Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

Orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k, corrects vision using specialised lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea while you sleep. This results in clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day. Not only is this an innovative method of myopia control but it is also a safe and reversible alternative to laser refractive surgery.

How does orthokeratology work?

Ortho-k works by using a specially designed contact lens that applies gentle pressure to the cornea, gradually reshaping it. This process is similar to how braces work to realign teeth. By reshaping the cornea, light entering the eye is properly focused on the retina, which can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day.

Is orthokeratology an effective means of myopia control?

Myopia control refers to various strategies aimed at slowing down the progression of myopia (nearsightedness), commonly in children and teenagers. At Theia Optical, we specialise in myopia control and provide a wide range of treatments. Notably, ortho-k has more peer reviewed studies backing its efficacy than any other myopia control method and research indicates that ortho-k can reduce the progression of myopia by approximately half in comparison to standard glasses and contact lenses1.

Is orthokeratology safe?

The risk of eye infection is increased with all types of contact lens wear, including daily disposable contact lenses. The use of ortho-k lenses carries an approximate risk of eye infection of 1 in 1000 wearers per year2 in comparison to wearing glasses. Overall, the risk is extremely low and we manage these risks by educating patients on proper hygiene and maintenance practices.

Are orthokeratology lenses uncomfortable? 

When you first start wearing ortho-k lenses, you may initially experience a foreign body sensation on the eyes. This tends to improve over time as your eyes become accustomed to the lenses.

How long do orthokeratology lenses take to work?

You can expect to see improvements within the first 48 hours, with most vision correction taking place within the first 2 weeks of wearing ortho-k lenses. In patients with higher corneal rigidity, it can take up to 4-6 weeks for full correction to occur. 

How much does orthokeratology cost?

Our ortho-k program cost can vary between $1600-$1800, depending on the complexity of the lens fitting based on your prescription and the unique shape of your eye. This price covers the cost of the lenses and consultation fees over a 2 year duration at the following intervals: lens delivery, 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months and every 6 months. Please note that any required eye drops and cleaning solutions are additional.  

What is the recommended replacement frequency for orthokeratology lenses?

Ortho-k lenses are made from rigid gas permeable (RGP) material that can deteriorate over time. This impacts the alignment of the lenses and its ability to reshape the cornea. As a result, the lenses become less effective at correcting vision. As a general rule, we recommend ortho-k lenses to be replaced every 1-2 years.  

Who is a good candidate for orthokeratology?

Ortho-k may be a suitable option for individuals with mild to moderate myopia and astigmatism who are seeking a non-surgical method for correcting their vision. Regular follow up appointments at the clinic will be necessary, particularly during the early stages. Furthermore, daily maintenance of your ortho-k lenses is required and patients should be aiming for 8 hours of sleep per night to achieve optimal results. To determine if ortho-k is a suitable solution for you, book an appointment with our optometrist.

1 Sun Y, Xu F, Zhang T, Liu M, Wang D, Chen Y, Liu Q. Orthokeratology to control myopia progression: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 9;10(4):e0124535. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124535. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2015;10(6):e0130646. PMID: 25855979; PMCID: PMC4391793.
2 Bullimore MA, Sinnott LT, Jones-Jordan LA. The risk of microbial keratitis with overnight corneal reshaping lenses. Optom Vis Sci. 2013 Sep;90(9):937-44. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31829cac92. PMID: 23892491.