Although orthokeratology (ortho-K) may cause ocular discomfort during overnight wear, a new study reports the adverse side effects were infrequent and the benefits of better vision compensated for any discomfort issues.

The investigation, published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, compared the vision-related quality of life between Chinese children wearing ortho-K lenses and single vision spectacles.

The study enrolled children who were between the ages of eight and 12, had myopia of -5.00D to -0.75D and astigmatism of less than 1.50D. All subjects had been wearing optical correction, whether ortho-K lenses or single vision spectacles, for the past 12 to 18 months. The researchers used the Pediatric Refractive Error Profile questionnaire to evaluate the perceptions of children wearing spectacles in overall vision, near vision, far vision, symptoms, appearance, satisfaction, activities, academic performance, handling of optical corrections and peer perceptions. The questions were rephrased to address the same issues for ortho-K subjects who did not wear spectacles in the daytime. Ortho-K wearers were also asked about frequency of symptoms, difficulty in falling asleep, ocular discomfort, itchy/burning/dry eyes and foreign body sensation.

A total of 40 children completed the survey, including 20 ortho-K subjects and 20 kids in the single vision spectacle group.

Children wearing the ortho-K lenses had significantly better overall vision, far vision, appearance, satisfaction, activities and peer perception scores compared with the kids who wore spectacle lenses. The researchers found no significant differences in near vision, symptoms in the daytime and academic performance between the two groups.

With respect to symptoms during ortho-K lens wear at night, none of the subjects reported difficulty falling asleep, but 30% to 40 % of subjects reported occasional ocular discomfort, itchy/burning/dry eyes and foreign body sensation after lens insertion.


Yang B, Ma X, Liu L, et al. Vision-related quality of life of Chinese children undergoing orthokeratology treatment compared to single vision spectacles. Cont Lens Ant Eye. July 13, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].