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Orthokeratology: No Daytime Contacts, No Surgery, No Glasses!

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What is Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)?

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) is an FDA-approved process of wearing rigid gas permeable contact lenses to reshape the cornea while sleeping at night. Upon wakening the contact lenses are removed and the patient can see clearly all day without the use of traditional contact lenses or glasses. The specially designed contact lenses are worn on a nightly basis to maintain clear and crisp vision during the day.  Ortho-k lenses are used to correct myopia with mild to moderate amount of astigmatism. Ortho-K is a reversible process; discontinuation of the lenses will result in loss of reshaping of the cornea.  Just like the use of a retainer after wearing braces on teeth,  the lenses must be worn in a nightly basis to achieve effectiveness.

Is Ortho-K right for me or my child?

Ortho-K was developed for children and adults who are nearsighted or cannot see things at a distance without corrective lenses.  Nearsightedness can develop more rapidly during childhood.  Studies show that Ortho-K can reduce the progression of myopia by as much as 40-50%.  

Ortho-K is a great option for those who:

  • Play sports
  • Want freedom from daytime contacts and glasses
  • Work in dusty environments
  • Cannot wear daytime contacts due to discomfort

Is Ortho-K similar to LASIK?

Ortho-K and LASIK both reshape the front surface of the eye called the cornea to achieve clear vision.  The difference is that LASIK requires surgery that is irreversible and permanent.  Ortho-K uses a contact lens to reshape the cornea and is completely reversible.  If you decide to stop wearing Ortho-K lenses, the corneal will go back to its original shape.

How quickly will I see results from Ortho-K?

Some people with mild nearsighted can have the vision corrected in one night! It may take more than one night to see results if you have moderate amounts of nearsightedness.  There will be an improvement each night due to your cornea being reshaped by the contact lenses.  The full effect typically takes place in 7-10 days.  

How do I maintain my improved vision with Ortho-K?

You will continue to wear the contact lenses on a nightly basis. A minimum of 7 to 8 hours of wear is required to maintain clear and crisp vision during the day.  Just like dental retainers are used to keep teeth in alignment,  wearing Ortho-K lenses at night will help to maintain the shape of your cornea.  


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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