Fraud Blocker Does Orthokeratology Permanently Change Your Eyes?

Does Orthokeratology Permanently Change Your Eyes?

Temporary Reshaping Provides Better Vision

Ortho-K or Orthokeratology is a new and advanced field of optometry that can treat several eye conditions. Ortho-K lenses are special contact lenses that are gas-permeable (GP). Unlike regular contact lenses, Ortho-K lenses work by modifying the front surface of the eye, i.e., the cornea. In a manner similar to orthodontic braces, ortho-K lenses gradually reshape the corneal layer to bring vision changes.

Ophthalmologists advise patients to wear the lens overnight to reshape the cornea. But is orthokeratology permanent? It is essential to note that Orthokeratology is a short-term solution and does not permanently treat vision problems.

What Does Orthokeratology Treat?

You can notice vision improvements in the following eye conditions with Orthokeratology. Ortho K contact lenses eliminate the need to wear a daytime contact lens. As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy clear vision during the day without having to wear corrective lenses.


Near-sightedness or myopia is a condition where the sufferer can not see distant images. This vision-shaping treatment is an effective alternative to conventional glasses that only help you see but do not improve the eye condition.

Additionally, many may choose to seek more invasive surgical procedures such as LASIK and PRK in order to attain better vision.

Orthokeratology is a non-surgical and easy alternative for myopia control. Studies reveal that Ortho K lens wearers have positive corneal length changes and subsequent vision improvement. Using atropine drops in combination with orthokeratology lenses leads to superior results in this corneal refractive therapy.

Using ortho-K lenses from an early age can help correct refractive errors in kids. The non-interventional treatment has proven beneficial for parents and children having good compliance with the treatment.

Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

The main purpose of using Ortho K lenses is to correct nearsightedness. That said, in some cases, ortho K can also help correct farsightedness.


Presbyopia is when young or middle-aged adults can not focus on close things. Orthokeratology may in some cases help those who suffer from presbyopia.


Toric Ortho-K lenses can also correct astigmatism (blurry vision), which is frequently associated with underlying myopia. According to a study, these specially designed lenses directly affect the cornea (axial elongation), which can help improve astigmatism in myopic children.

How Do Orthokeratology Lenses Work?

The eyes identify an object by focusing of light on the retina. Your eyes have a transparent outer layer known as the cornea. The corneal tissues are flexible and focus the light on the retina. A less than optimal cornea shape will contribute to weak eyesight.

Unlike your typical soft contact lens, an Ortho K lens is a rigid and sturdy glass-permeable lens that flattens your cornea. It is effectively a reshaping lens that works to temporarily modify the shape of your cornea.

Our eye doctor, Dr. Knapp, will map your cornea using a corneal topographer to capture the shapes and curves of your cornea. It is a pain-free procedure after which patients get their lenses.

Also unlike a regular contact lens, Ortho k lenses must be worn overnight and removed in the morning. The specialty contact lens is able to correct your vision by reshaping your cornea during the night while it retains its new, flattened position throughout the day.

The good thing about ortho-K lenses is that despite being rigid, they allow ample oxygenation of the cornea and do not suffocate your eye. This makes the vision shaping treatment comfortable for Ortho K lens wearers.

Does Orthokeratology Bring Permanent Changes to the Eyes?

No. Orthokeratology lenses do not permanently change the cornea and eyes.

Patients must wear them at night in order to maintain good vision throughout the day. The only difference is that this corneal temporary reflective therapy sustains its effects for up to two days after overnight use, while glasses must be put on 24/7.

As mentioned, Orthokeratology will not eliminate myopia and will not permanently change your cornea. If you stop wearing the lenses at night, eventually your cornea will return to its previous shape.

Orthokeratology can halt myopia progression, especially in children with newly diagnosed vision issues. However, that still requires good compliance and proper wearing of the lenses throughout the night.

How Long Do the Effects of Orthokeratology Last?

Orthokeratology is not a magic wand that changes vision overnight. Patients must keep wearing the lenses for a couple of weeks or longer for evident results to start appearing. Some can notice a reduction in vision impairment within a few days, with the full effect taking up to four weeks.

How Long Should You Wear Ortho-K Lenses for Better Results?

The optimal time to wear ortho-K lenses for the best results is 8 hours. The average adult needs about 6 to 8 hours of sleep. So, wearing it through sleep is ideal. However, you can wear them for at least 6 hours daily for the lenses to work. According to a LOOK study, improvements in visual acuity are present even six hours after removal of the Ortho K lens.

What Is the Maximum Duration of Orthokeratology Treatment?

There is no limit to myopia management with ortho lenses. You can continue using the vision-shaping treatment as long as you wish. Optometrists recommend children use corrective vision lenses until myopia is stabilized. However, teens and adults can discontinue whenever they want.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate for Orthokeratology Treatment?

There is no age limit for these vision correction lenses, but kids with myopia or astigmatism make ideal candidates for Ortho K lenses. This is because children do not readily accept prescription glasses and are not good candidates for eye surgery. Research indicates that young children have faster axial elongation and have maximum benefit from early treatment.

Ortho-K Lenses Side Effects

Orthokeratology treatment is completely safe, but there can be small side effects associated with it – especially if the lenses aren’t used as directed. Common complications of the temporary corneal reshaping of the lens include eye strain, dry eye, and edema (swelling of the eye layer).

The rigid contact lenses can also cause staining of the cornea and lens binding. Some people can also experience temporary changes in the biomechanical properties of the cornea.

How Can I Get Permanent Changes In My Vision?

Ortho K Lenses don’t permanently change the structure of the eye. One way to accomplish this change is through LASIK surgery. LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) surgery is used for correcting myopia permanently. This laser eye surgery procedure effectively treats two common eye disorders (hyperopia and myopia) by reshaping the corneal layer.

Other surgical procedures include:

  • Photorefractive keratectomy
  • Astigmatic keratotomy
  • Automated lamellar keratoplasty

Getting Started with Ortho K Lenses

If you’re interested in Ortho K Lenses, the first step is to set up a comprehensive eye exam at the PressVision office in Fair Lawn, NJ. During this office visit, our eye doctor, Dr. Knapp will conduct a thorough eye exam to determine your overall eye health. Dr. Knapp will determine if you could benefit from an orthokeratology lens solution. If Ortho K isn’t a great fit for your particular needs, we offer a full range of eye care services to treat vision problems.

Picture of Dr. Laura Knapp

Dr. Laura Knapp

I’ve been in the field of optometry for over 20 years and my passion is providing the highest pediatric and adult optometric care. Here at PressVision, we make extensive use of Vision Therapy to help our patients with eye coordination difficulties.

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