Orthokeratology: Tracing Its Journey Through Time

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Orthokeratology: Tracing Its Journey Through Time

Reshaping Vision: The Evolutionary Journey of Orthokeratology

history of orthokeratology lenses

Orthokeratology, commonly known as OrthoK, represents a groundbreaking approach in vision correction, blending the realms of optometry and technology. This non-surgical method involves the use of specially designed contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea, improving vision. Its history is as fascinating as the science behind it, revealing a journey of innovation, challenges, and triumphs.

Key Takeaways:

  • OrthoK is a non-surgical vision correction method using specially designed contact lenses.
  • It has evolved significantly from its early days, incorporating advanced technology and materials.
  • OrthoK is particularly effective in controlling myopia progression.

Table of Contents:

  1. Early Days of Orthokeratology
  2. Development and Advancements
  3. Milestones in Orthokeratology
  4. Impact on Myopia Control
  5. Modern Orthokeratology Techniques and Innovations
  6. The Role of Technology in OrthoK Evolution
  7. OrthoK in Pediatric Myopia Management
  8. OrthoK Around the World
  9. The Future of OrthoK

Early Days of Orthokeratology

The roots of Orthokeratology (OrthoK) are deeply embedded in the early developments of contact lens technology in the 20th century. The initial observations that laid the groundwork for OrthoK were made when optometrist noted that glass contact lenses, which were the norm at the time, had the unintended effect of altering the shape of the cornea. These observations were intriguing but not immediately pursued for therapeutic purposes.

It wasn't until the 1960s that the concept of intentionally reshaping the cornea to correct vision began to take a more formal shape. This pivotal moment in the history of OrthoK was marked by the contributions of George Jessen, an innovative optometrist. Jessen introduced the concept he called "Orthofocus," which can be seen as a primitive precursor to modern OrthoK.

Jessen's Orthofocus was a novel idea, proposing that specially designed contact lenses could be used to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness). This was a significant departure from the primary use of contact lenses at the time, which was simply to serve as an alternative to eyeglasses for correcting vision.

However, the early design and material of these OrthoK lenses were quite rudimentary compared to today's standards. The lenses were made of glass, which, while effective in altering the cornea's shape, presented several challenges. One of the most significant issues was discomfort. The rigid and unyielding nature of glass lenses made them uncomfortable to wear, especially over extended periods. This discomfort was a major barrier to the widespread acceptance and use of Jessen's Orthofocus technique.

Additionally, these early OrthoK lenses required prolonged wear to achieve the desired corneal reshaping effect. Patients often had to wear the lenses for many hours, sometimes even during sleep, which was not ideal and posed risks such as the reduced oxygen transmission to the cornea, potentially leading to complications.

Despite these challenges, Jessen's work laid the foundation for what would become a significant field in optometry and ophthalmology. His pioneering efforts in using contact lenses for corneal reshaping opened the door for future innovations. Over the subsequent decades, advancements in materials science, particularly the development of gas-permeable lens materials, and a deeper understanding of corneal physiology would lead to significant improvements in OrthoK. These advancements have made OrthoK a much more comfortable, effective, and safer option for vision correction, particularly in controlling myopia progression in children.

early orthokeratology lens

In the early stages of Orthokeratology (OrthoK), the lenses were primarily made from a material known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). PMMA, a type of rigid plastic, was one of the first materials used for manufacturing contact lenses. While it was effective in reshaping the cornea to correct vision, PMMA had significant drawbacks due to its inherent properties.

One of the primary issues with PMMA lenses was their impermeability to oxygen. The cornea, unlike most tissues in the body, does not have its own blood supply and relies on oxygen diffusion from the air and from the tear film on its surface. PMMA lenses acted as a barrier to this oxygen transmission. When worn, especially for extended periods as required in early OrthoK treatments, these lenses deprived the cornea of necessary oxygen.

This lack of oxygen could lead to a condition known as corneal hypoxia. Prolonged oxygen deprivation resulted in various complications, the most common being corneal edema. Corneal edema is the swelling of the cornea due to fluid accumulation, which occurs when the cells of the cornea start to function poorly due to insufficient oxygen. Symptoms of corneal edema include blurred vision, halos around lights, eye discomfort, and in severe cases, significant pain due to swelling.

