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Orthokeratology Explained

Orthokeratology Explained

What is Ortho-K?

Orthokeratology, more commonly referred to as Ortho-K or Dream lenses, is a contact lens treatment that corrects your vision while you sleep. It is a safe, reversible, convenient and non-surgical alternative that allows you to achieve clear vision without the use of spectacles or contact lenses. Ortho-K involves the use of custom designed, high oxygen-permeable rigid contact lenses that alter the shape of the cornea (front surface of the eye) in order to reduce or correct myopia and/or astigmatism while you sleep.


The main purpose of Ortho-K is to be free from both contact lenses and glasses for the majority of, or more typically, all waking hours. The freedom Ortho-K provides from glasses and daily wear contact lenses is ideal, particularly for sports and dusty environments as well as those who just find contacts or glasses inconvenient.

Is everyone suitable?

No. Ortho-K works best for those up to a maximum of 6.00 dioptres of myopia and 2.00 dioptres of regular astigmatism. Prescriptions above this may be reduced but not fully corrected.  In addition, other factors such as corneal shape and corneal thickness can affect the outcome.

What is involved?

Firstly, a full eye test is carried out; we will also take a retinal scan and a computerised corneal topography scan. This will allow us to determine the health of the eye and if you are suitable for Ortho–K.

If suitable, we will then complete a trial where you will wear the lenses over night and return in the morning for us to assess the results. Only when the patient shows a positive response to the trial will the treatment program commence. Lenses are then purchased and worn on a regular basis over night.

After the first month of treatment, excellent vision is generally achieved. Once stable vision is achieved, appointments will become less frequent.

Orthokeratology is an ongoing treatment and requires you to wear the lenses regularly to maintain good vision. If you discontinue use of the lenses, your vision will return to your pre-treatment prescription.

The general appointment schedule

  • Initial appointment,
  • Fit of trial lenses
  • Following morning return for assessment of trial lenses
  • Follow ups: 1 week, 2 week, 1 month, 3 month
  • Follow up to be carried out every 6 months thereafter

What are the advantages of Orthokeratology?

  • Good vision without the use of glasses or contacts lenses

  • It is not a surgical procedure

  • It is reversible

  • It doesn’t hurt

  • It is shown in studies to reduce the progression of myopia in children

  • Using established contact lens fitting techniques, means that there are very few risks

What are the disadvantages of Orthokeratology?

  • Requires multiple appointments over the first 3 to 6 months.

  • Ongoing wear of contact lenses required to maintain good vision.

  • The degree of success is high but cannot always be guaranteed.

  • The speed of reduction of myopia varies from one person to the next

  • You must follow instruction implicitly for the optimum results to be achieved.