A Guide to Ortho-k

Orthokeratology or ortho-k refers to specialty contact lenses worn overnight to correct eyesight. The specially fitted gas-permeable lenses reshape the cornea while the patient sleeps. It helps in delivering improved vision during the day. The treatment is proven effective for producing controlled but temporary changes to the cornea. It is safe for both children and adults and helps control myopia progression. 


Corneal Refractive Therapy


The cornea is the transparent lens that covers the front of the eye. It helps focus light effectively for good vision. Abnormal changes in the cornea affect the eye's ability to function correctly, resulting in a refractive error. 

Corneal refractive therapy (CRT) is a procedure that involves the use of contact lenses to reshape the cornea, correcting vision. The therapy corrects vision by reversing the changes in the cornea shape for a day or two. Eye specialists use corneal topography imaging to capture the shape of the cornea before designing custom-fit lenses. 



Ortho-k or CRT is recommended for people with myopia or slight astigmatism. The noninvasive procedure is effective as a myopia control technique that helps slow the progression of the condition. 

The treatment often involves multiple pairs of contact lenses worn for several weeks before corneal correction is achieved. The custom-fit lenses help correct refractive errors without the need for surgery. They provide temporary results, so the patient needs to continue wearing them to maintain improved vision. 


What Ortho-k Treats

Reshaping the cornea results in improved light focusing, allowing patients to have improved vision during the day. The cornea returns to its original shape when the patient stops wearing the lenses. Ortho-k lenses are usually prescribed for myopia or nearsightedness. 

They can help treat other vision issues, such as:

  • Hyperopia

  • Distant vision

  • Astigmatism and age-related presbyopia

The degree of the error will determine the effectiveness of the treatment. 


Good Candidates for Ortho-k


Ortho-k is a good option for patients with mild to moderate myopia. Most patients can achieve vision correction of up to 90 percent after using ortho-k. Most people with mild myopia achieve 5.0 diopters of correction. The lenses are ideal for various patients, including:

  • Those who do not qualify for refractive surgery

  • People who find it difficult to wear regular contact lenses due to various eye conditions

  • Individuals who cannot wear eyeglasses comfortably due to the nature of their work

  • Children going through vision changes who require myopia management

  • People looking for a temporary solution as they consider getting LASIK surgery


Results of Ortho-k Treatment 


Vision changes occur while the patient sleeps. Most improvement occurs after the first night, with smaller corrections arising with each subsequent use. Wearing the lenses as instructed is vital for the best results. 

Most patients need to change the lens prescription two or three times before achieving the desired improvement. After treating the condition, the patient must continue wearing the lenses regularly to preserve the gains. 

The effect of wearing ortho-k lenses lasts one or two days, depending on the patient's prescription. When treatment is discontinued, the refractive error gradually returns. Ortho-k is an effective and safe treatment thanks to new lens technology that allows adequate oxygen to reach the eyes. It reduces the risk of complications or side effects. Most people get used to wearing the lenses after a few hours. 

For more about ortho-k, visit Drs. Dobbins & Letourneau Eye Care at our Lawrence, Kansas office. Call (785) 843-5665 to schedule an appointment today.

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