Moreover, the oxygen-impermeable nature of PMMA lenses also increased the risk of other corneal problems such as corneal neovascularization, where new blood vessels begin to grow into the cornea from the limbus in an attempt to increase oxygen supply. This condition can lead to a permanent reduction in visual acuity.

The challenges posed by PMMA lenses in OrthoK were not trivial. They limited the duration that lenses could be safely worn and necessitated a careful balancing act between effective corneal reshaping and maintaining corneal health. These limitations highlighted the need for better materials that could allow oxygen to pass through, leading to the development and eventual adoption of gas-permeable materials in later years.

The evolution from PMMA to gas-permeable lenses was a significant milestone in the field of OrthoK. It addressed the major issue of oxygen permeability, allowing for safer and more comfortable lens wear. This advancement was crucial in making OrthoK a viable and popular option for non-surgical vision correction and myopia control, especially in pediatric patients.

Development and Advancements

The 1970s and 1980s were pivotal decades in the evolution of Orthokeratology (OrthoK), marked by significant advancements that fundamentally changed the practice and effectiveness of this vision correction technique. One of the most transformative developments during this period was the introduction of rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lens materials. This innovation addressed one of the major limitations of the earlier PMMA lenses: their lack of oxygen permeability.

RGP lenses are made from silicone acrylate or fluorosilicone acrylate, materials that allow significantly more oxygen to reach the cornea compared to PMMA. This increased oxygen transmission greatly reduced the risk of corneal hypoxia and related complications, such as corneal edema and neovascularization. As a result, RGP lenses could be worn more comfortably for longer periods, making them more suitable for OrthoK, which typically requires overnight wear.

Another key figure during this era was Dr. Richard Wlodyga, who, along with other pioneers in the field, developed the first reverse zone lens design. This design was a major improvement over the earlier OrthoK lenses. The reverse zone lens featured a central area that was flatter than the peripheral cornea, surrounded by a steeper secondary curve. This design allowed for a more controlled and effective reshaping of the cornea, enhancing the vision correction capabilities of OrthoK lenses. Additionally, the improved lens design led to enhanced comfort for the wearer and reduced the time needed to achieve the desired corneal reshaping, making OrthoK a more convenient and appealing option for patients.

The 1970s and 1980s also witnessed the convergence of new technology and a growing understanding of corneal physiology, which together facilitated more sophisticated and effective lens designs. One of the most notable technological advancements was the introduction of computerized corneal topography in OrthoK. Corneal topography is a non-invasive imaging technique that creates a detailed map of the curvature of the cornea. This technology was a game-changer for OrthoK, as it allowed for a much more precise and individualized fitting of lenses.

With computerized corneal topography, optometrist could obtain detailed measurements of the corneal surface, identifying subtle variations in curvature and shape that were not detectable with previous methods. This level of detail enabled the creation of custom-designed OrthoK lenses tailored to the specific topography of each patient's eyes. As a result, OrthoK became more effective, with improved outcomes in terms of vision correction and comfort.

The advancements in lens materials, design, and fitting technology during the 1970s and 1980s were crucial in transforming OrthoK from a niche procedure with limited appeal to a mainstream option for non-surgical vision correction. These developments laid the groundwork for further innovations in OrthoK, setting the stage for its emergence as a key method for controlling myopia progression, especially in children and adolescents.

modern orthokeratology lens

Milestones in Orthokeratology

The early 2000s marked a watershed moment in the history of Orthokeratology (OrthoK) with a pivotal milestone: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for the use of overnight OrthoK in the control of myopia. This approval represented a significant endorsement of OrthoK's efficacy and safety and was a turning point in its acceptance as a mainstream vision correction method.

The FDA's approval was not a decision made lightly; it was grounded in a substantial body of independent scientific research. Numerous studies had been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of overnight OrthoK in controlling myopia, a common refractive error characterized by blurred distance vision. These studies demonstrated that wearing OrthoK lenses overnight could effectively flatten the cornea, temporarily correcting myopia, and thereby reducing the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. Importantly, the research also showed that when administered correctly and with proper hygiene practices, OrthoK was a safe procedure with a low risk of complications.

