Are you active in sports like soccer, football, or basketball? If so, you know that sharp vision is essential for peak performance out on the field or court. Unfortunately, glasses can often fall off in the middle of play, and the slightest disturbance or irritation can cause contacts to fall out or become uncomfortable to wear. So what’s the solution? Introducing ortho-k!
What Is Ortho-k?
Orthokeratology, or ortho-k, is an innovative non-invasive alternative to LASIK and other vision correction surgeries. It utilizes a custom-fit pair of orthokeratology contact lenses, which are inserted before bed each night. While you sleep, the specialized lenses gently reshape your cornea, the clear front part of your eye responsible for focusing incoming light. The next morning, you simply take out the orthokeratology lenses, and enjoy all-day crystal-clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Ortho-k is a great option for young athletes that may be too young for LASIK, as well as adult athletes that may not want to deal with time away from the game for post-operative recovery.
Benefits of Orthokeratology For Athletes
Ortho-k offers a wide range of benefits for athletes looking for a vision correction solution without the need for surgery, glasses, or contact lenses. Some major benefits include:
- Avoid the risk of scratches in and around the eye from broken glasses or torn contact lenses
- Avoid irritation from dirt and grime on contact lenses in the middle of the game
- A clear vision that lasts the whole day without concern that glasses may fall off or contacts fall out
Orthokeratology can have long-term benefits as well, by controlling myopia progression in young athletes. Myopia (nearsightedness) is an extremely common eye condition in children that can significantly increase their risk of eye disease later in life. Many of these diseases can have a devastating effect on an athlete’s ability to continue competing in their sport, making it all the more important to take every step possible to lower your child’s risk where possible.
Are There Risks or Side Effects to Orthokeratology?
Risks and side effects for orthokeratology lenses are no different than for any other type of contact lens. These include slight swelling of the cornea from infection or irritation, as well as dry, red, itchy, watery or gritty-feeling eyes.
However, the chances of experiencing these side effects is greatly reduced by practicing proper contact lens hygiene as instructed by your eye doctor.
Ortho-k’s ability to reshape the cornea poses no long-term risk, as discontinuing the use of the specialty orthokeratology lenses will cause the cornea to go back to its original shape within a few weeks.
How Much Does Orthokeratology Cost and Is It Covered By Insurance?
The cost of Ortho-k varies depending on how much your eyesight needs to be corrected, and whether you’re using it for long-term myopia management or simply for short-term vision correction. In general, however, most cases will cost somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000, though complicated cases can reach around $4,000.
Most major insurance providers consider orthokeratology lenses to be an optional expense, so some providers will only cover it partially, while others will not cover it at all.
Nonetheless, ortho-k remains an excellent choice for athletes who are looking for a non-surgical way to up their game by seeing clearly without the need of glasses or contacts.
Want to learn more about orthokeratology lenses and how they can help bring your game to the next level? Contact our eye doctors today!