Does Orthokeratology Provide Positive Results in Terms of Enhancing One's Vision?

I am 20 years old, nearsighted and have mild astigmatism. However, I have not had an eye exam in a year and I am pretty sure that my eyes have gotten worse especially with the stress of college. I need to correct my vision and I was wondering about the effects of orthokeratology.

Doctor Answers 3

Effects of Orthokeratology

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Orthokeratology can provide good vision to patients with low amounts of myopia and astigmatism.  Higher amounts (more than -5 diopters of myopia and more than 2 diopters of astigmatism) will likely not obtain satisafactory vision.  Patients using Ortho-K sleep in the lenses and then remove the lenses during the day.  Some myopia will return during the day so night vision is often not as clear as day vision.  Most patients find that they need to sleep in the lenses every night to obtain good vision. 

Most Ortho-K patients would eventually choose to undergo a permanent correction, such as LASIK, rather than wear contact lenses every night.  There are certainly risks to sleeping in contact lenses every night and some patients develop immune reactions to the lenses themselves and are forced to discontinue.  

Many people have found Ortho-K to be a satisfactory short term solution and enjoy having good vision during the day without contact lenses or glasses.  In the long term, however, LASIK would most likely be a more preferrable option.  

San Francisco Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Ortho k

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Ortho k is a weird archaic way to temporarily warp the cornea by wearing hard contacts overnight like a retainer. Then you see ok in the am but your vision decreases over the day as your eyes unwarp

There might have been some reason to get Ortho k 30 years ago before the laser was invented by two of my preceptors at Columbia medical school. Now it makes no sense as the laser changes the shape of your cornea permanently so you see clearly forever 

the only people doing Ortho k now are ODs because they're not MDs so they can't operate and perform laser surgery. But these days ethically I think even ODs should comanage patients with a MD to permanently fix the vision instead of only temporarily

Emil William Chynn, MD, FACS, MBA
New York Ophthalmologist


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Orthokeratology is a way of reducing small amounts of nearsightedness during the day by wearing rigid contact lenses at night.  It can be an effective method of eliminating glasses but it is rarely used as it is generally easier to wear soft contact lenses during the day.  This may help certain individuals such as those that need to meet certain unrestricted visual requirements for a short period of time.  They have a large number of potential problems, most importantly in my mind are the risks.  Contacts in general have much greater risk than that of LASIK.  The risk of blindness is approximately 1 in 40,000 with contact lenses and higher than those that sleep in their lenses.  On the other hand, the risk of blindness with LASIK is much less than 1 in one million.  Vision is commonly not as good in the evening as in the morning.  It can take may months for the cornea to stabilize after ending orthokeratology.  I suggest that you explore all other options before sleeping in contact lenses.

Mark Golden, MD
Chicago Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.