This FDA approval was particularly significant because it opened the door for wider use of OrthoK, especially among children and adolescents. Myopia is known to progress throughout childhood and adolescence, and the ability to control its progression was a major advancement in eye care. OrthoK became a valuable tool in managing myopia, potentially reducing the risk of high myopia-related complications later in life, such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.

Around the same time, another significant advancement was taking shape: the development of digital systems for lens design. This technological innovation revolutionized the way OrthoK lenses were crafted. Prior to this, lens design was more generalized and less precise. Digital lens design systems allowed for a level of customization and precision that was previously unattainable. Optometrist could now design lenses based on the exact topography of an individual's cornea, measured using advanced corneal topography equipment.

This precision in lens design was particularly beneficial for patients with higher degrees of myopia and those with astigmatism, a refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Traditional OrthoK lenses were less effective in treating these conditions. However, with digital lens design, OrthoK lenses could be tailored to correct more complex refractive errors more effectively.

The creation of these customized lenses meant that OrthoK could now offer a viable vision correction solution to a broader range of patients. People who were previously not ideal candidates for OrthoK due to the severity or complexity of their refractive errors could now potentially benefit from this non-surgical approach to vision correction.

In summary, the early 2000s were a period of significant progress for OrthoK. The FDA's approval for overnight use in myopia control validated the method's effectiveness and safety, while the advent of digital lens design systems expanded its applicability and precision. These developments collectively enhanced OrthoK's profile as a safe, effective, and versatile option for vision correction and myopia management.

advanced lens technology

Impact on Myopia Control

The impact of Orthokeratology (OrthoK) on myopia control has been one of its most significant contributions to eye care, particularly in the pediatric population. Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a growing global concern, with increasing prevalence in children and adolescents. The ability of OrthoK to not only correct myopia but also to slow down or even halt its progression represents a major breakthrough in managing this condition.

Slowing Down Myopia Progression

Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of OrthoK in controlling myopia progression. Research indicates that OrthoK can reduce the rate of myopia progression by up to 50%. This is particularly significant in the context of pediatric myopia, where early intervention can have long-term benefits. Myopia typically progresses during childhood and adolescence, and the ability to slow this progression can mean a lower final degree of myopia in adulthood.

The mechanism behind OrthoK's effectiveness in myopia control is related to the way it reshapes the cornea. By temporarily flattening the central cornea, OrthoK lenses change the way light rays are focused on the retina. This altered focus is believed to reduce the stimulus for the eye to elongate, which is a key factor in the progression of myopia.

Beyond Vision Correction: Preventing Future Eye Health Issues

OrthoK's role extends beyond mere vision correction; it plays a crucial part in preventing future eye health issues associated with high myopia. High myopia increases the risk of several serious eye conditions, including retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic maculopathy. By controlling myopia progression in childhood, OrthoK can reduce the likelihood of these conditions developing later in life.

Retinal detachment, for instance, occurs more frequently in highly myopic eyes due to the stretching and thinning of the retina. Similarly, the risk of glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased pressure inside the eye that can lead to optic nerve damage, is also higher in individuals with high myopia. By keeping myopia progression in check, OrthoK indirectly contributes to the reduction of these risks.

Long-Term Benefits and Quality of Life

The long-term benefits of OrthoK in myopia control extend to improved quality of life. Children and adolescents treated with OrthoK experience the immediate benefit of clear daytime vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. This can boost their confidence, especially in social and academic settings, and allow them to participate more freely in sports and other activities.

Moreover, by potentially reducing the severity of myopia in the long term, OrthoK can lessen the dependence on corrective eyewear or the need for more invasive interventions, such as refractive surgery, in adulthood.

Modern Orthokeratology Techniques and Innovations

Modern Orthokeratology (OrthoK) has undergone a remarkable transformation, driven by continuous advancements in technology and a deeper understanding of ocular physiology. The OrthoK lenses of today bear little resemblance to their early counterparts, both in terms of design and the materials used. These advancements have not only enhanced the effectiveness of OrthoK but have also significantly improved patient comfort and expanded its applicability to a wider range of visual impairments.

