Larson Eye Center
Ortho K

MICHAEL MACEK, O.D.Michael Macek, O.D.
Contact Lens Specialist

Dr. Macek is a contact lens specialist who works with all types of contact lens styles for all age groups. He has a special interest in Ortho K technology.

Ortho K

Orthokeratology (Ortho K) is a non-surgical contact lens procedure used to reduce, or eliminate, myopia (nearsightedness). Ortho K works by reversibly changing the curvature of the cornea during wear, resulting in sharper vision while not wearing the lenses.

Ortho K

Myopia (nearsightedness) is caused by light coming into the eye in such a way that it doesn't focus properly on the retina. Typically, this problem is corrected by using eyeglasses or regular contact lenses to re-focus the light rays.

A similar result can be achieved by reshaping your cornea. LASIK is a surgical way to do this. Ortho K contact lenses flatten your cornea without surgery, enabling light to focus properly on your retina, resulting in better vision.

Ortho K
Ortho K

After being fit, the Ortho K lenses will flatten the cornea by shifting the outer layer of the cornea (the epithelium) more peripherally. Since the cornea is flattened and retains the flattened curvature for a period of time it is sometimes referred to as "corneal molding". This molding is accomplished by using a specially designed lens that is somewhat larger than a standard lens but not much different in appearance. Patients usually find comfort to be initially very good and excellent after about 3 days of wear. The lens actually works as you sleep in it and good functional vision occurs in a few hours to a week or two depending on the initial prescription that is being corrected. The stronger the initial prescription, the longer it will take to correct. The cornea can be easily fine tuned by slight modifications to the retainer mold.

Ortho K uses corneal topography to accurately determine the corneal shape before treatment. The topographer "maps" the surface of the eye, which enables the doctor to precisely design the lens parameters. The corneal mapping by the topographer is then used to determine if the retainer lenses are correctly changing the corneal shape which will ultimately result in clear vision.

Benefits of Ortho K include:


Question and Answers about Ortho K

What is Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)?

Ortho-K is the use of therapeutic corneal molds or lenses to gently reshape the curvature of the cornea (front part of the eye) to reduce nearsightedness and astigmatism.

Ortho K

How does Ortho-K work?

Ortho-K is accomplished through the use of specially designed corneal molds or lenses. These molds are worn while you sleep, and cause the migration of corneal cells to the peripheral cornea, thereby allowing you to see clearly throughout the day.

What is involved with Orthokeratology?

Each patient is required to have a comprehensive eye health examination. If your prescription falls within a certain range, further testing will be done. An extensive computerized corneal mapping (Corneal Topography) will help determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. We will then design customized molding contact lenses using a CAD/CAM (Computer Assisted Design/ Computer Assisted Manufacturing) process and then a CNC lathe produces the lenses within 0.1 micron accuracy. These molding lenses will be dispensed to you and you are trained in lens handling and care. The lenses are worn only while you sleep. Each night these lenses will gradually flatten your cornea, thereby improving your vision. Typically within a week you will have clear vision that lasts all your waking hours.

Is Orthokeratology an alternative to Refractive Surgery?

Yes- Ortho-K is a non-surgical alternative to surgery. Individuals interested in reducing their nearsightedness and astigmatism, but are apprehensive about surgery, now have a safe and effective alternative.

Is Orthokeratology new?

No- the concept and process of corneal molding has been available since 1962. What is new is the Ortho-K design and computerized corneal mapping. Ortho-K contact lenses customized to the patient's unique corneal shape using a CAD/CAM (Computer Assisted Design/ Computer Assisted Manufacturing) process and then CNC lathe production with 0.1 micron accuracy is new.

Is Orthokeratology permanent?

No, unlike refractive surgery, Ortho-K is reversible simply by not wearing your molding contact lenses. Within 1 to 7 days your vision will return to its pretreatment state.

I suffer from "dry" eyes, could I benefit from Orthokeratology?

Yes. Many patients with slightly dry eyes do well with Ortho-K. Since you are wearing the lenses only while sleeping, the closed eye state minimizes evaporation loss of tears and can give dry-eye patients improved vision without compromising the ocular surface. Many dry eye patients are more comfortable during their waking hours with Ortho-K versus soft or gas permeable contact lenses. Only your eye care professional can determine if you are an Ortho-K candidate.

I used to wear contact lenses, but stopped because of discomfort. Am I a candidate for Orthokeratology?

Ortho-K lenses are worn at night while you are sleeping. This greatly reduces any discomfort normally experienced while wearing contact lenses during the day.

Can I see with my Orthokeratology lenses in?

Yes. One of the great features of the Ortho-K lens is that if you get up in the middle of the night, you will be able to see perfectly. You will enjoy great vision with your Ortho-K lenses on or off.

What do I wear during the adaptation period?

Your doctor will either have you wear your glasses or give you other diagnostic lenses to wear while your eyes are adapting to your new vision with the Ortho-K lenses. This is usually a short term situation of a week or so.

Is there any scarring with Orthokeratology?

No- this process is a non-surgical vision correction.

How often do I have to wear the retainer (molding) contact lens following Orthokeratology?

This varies with each individual. Some patients have to wear the lens each night while others only need to wear the lens every other night.

Will medical insurance cover Orthokeratology or Refractive Surgery?

No- even though Ortho-K improves your visual function, the insurance carrier defines all refractive surgeries and Ortho-K as cosmetic procedures.

How old do I have to be to qualify for Ortho-K?

This procedure is beneficial to any nearsighted or astigmatic patient within certain criteria. Age is not a restriction with Ortho-K, whereas in refractive surgery a patient must be at least 18 years of age.

Visit our Ortho K informational site Or visit

AOA (American Optometric Association)
American Academy of Ophthalmology

Ortho K Network –

As seen on ABC's The View - Barbara Walters learns about Ortho-K (Corneal Refractive Therapy) from the NY Yankees team doctor.

Click this link to watch the video:

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