There are millions of people in America who require glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly, including children. Although laser eye surgery is one way to treat most of these people, it isn’t always the most preferable way. It’s understand that you may be a little apprehensive about a surgery that involves prodding, jabbing and cutting out an organ of your own body. So, even though you may qualify for laser eye surgery, you mightn’t even want to go through. Or perhaps, you didn’t qualify in the first place, and now you’re thinking, are there any alternatives to laser eye surgery?
And in fact, there are. I have mentioned 2 alternatives to laser eye surgery already, but in this post I’ll just focus on orthokeratology lenses (aka Ortho-K). The other one is implantable contact lenses, which is still a form of eye surgery, but it there’s no cutting involved and it’s also reversible, unlike the other kinds of laser eye surgery.
To put it simply, Ortho-K lenses are very similar to regular contact lenses, except they’re smaller than the soft types and more oxygen permissible than the hard types. Also, Ortho-K lenses are one of the few types of contact lenses that you can wear overnight, and in fact, the whole purpose of Ortho-K lenses is that you should wear them overnight. This is because throughout your sleep, the Ortho-K lenses itself will reshape your cornea in the same way that laser eye surgery does, without actually removing any corneal material.
Orthokeratology lenses have been around since the 1980s and it hasn’t been until recently that more and more people are starting to realise that this is a really good alternative to laser eye surgery. It’s not as invasive, there’s virtually no complications involved and you don’t have to pay an eye surgeon tons of money to fix your eyesight.
On the other hand, Ortho-K lenses do not permanently repair your vision and you’ll have to keep using them in order to see clearly. In the short term, it’s cheaper than laser eye surgery, but if you intend to wear it for years to come, then the costs can really add up.
However, orthokeratology lenses are quite useful for children with refractive errors. This is because short sighted children tend to get worse vision as they grow older and their prescription doesn’t stabilise until they’re about in their mid 20s. So Ortho-K lenses can help reduce the progression of short sightedness in children and several studies have shown this to be true.
But the lenses are also appreciated by adults as well, who would not want something sharp perilously close to their eyes. Some say that it is like “magic”, that it is “very powerful” and almost like getting “instant vision”.
Like most procedures that attempt to improve eyesight (except cataract surgery), Ortho-K lenses are not covered by insurance. The lenses themselves cost about $1900 but it should last for quite some time, before you need to replace them.
At least Ortho-K isn’t as expensive as implantable contact lenses (ICL)!
The title may seem too good to be true, but it actually does exist. High quality FREE cataract surgery! Now you might think that there’s a catch, and there definitely is. This free cataract surgery is actually part of an initiative called Operation Eyesight that was created by the Minnesota Eye Consultants. The initiative helps those who are under or uninsured to get their cataract removed. So, if you do have adequate insurance, I don’t think you will qualify for this eye surgery.
All 20 spots for eye surgery have been filled, and there were 50 patients who applied for this program. If you want to try and get free eye surgery through the Operation Eyesight program, you can give the Minnesota Eye Consultants a call at 1-800-EYE-TO-EYE.
They also do free eye surgeries for glaucoma, corneal transplants and several others. In fact, the volunteers who work at the Minnesota Eye Consultants (headed by Dr. Thomas Samuelson), end up donating about $75,000 to $100,000 worth of eye surgeries per day. All the equipment is also donated so everything about this initiative is to genuinely help those in need.
The Operation Eyesight initiative is in its 10th year this year, so it looks like it’ll be staying for some time. Not only will you get clearer vision through this great program, but you will also get back your livelihood from these free eye surgeries.
As I said before, there are only 20 spots each year for those wanting to get free eye surgery. Give them a call at 1-800-EYE-TO-EYE to see if you qualify for next year.
Finding a great eye surgery deal can be quite an advantage, but you have to be sure that your LASIK surgeon is qualified enough to perform it in the first place. You don’t want to end up with major complications, such as chronic dry eyes or ectasia, after all the hard work you did in researching eye surgery. In the end, a better, even slightly more expensive eye surgeon, is the way to go since you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll be guaranteed clear vision with no scary side effects.
So how do you go about finding a credible LASIK surgeon? You will need to interview the surgeon first and ask many questions about the surgery. You will also need to ask questions about their credentials. If the LASIK surgeon is willing to explain everything thoroughly and truthfully to begin with, then you might not need to question them so intensely. But if you’re not sure about your decision, then you should ask some of these questions:
- How many years have you performed eye surgery? (The doctor should have performed eye surgery for at least 3 years)
- How many patients receive a UCVA score of 20/40 or better? (The doctor should answer around 90% or more)
- What percentage of patients receive a UCVA score of 20/20 or better right after the surgery? (Stats show that this should be around 50%)
- How many surgeries have you performed in the last 6 months? (This shouldn’t be less than 100)
- How many surgeries have you performed overall? (This should be at least 500 or more)
- Have you had any malpractice claims filed against you? (This should be a very low rate, like 1 in every 500 claims)
- Have you ever been denied malpractice insurance? (The answer should definitely be no, otherwise run away)
- Has your licence been suspended for any reason? (The answer should be no)
For the ones that ask about the surgeon’s malpractice record, you should be a little conservative about this, because asking too many questions about this can make you seem like a very distrustful and unfriendly person. The best malpractice question to ask would just be the licence suspension one, since if the surgeon’s licence has been suspended, it means that they’d intentionally caused harm on their own patients in the past. Combined with asking about their success rate, should be a good enough indicator to you if they are a trustworthy LASIK surgeon.
The important thing to realise is the eye surgeon needs to be open and willing to explain the surgery to you. If they do this, then it is almost certain that they are a good LASIK surgeon to have laser eye surgery with.