Advanced Design and Material Innovations

Modern OrthoK lenses are crafted using sophisticated algorithms that take into account the unique topography of each patient's cornea. This level of customization is made possible by advanced computer-aided design (CAD) software, which allows for precise modeling of the lens in accordance with the specific curvature and refractive error of the individual's eye. This precision ensures a more effective and comfortable fit, leading to better vision correction outcomes.

The materials used in contemporary OrthoK lenses have also evolved. Today's lenses are made from highly oxygen-permeable materials, such as silicone acrylates or fluorosilicones. This permeability is crucial as it allows for adequate oxygen transmission to the cornea, reducing the risk of hypoxia-related complications and making overnight wear safer and more comfortable. The improved breathability of these materials means that most patients adapt quickly to wearing OrthoK lenses, often experiencing significant improvements in vision after just one night of wear.

Enhanced Comfort and Rapid Vision Improvement

The comfort level of modern OrthoK lenses is a significant improvement over earlier versions. The combination of custom-fit design and breathable materials minimizes the sensation of having a foreign object in the eye, a common complaint with earlier lens types. This comfort, coupled with the rapid vision improvement that many patients experience, has contributed to the growing popularity of OrthoK as a preferred method of vision correction, particularly for individuals who are not candidates for or are hesitant about laser eye surgery.

Expanding the Scope: Presbyopia and Hyperopia

One of the most exciting developments in modern OrthoK is the expansion of its scope beyond myopia control. Innovations in lens design now allow OrthoK to be used in the treatment of presbyopia and hyperopia (farsightedness). Presbyopia, the age-related loss of near focusing ability, and hyperopia have traditionally been more challenging to correct with contact lenses. However, new OrthoK lens designs are being developed to specifically address these conditions.

For presbyopia, multifocal OrthoK lenses have been introduced. These lenses have different zones designed to correct vision at various distances, much like multifocal eyeglasses or contact lenses. This allows individuals with presbyopia to see clearly at all distances, reducing or eliminating the need for reading glasses.

In the case of hyperopia, the challenge lies in creating a lens that can effectively reshape the cornea to focus light more directly onto the retina. Advances in lens technology and design are making this increasingly possible, offering a non-surgical solution to individuals with hyperopia.

The Role of Technology in OrthoK Evolution

The integration of advanced technology in Orthokeratology (OrthoK) has been a cornerstone in its evolution, significantly enhancing its efficacy, safety, and accessibility. Two key technological advancements have been particularly influential: advanced corneal topography systems and computer-aided lens design. These innovations have transformed OrthoK from a relatively crude method of vision correction into a highly sophisticated, customized treatment.

Advancements in Corneal Topography

Corneal topography represents one of the most significant technological advancements in the field of OrthoK. This technology involves the use of specialized equipment to create a detailed map of the cornea's surface. Unlike traditional methods, which provided a limited view of the cornea, corneal topography offers a comprehensive and detailed image, capturing every nuance of the cornea's shape and curvature.

This detailed mapping is crucial for OrthoK because the effectiveness of the treatment hinges on the precise reshaping of the cornea. Corneal topography allows practitioners to understand the unique characteristics of each patient's eyes, enabling them to design OrthoK lenses that are tailored to the individual's specific corneal topography. This customization leads to better outcomes in terms of vision correction, as well as greater comfort for the patient, since the lenses are designed to fit the unique contours of their cornea.

Computer-Aided Lens Design

Complementing corneal topography is the use of computer-aided design (CAD) in the manufacturing of OrthoK lenses. CAD technology has brought a level of precision to lens design that was previously unattainable. With CAD, optometrist can create lenses that are precisely calibrated to correct the individual's specific refractive error and to fit their unique corneal shape.

This precision is particularly important in OrthoK, where the goal is to temporarily reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The CAD technology takes into account the data obtained from corneal topography, allowing for the creation of a lens that applies the exact amount of pressure needed to reshape the cornea effectively. This not only enhances the effectiveness of the treatment but also minimizes the risk of complications, as the lenses are designed to fit perfectly on the patient's eye.

