What Do I Need To Know About Orthokeratology?


Dr Carina Trinh is a proud member of the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania (OSO). This enables her to keep up to date with the latest and greatest in contact lens technology so that she can better serve her patients to provide them with comfortable and clear vision.

What is Orthokeratology (OrthoK)?

OrthoK is a type of contact lens treatment where hard contact lenses are worn at night only, to gently mold the front surface of the eyes into a shape that refocuses light so that patients can see without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day time. 

Who is Orthokeratology appropriate for? Is Orthokeratology an alternative to LASIK or laser vision correction?

OrthoK is highly recommended in children between the age of 7 and 17 who are short-sighted and deteriorating rapidly. If their prescription is not stable, and is changing by -0.50DS a year or more, please ensure that they are being tested at least every 6 months by an optometrist who is up to date with the latest information on myopia control.

OrthoK is also appropriate for adults who are simply looking for an alternative form of vision correction.


What are the advantages over LASIK?

  • It’s suitable for patients who don’t have a stable prescription
  • It does not exacerbate dry eye
  • OrthoK lenses can be adapted as your prescription changes


Who is a good candidate for Orthokeratology / OrthoK?

  • Those unable to wear contact lenses due to allergies and dry eye
  • Those working in dusty or dirty environments
  • Active people who do not want the inconvenience of glasses or contact lenses when participating in sports
  • People who want freedom from their glasses / day contact lenses
  • Children whose myopia (short-sightedness) is getting progressively worse
  • Mild to moderate myopia (<-4.00 cases are more straight forward)

    An assessment is required to determine whether you are a suitable candidate, to check that your eyes are healthy, and the appropriate shape that maximises the likelihood of successful OrthoK wear. This appointment will be bulk-billed on Medicare, with no out-of-pocket cost. 


What is Orthokeratology? How does Orthokeratology work?

When a person cannot see clearly it may be because the eye is too long, too short or the surface of the eye is out of shape so that images do not focus on the back of the eye (the retina). Normally we fix this by refocussing images with spectacles or contact lenses. OrthoK refocuses images by gently changing the shape of the front surface of the eye using tear fluid forces.


To make an OrthoK lens we first map the surface of your eye, using an instrument known as a corneal topographer. Your eye care practitioner uses this information along with your prescription to design a customised lens for your eye.


OrthoK lenses are manufactured on a high-speed computer-assisted lathe. They are made of materials that have high oxygen permeability that allow your eyes to ‘breathe’ overnight while you sleep, maintaining eye health. The result after waking and removing your lenses is improved vision, with already some changes usually noted after the first night. If you stop wearing the lenses, the eyes will revert to normal within weeks.


What role does Orthokeratology play in Myopia control / management?

The number of children who are becoming myopic has grown rapidly over the last 25 years. The Centre for Disease Control in the United States has estimated, that by the year 2020, 50% of the world’s population will have myopia. The results of recent scientific studies point to OrthoK as one of the best options for controlling myopia progression. Although OrthoK has been shown to slow myopia progression in the groups studied, the same results cannot be guaranteed in individual cases.


Does Orthokeratology hurt?

The OrthoK contact lenses are made of a stiffer material than soft disposable contact lenses, however, the procedure does not hurt in any way. An adaptation period is required where initially the lenses may be more noticeable compared to your standard soft lens, however, this improves after a few nights.


Is Orthokeratology safe?

This safe and effective technique is mainly used to correct short-sightedness (myopia) in suitable patients. However, it can also be used in some cases for long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and presbyopia (blurred near vision). It is an alternative to LASIK for those who don’t want surgery.

OrthoK is a safe and reversible procedure. It was approved by the United States of America Food and Drug Administration in 2002. The Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration includes OrthoK lenses.


All contact lens wear has a small risk of serious eye infections and this includes OrthoK lens wear. Typically, infections can be treated by your eye care practitioner. The risk of infection can be greatly reduced by following your cleaning and lens care instructions meticulously, only wearing the OrthoK lenses as prescribed by your optometrist and attending the necessary follow-up visits.


Can Orthokeratology be used by children?

Children make great OrthoK lens wearers. Practitioners note that children are very motivated and follow their instructions. Children also learn how to handle and care for OrthoK lenses very quickly. The OrthoK lenses are inserted just before going to bed and taken out in the morning. This means that children will not need to handle their lenses during the day or at school. When lenses are inserted there may be some mild discomfort however, the lens sensation disappears when they close their eyes and go to bed.


Is Orthokeratology safe for children?

Orthokeratology has been used in children for over 20 years now and is a great way for parents to feel at peace with their child’s eye since they no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses during the day, only at night under where parents can monitor their insertion and removal if they are concerned. Children quickly learn how to use these lenses themselves without the help of their parents.


Are contact lenses safe for children?

Evidence shows that young children are actually much safer contact lens wearers when compared to adults in their 20s. For more information about the safety of contact lens wear in children, please watch this short video.


Why haven’t I heard about Orthokeratology before?

OrthoK is not available everywhere because it requires specific equipment and training to design the appropriate lenses for you or your child. Your optometrist works closely with the laboratory, utilising measurements to the nearest micron.


What is the process for Orthokeratology?


There are a series of steps that begin with:

Step 1: Have a full comprehensive consultation (bulk-billed)

You will need to have had a full comprehensive initial consultation with me to have your prescription measured, and your eye health assessed. At this consultation, I will also take a corneal topography map to fully assess your suitability for OrthoK.


Step 2: Start an OrthoK Program

If you choose to proceed, you will be on a plan that covers your consultations for 12 months. Either $1700 for lower prescriptions, or $2100 for higher prescriptions (discounts are available if more than one child is involved, or if you refer other patients, and special consideration is given for those with difficult financial circumstances, please discuss with me if price is an issue). A 50% deposit is required to start the manufacturing process for your treatment. Your lens care and eye care products for 12 months will be at an additional cost. The exact number of consultations will vary depending on your eyes and how they respond to the treatment. When you start your OrthoK program, your optometrist will place an order with the laboratory for your lenses from the data that we have gathered. You will need to arrange for an appointment once we notify you that the lenses are ready for pick up, and also an additional appointment the morning after to review after the first night of wear.

Contact Dr Carina Trinh by emailing, sending a text to or calling 0423 590 959.

You can also contact her over Facebook or Instagram #carinaeyecare.  

Please make sure that you book an appointment if you plan to visit Carina Eye Care at 40 Neich Parade, Burwood NSW 2134.