What is Ortho - K

Orthokeratology or Ortho-K is the fitting of specially designed, breathable contact lenses that are worn overnight. They are sometimes referred to as corneal re-shaping lenses. While you sleep, the lenses reshape the front surface of the eye (the cornea) so that you can see clearly in the morning when you remove your lenses.


Dr. Waleed Alsadi answers frequently asked questions about Orthokeratology

1. Please describe what Orthokeratology is and give a basic sense of how it works.

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is the use of specially designed and fitted contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea to improve vision. Ortho-K lenses are worn at night to reshape the front surface of the eye while you sleep. Vision improvements are reversible but can be maintained if you keep wearing the lenses as directed.

2. How does Ortho-K assist in treating myopia (nearsightedness)?

Ortho-K lenses work by flattening the center of the cornea, changing how light is bent as it enters the eye. These overnight lenses are rigid, gas-permeable lenses that are sturdy enough to reshape the cornea, but also allow oxygen through so your eye stays healthy.

3. What is the importance of slowing the progression of myopia?

Myopia is growing at an alarming rate with currently over 2.5 billion people worldwide struggling with this condition. This number is estimated to grow to 5 billion people by 2050. However, the concern isn’t just about being nearsighted. When someone is nearsighted, this increases other health risks such as early cataract development, 2-3x more likely to develop glaucoma, and a higher chance of retinal detachments.

4. Are the effects of Ortho-K instant?

Though you may see some improvement in your vision after a day or two of overnight Ortho-K, it can take several weeks for the full effect to be apparent. During this time, your vision will not be as clear as it was with glasses or contacts, and you are likely to notice some glare and halos around lights.

5. What is it about this particular technology that you find most exciting or the component that made you feel you need to use in this for your practice?

Although Ortho-K has been around for many years, the majority of patients have yet to hear about this technology. It is imperative for patients to understand what treatment options exist in order to slow down myopia progression. It is not just about being nearsighted, it is the health risks that come with it in the future.

6. How effective is it? What results can a patient expect from being treated with Ortho-k?

Ortho-K when used for partial or full correction of myopia, has been shown to slow myopic progression in children by 36-56% as compared to their spectacle or contact-lens wearing peers. In clinical studies of Food and Drug Administration-approved Ortho-K lenses, most patients achieved 20/40 or better.

7. Who is a good candidate for Ortho-K? From what age can a patient have Ortho-K?

Good candidates for Ortho-K would be young patients with a family history of myopia, patients who are showing early signs of myopia, or patients whose myopia has been progressing rapidly. Although there is no age limit to who can wear these lenses, we typically start patients around 7 years of age.

8. Is Ortho-k good for athletes?

Aside from the benefits Ortho-K provides, it is an excellent choice for athletes or anyone who enjoys clear vision without the need to rely on glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.

9. Is Ortho-K safe?

There is sufficient evidence to suggest that Ortho-K is a safe option for myopia control. The long-term success of Ortho-K treatment requires a combination of proper lens fitting, rigorous compliance to lens care regimen, good adherence to routine follow-ups, and timely treatment of complications.