Impact on Treatment Efficacy and Patient Comfort

The combination of advanced corneal topography and computer-aided lens design has had a profound impact on the efficacy and safety of OrthoK. Patients now enjoy a higher success rate with OrthoK, achieving better vision correction with a lower risk of adverse effects. Additionally, the increased precision and customization have made OrthoK a more comfortable and convenient option for patients, contributing to its growing popularity as a non-surgical alternative to laser eye surgery.

Broadening the Scope of OrthoK

These technological advancements have also broadened the scope of OrthoK, making it a viable option for a wider range of patients. With the ability to design lenses for a variety of refractive errors and corneal shapes, OrthoK can now be offered to patients who might not have been considered suitable candidates in the past. This inclusivity has expanded the reach of OrthoK, allowing more individuals to benefit from this innovative method of vision correction.


OrthoK in Pediatric Myopia Management

Orthokeratology (OrthoK) has emerged as a significant and effective strategy in the management of pediatric myopia, a concern that has been growing globally due to its increasing prevalence and the potential for serious ocular complications later in life. The ability of OrthoK to control the progression of myopia in children represents a major advancement in pediatric eye care.

Clinical Studies and Evidence

The role of OrthoK in pediatric myopia management is backed by a robust body of clinical evidence. Numerous studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of OrthoK in slowing down the progression of myopia in children. These studies have consistently shown positive results, with many indicating a significant reduction in the rate of myopia progression among children who use OrthoK lenses compared to those who use traditional eyeglasses or contact lenses.

One of the mechanisms by which OrthoK is believed to control myopia progression is through the reshaping of the central cornea, which in turn alters the way light focuses on the peripheral retina. This alteration is thought to reduce the stimulus for the eye to elongate, which is a key factor in the progression of myopia.

These clinical studies are instrumental in establishing OrthoK not just as a method for temporary vision correction, but as a vital component of myopia management strategies, especially in pediatric patients. The evidence from these studies has led to a growing acceptance of OrthoK among optometrist as a safe and effective method for controlling myopia progression in children.

Real-World Impact

The real-world impact of OrthoK in controlling pediatric myopia has been profound and far-reaching. For many children, OrthoK has provided a means to achieve clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses, which can be particularly beneficial for their self-esteem, social interactions, and participation in physical activities.

Beyond the immediate benefits of improved vision and convenience, OrthoK offers long-term advantages. By controlling myopia progression during the critical growing years, OrthoK can reduce the risk of developing high myopia and its associated complications, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, and myopic maculopathy, later in life. This preventative aspect of OrthoK makes it a valuable tool in safeguarding the future ocular health of children with myopia.

Educational Resources and Further Reading

For parents, guardians, and patients seeking more information on the role of OrthoK in pediatric myopia management, educational resources are available. One such resource is the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clear, which offers an informative article on Orthokeratology. This article provides insights into how OrthoK works, its benefits in controlling myopia, and what patients can expect from the treatment.

Read more about OrthoK's role in myopia control in this BCLA Clear article.

In conclusion, OrthoK has established itself as a key strategy in pediatric myopia management, offering a non-invasive, effective, and safe option for controlling myopia progression in children. Its impact extends beyond immediate vision correction, playing a crucial role in reducing the risk of future ocular complications associated with high myopia. As research continues and technology advances, OrthoK's role in myopia management is likely to become even more integral in pediatric eye care.

OrthoK Around the World

Orthokeratology (OrthoK) has seen a remarkable rise in popularity across the globe, becoming a widely accepted and sought-after method for vision correction and myopia control. Its global spread underscores its universal appeal and effectiveness, transcending cultural and regional boundaries.

Adoption in Asia

In Asian countries, particularly in China, Japan, and South Korea, OrthoK has experienced significant adoption. This trend is largely driven by the high prevalence of myopia in these regions. Studies have shown that myopia is particularly common in East and Southeast Asian countries, with rates significantly higher than in other parts of the world. For instance, in some urban areas of East Asia, the prevalence of myopia in young adults can be as high as 80-90%.

