What Are Ortho-K Lenses and How Can They Help?

If you’ve not come across orthokeratology before, you certainly aren’t alone. Although orthokeratology has actually been around for a long time, many people have never heard of the technique or understand its benefits. 


Orthokeratology, or Ortho K as it is often better known, is a clever and very successful technique used to reshape the cornea, which is the clear dome covering the front part of your eye. The cornea is responsible for refracting light as it enters the eye, angling it so that it is focused on the retina – an area of light-sensitive cells found at the back of the eye. When the cornea isn’t perfectly rounded it makes it impossible for light to be refracted correctly, and this results in vision problems such as myopia (clear near vision but blurred distance vision), hyperopia (blurred near vision but clear distance vision), and astigmatism (blurred vision at all distances). 


Perfectly-rounded corneas are quite unusual. Myopia, which is the most common refractive eye error in the world, usually starts to develop in childhood and can have a significant impact on your child’s ability to learn and fulfill their academic potential. Unfortunately, refractive eye errors are usually progressive, getting worse the longer that they are left untreated. Patients who develop high levels of myopia are more likely to suffer from significant vision problems later on, as well as complications such as glaucoma and retinal detachment. The best option for any patient with a refractive eye error is to get it under control as soon as possible. Ortho K makes this possible.

How do Ortho K lenses work?

Ortho K lenses are special, gas-permeable contact lenses that, uniquely, are worn overnight rather than during the day. While you sleep, the gentle pressure that they exert over the eyes gradually reshapes the cornea so that it is more even, enabling you to see clearly. However, when you remove the lenses the following morning, your cornea will manage to retain the new shape for a number of hours all by itself. This means that you can go about your usual activities with no need for contact lenses or glasses to correct your vision. The more consistently you wear your Ortho K lenses, the longer you will be able to see clearly without wearing corrective eyewear, with many patients able to go the entire day with great vision. If you want to stop treatment, your vision will return to how it was originally within a few days of you ceasing to wear your Ortho K lenses. 


Ortho K has been shown to be very effective at slowing the development of myopia in patients that use it, and particularly so in the case of children. Many people are surprised to discover that children as young as 7 or 8 can be suitable candidates for Ortho K, enabling parents to start their children on a treatment that could make a significant difference to their long-term vision and eye health from an early age.  

Key benefits of Ortho K lenses


  • Ortho K can help to slow the progression of myopia, particularly when it is used in children.

  • It is suitable for most people and ages.

  • It can also be used to treat hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism

  • It can even be effective in helping patients with presbyopia: an age-related refractive condition that affects near vision

  • The lenses are gas-permeable which ensures plenty of oxygen can reach the surface of the eyes, keeping them comfortable

  • Patients who choose Ortho K lenses can start to see results in just a matter of days

  • The effects are reversible if you wish to stop treatment



If you would like to find out more about Ortho K lenses and how they can help with specific vision problems, visit Blue River Vision in Silverthorne, Colorado. Call 970-451-0015 to schedule an appointment today.