Orthokeratology / Ortho-K

What is Orthokeratology?

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K for short, is an FDA approved corneal refractive therapy that uses custom-fit, gas-permeable contact lenses to temporarily reduce nearsightedness.  This is accomplished through a safe, reversible corneal reshaping process that takes place while the patient sleeps.  Ortho-K is safe, fast, and non-surgical.

Who can benefit from Ortho-K?

Ortho-K is an excellent option for both children and adult patients, such as:

  • Patients who would like see without needing daytime glasses or contacts
  • Patients who would like a safe alternative to LASIK surgery
  • Children whose nearsightedness is progressively worsening year to year
  • Athletes

How does Ortho-K work?

Ortho-K lenses work by temporarily moving fluid in the central corneal epithelium out to the peripheral cornea, effectively flattening the cornea for a period of time.  To accomplish this, the patient wears a custom lens to sleep each night, at first to reshape the cornea, and then long-term to maintain the reshaping.

This idea of flattening the cornea is the same concept that is utilized in LASIK, but LASIK actually removes part of the cornea, which is non-reversible.  After going a week without wearing Ortho-K contact lenses, the cornea will return to its original shape and the starting prescription will return.

How long does it take to work?

The majority of the corneal reshaping process takes place within the first several weeks of wearing the contact lenses.  Patients will often notice improvement in there unaided vision within a couple of days.  Because of these rapid changes, new wearers will require a series of office visits during the first month of wear.  Once the appropriate lenses are fit, follow-ups are reduced, and long-term wearers simply need an annual exam.

For more detailed information regarding Ortho-K services in our practice, please download our Ortho-K Handout for CRH Vision.