Given this context, OrthoK has emerged as a popular and effective method for controlling myopia progression, especially in children and adolescents. The non-surgical nature of OrthoK, combined with its proven efficacy in slowing down myopia progression, makes it an attractive option for parents and guardians looking to manage their children's myopia. The high adoption rate in these countries reflects not only the growing awareness of myopia as a public health concern but also the acceptance and trust in OrthoK as a safe and effective treatment option.

Expansion to Other Regions

OrthoK's reach is not limited to Asia; it is also gaining traction in Western countries. In regions like North America, Europe, and Australia, more and more optometrists are beginning to offer OrthoK as a treatment option. This expansion is indicative of OrthoK's growing reputation as a reliable and advanced method for vision correction and myopia control.

In Western countries, the appeal of OrthoK is multifaceted. For individuals seeking an alternative to glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery, OrthoK offers a viable and attractive option. Additionally, the increasing awareness of myopia as a condition that can and should be managed from an early age is driving interest in OrthoK as a preventive strategy.

The global spread of OrthoK is also facilitated by the sharing of knowledge and best practices among optometrists worldwide. International conferences, research publications, and professional networks play a significant role in disseminating information about the latest advancements and techniques in OrthoK, further fueling its adoption across different regions.


OrthoK's journey from a niche treatment to a globally recognized method for vision correction and myopia control is a testament to its effectiveness and safety. Its growing popularity worldwide reflects a universal need for non-invasive, effective solutions to manage myopia and other refractive errors. As OrthoK continues to evolve with advancements in technology and research, its role in global eye care is likely to become even more prominent, benefiting patients across diverse populations and regions.

The Future of OrthoK

The future of Orthokeratology (OrthoK) is poised for exciting developments, driven by technological advancements and a deepening body of research. As we look ahead, the potential for innovation in lens design, treatment protocols, and a broader understanding of OrthoK's mechanisms promises to enhance its efficacy and accessibility, making it an even more integral part of vision care.

Innovations on the Horizon

Emerging technologies in the field of eye care are set to bring about more sophisticated OrthoK lenses and treatment strategies. One area of innovation is the development of smart lenses equipped with sensors to monitor eye health and the effectiveness of the OrthoK treatment in real-time. These smart lenses could provide valuable data to eye care professionals, allowing for more personalized and effective treatment plans.

Another area of potential advancement is in the materials used for OrthoK lenses. Researchers are continually exploring new materials that offer greater oxygen permeability and comfort, which could further reduce the risk of complications and improve the overall patient experience.

Additionally, there is ongoing research into expanding the range of refractive errors that can be effectively treated with OrthoK. While OrthoK is currently used primarily for myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, future innovations may make it a viable option for more complex and higher degrees of refractive errors.

Expanding Research and Understanding

The future of OrthoK also lies in the expanding body of research that continues to deepen our understanding of how OrthoK works, particularly in the area of myopia control. Ongoing studies are exploring the long-term effects of OrthoK on eye health, its efficacy in different age groups, and the mechanisms behind its ability to slow down myopia progression.

This research is crucial in refining treatment protocols and making OrthoK a more tailored and effective treatment option. For instance, understanding the optimal duration and frequency of OrthoK lens wear for different patients can lead to more personalized treatment plans, maximizing the benefits while minimizing any risks.

Moreover, as our understanding of the relationship between lifestyle factors (such as screen time and outdoor activity) and myopia progression deepens, OrthoK treatment can be integrated into a more holistic approach to myopia management. This could involve combining OrthoK with other strategies, such as lifestyle modifications and pharmacological interventions, to provide a comprehensive solution to managing myopia.


The future of OrthoK is undoubtedly bright, with continuous advancements in technology and research paving the way for more effective, comfortable, and accessible treatments. As the field evolves, OrthoK is set to become an even more important tool in the eye care professional's arsenal, offering a non-surgical, reversible, and effective solution for a wide range of refractive errors. The ongoing innovations and research in OrthoK not only promise better outcomes for patients but also signify the dynamic and evolving nature of vision care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is OrthoK?

