Visionary Eye Center

Ortho-K Risks & Information

Sleep Your Way To Better Vision Without Surgery

What is Orthokeratology or Ortho-K?

Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is a non-surgical method of reshaping the cornea to optimize vision. This is accomplished using special corneal molds and retainers to create gentle hydraulic forces that reshape the front surface of the eye, typically overnight. Today’s orthokeratology is an expansion on work started in the 1950’s and received FDA approval in 2002. You may also hear ortho-k called corneal refractive therapy, gentle vision shaping, vision shaping treatment, corneal molding and wave front corneal molding. Our office is currently one of only a few offices in Reno and Sparks to offer this exciting technology. We will answer any questions and address your concerns regarding the risks of ortho-k.

Who Are Candidates for Ortho-K?

The ideal candidates are nearsighted patients with prescriptions under -6.00D sphere and less than -1.75D of cylinder or astigmatism. Children are great candidates and typically will adapt to ortho-k with greater ease and faster results than an adult patient. New designs are pushing the limits for this technology and are even able to correct mild amounts of farsightedness and presbyopia. Many of our patients in northern Nevada experience dryness with their contacts and ortho-k is a great solution for those patients as you wear the lenses while you sleep. As the ortho-k patient does not need to wear any lenses during the day, swimmers are particularly good candidates, as swimming in contact lenses is highly contraindicated as it greatly increases the risk of infection leading to vision loss.

What are the Risks of Ortho-K?

Orthokeratology is a very safe process utilizing the very latest in oxygen permeable materials. Multiple studies have shown that the risks of adverse events resulting from ortho-k is very low and similar to the rates associated with other modes of contact lens wear. The COOKI study (Children’s Overnight Orthokeratology Investigation) demonstrated no adverse events during the study in children 8-11 years old. “The Risk of Microbial Keratitis With Overnight Corneal Reshaping Lenses,” study showed that rates of infectious keratitis was similar to overnight wear of soft contact lenses. Like many medical procedures, ortho-k risks of infection are generally controllable by good hygiene and following your doctor’s recommendations. Unlike laser surgeries, ortho-k is completely reversible with discontinuation of wear.

What to Expect?

Orthokeratology can take some time to fully correct your vision. Vision improvement can take up to 4 weeks in adult patients and those with higher prescriptions, though children and adults with low prescriptions may experience great results with just one night of wear. We will often prescribe disposable soft lenses to handle residual prescription errors while the reshaping is taking place. Most patients will need to wear their corneal molds nightly to maintain the effect. To be fit into ortho-k lenses you will need to have a comprehensive corneal evaluation including a topography with our Atlas 9000.

Can It Slow Myopia?

Many parents are greatly concerned about their child’s prescription, and rightfully so. High levels of nearsightedness has been linked to increases in the risk for retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, and myopic maculopathy, all of which can cause blindness. The LORIC (The Longitudinal Orthokeratology Research In Children), SMART (Stabilizing Myopia by Accelerating Reshaping Technique) and CRAYON (Corneal Reshaping and Yearly Observation of Nearsightedness) studies all showed that ortho-k is able to slow the progression of nearsightedness. See our myopia prevention page for more information.


At this time orthokeratology is not covered by any insurance plan. Payments plans may be arranged through our office or Care Credit may be used.

Find Out if You Are a Candidate

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