costly overall, many of our patients prefer the ortho-k method and have experienced successful vision correction as a result. Ortho-k lenses are also entirely safe for children, which makes them a great choice for helping kids correct myopia before they reach adulthood.

Our eye care specialists at National Eye & Ear are skilled at fitting all types of contact lenses -- including ortho-k lenses for myopia control.

How Does Orthokeratology (Ortho-k) Work?

Healthy vision (also referred to as 20/20 vision) occurs when light enters the eye through the cornea, contacts the retina and then sends a signal to the brain to tell it what is being seen. If your cornea is shaped irregularly, the light that contacts your retina will be refracted incorrectly. This is called a refractive error, which results in blurred vision.

Vision Shaping (ortho-k) lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses that reshape the cornea while you sleep to correct a refractive error. In the morning, the lenses are removed. Since the lenses have shaped the cornea overnight, this allows light to enter the cornea and refract properly, thus giving the patient clearer vision. Since no treatment is required during the day, ortho-k lenses also offer a higher level of comfort when compared to regular contact lenses.

What To Expect With Orthokeratology Treatment

When you begin ortho-k treatment, Dr. Reichardt will begin the process by taking measurements of the curvatures of your corneas. This will provide her with a detailed map of your eyes’ surfaces so she can design contact lens for you and schedule a fitting for a later date once the contacts have been made.

For best results, ortho-k lenses must be custom-fitted based on the measurements taken during the patient’s contact lens fitting assessment. Patients may need to try a series of temporary lenses before using their desired prescription. Usually, this requires around three pairs of lenses to achieve maximum vision correction.

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How Much Do Orthokeratology Lenses Cost?

One of the biggest questions patients usually have about using orthokeratology lenses is regarding their cost. The overall cost of ortho-k treatment can vary depending on the severity of a patient’s refractive error. Average prices usually range between $1,800 to $3,000, but the final price is usually determined by Dr. Reichardt. With that being said, however, the cost for ortho-k treatment is roughly half the cost of LASIK!

It is important to consider that fitting ortho-k lenses requires more expertise and is far more time-consuming than a regular contact lens fitting. Guaranteeing the best results from ortho-k lenses means that a series of visits are required to make sure Dr. Reichardt is keeping up with your progress. Your treatment may also involve multiple sets of lenses to achieve your desired results.

For more questions about the costs of ortho-k lenses, contact our eye care specialists at Tucson Eye & Ear. We are happy to come up with the best value and plan to suit your needs!

Who Is A Good Candidate For Orthokeratology Lenses?

Adults

Adults with mild-to-moderate myopia are typically good candidates for ortho-k lenses. As an adult, the corneal reshaping effects are temporary, which means little risk is involved with the process. Should they wish to, adult patients can stop wearing the lenses at any time and the cornea will revert back to its previous shape.

If you are someone who doesn’t want to undergo vision correction surgery, ortho-k lenses are an ideal non-surgical alternative to LASIK. Ortho-k lenses have a much lower risk factor than invasive surgery, while at the same time offering many of the same advantages as LASIK. This is largely due to the fact that, unlike with LASIK, the effects of ortho-k are reversible.

Children

Ortho-k lenses are also a suitable option for children, which makes them a common method of treatment used by pediatric eye specialists. As children’s vision is still under development until they reach adulthood, LASIK or other types of invasive eye surgery are typically not performed on patients under the age of 18.

For this same reason, ortho-k lenses are an excellent way to correct myopia in children and are an ideal non-surgical alternative to LASIK, regular contact lenses or even eyeglasses. When worn consistently during the critical stages of eye development, ortho-k lenses can prevent myopia from worsening with age. Treating children with ortho-k lenses also helps prevent more severe eye diseases from developing as they get older.

Patients who are not good candidates for ortho-k are those who:

  • Suffer from dry eye
  • Have severe cases of myopia or astigmatism
  • Have abnormally shaped cornea(s)
  • Have any sort of disease or condition affecting the eyelid or cornea conjunctiva

Do ortho-k lenses sound like a suitable vision correction treatment for you or your child? Our eye care specialists at National Eye & Ear of Tucson are ready to help you find out. To learn more about ortho-k lenses, contact us today!

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