OrthoK, short for Orthokeratology, is a non-surgical vision correction method. It involves wearing specially designed, gas-permeable contact lenses overnight. These lenses gently reshape the cornea, the front surface of the eye, temporarily correcting refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. This reshaping allows for clear vision during the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

How does OrthoK control myopia?

OrthoK lenses work by gently and temporarily reshaping the cornea. In the case of myopia control, these lenses specifically alter the way light focuses on the retina. By creating a specific shape on the cornea, OrthoK lenses can change the focus of light in a way that reduces the stimulus for the eye to grow longer, which is a key factor in the progression of myopia. This effect is particularly beneficial in children and adolescents, as it can slow down or even halt the progression of myopia during their growing years.

Is OrthoK safe?

Yes, OrthoK is considered a safe method of vision correction when performed under the supervision of a qualified optometrist. It is crucial to have a thorough eye examination before starting OrthoK to ensure suitability for the treatment. Once on the treatment, regular follow-ups are essential to monitor eye health and the effectiveness of the lenses. Proper lens care, including cleaning and handling, is also vital to prevent eye infections and maintain overall eye health. Like any contact lens treatment, there are risks involved, but these can be minimized with proper care and supervision.

Can adults use OrthoK?

Absolutely. While OrthoK is often highlighted for its benefits in controlling myopia progression in children and adolescents, it is also an effective vision correction option for adults. Adults who are not good candidates for laser eye surgery or who prefer a non-surgical approach can benefit from OrthoK. It provides the convenience of clear daytime vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

How long does it take to see results with OrthoK?

The time it takes to see results with OrthoK can vary from person to person. Some patients notice improved vision after a single night of lens wear, while others may take a few days to a week to achieve optimal vision correction. The speed of vision improvement depends on factors like the degree of refractive error and individual corneal characteristics.

Are OrthoK effects permanent?

No, the effects of OrthoK are temporary. Once you stop wearing the lenses, the cornea will gradually return to its original shape, and the refractive error will reappear. This is why the lenses need to be worn regularly, typically every night, to maintain the vision correction. This reversibility is one of the advantages of OrthoK, as it does not permanently alter the cornea like laser eye surgery.

Can OrthoK lenses be worn during the day?

OrthoK lenses are primarily designed for overnight wear to reshape the cornea while you sleep. However, there are some types of OrthoK lenses that can be worn for shorter periods or during the day, depending on the specific treatment protocol and the individual's needs. Your optometrist can provide guidance on the best wearing schedule for your situation.


The evolution of Orthokeratology (OrthoK) from its early beginnings to its current standing as a pivotal solution in vision correction and myopia control is a testament to the relentless pursuit of innovation, scientific inquiry, and clinical advancement. This journey reflects the dedication of researchers, optometrists, and industry experts who have worked tirelessly to refine and enhance this technology for the benefit of patients worldwide.

OrthoK's story is marked by significant milestones: from the initial observation of corneal reshaping capabilities to the development of advanced lens materials and designs, and the integration of cutting-edge technologies like corneal topography and computer-aided lens design. Each of these developments has contributed to making OrthoK a more effective, safe, and accessible option for individuals seeking vision correction.

Looking ahead, the future of OrthoK is bright with potential. Continuous advancements in technology and a growing body of research are set to further enhance its efficacy and broaden its application. Particularly in the realm of pediatric myopia management, OrthoK stands out as a beacon of hope. It offers a non-invasive, reversible, and effective means of controlling myopia progression in children, potentially preventing the onset of high myopia and its associated risks later in life.

As OrthoK continues to evolve, it promises to play an increasingly significant role in global eye care, offering a viable alternative to traditional vision correction methods and contributing to the overall well-being and quality of life of those with refractive errors.

For those interested in delving deeper into the world of Orthokeratology, a wealth of information is available through academic and clinical resources. One such resource is the University of New South Wales - Optometry, which offers comprehensive insights into the science, application, and advancements in OrthoK. This platform provides an excellent opportunity for patients, practitioners, and students to expand their knowledge and understanding of this fascinating field.

Explore more about Orthokeratology at the University of New South Wales - Optometry.

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