The Ortho-K Nightmare (Oops, Side Effect: Permanent Corneal Scarring)

Ortho-K.   *jedi hand wave* Ortho-K. That’s the magic word(s) you need to whisper conspiratorially, for anyone in the mainstream to acknowledge the possibility of myopia control.   If they’re not selling ortho-k (side effects glossed over) […]

Oct 01,2016 · 4 min read

Ortho-K.   *jedi hand wave*



That’s the magic word(s) you need to whisper conspiratorially, for anyone in the mainstream to acknowledge the possibility of myopia control.  

If they’re not selling ortho-k (side effects glossed over) then myopia is an incurable genetic medical condition.  If they are selling ortho-k then well, you can spend a few thousand dollars on that option (per year, darling, of course) and myopia control is suddenly an option.  Et voila, mes cheres kittehs.  C’est le fric qui parle, to use some proper medical terminology.  

Ortho-K Side Effects Nightmare

A branded, patented product and a few thousand of your dollars per year.  That’s what it takes to discuss the elephant-in-the-optic-shop, of myopia control.

Here’s an e-mail on the topic, which is discussing ortho-k side effects, getting Jakey straight onto this whole tangent:



Let’s get straight to the point here, for a moment, with a little bit of off-topic perspective.

Your darling Jakey VanderJakenhausen just wrapped up a deal with a zillion dollars of unneeded money piles in a venture of course unrelated to endmyopia.  The guru exuberance is only dwarfed by the the increased levels of could-give-a-damn.  And the OAA isn’t ever going to love endmyopia anyway so let’s just say it how it is.  

Ortho-K is another pile of grand-fu**ery, invented by the necessity to make money anytime ‘medical’ treatment is provided.  BMW leases don’t just pay themselves.  

If you’re unfamiliar with Ortho-K, here is an official description:

Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up.

Gently.  There’s a joke.

A Treatment Not Addressing The Cause

Foreign object in your eye, temporary deforming the natural shape of your cornea.  The cornea, darlings, which has not-a-damn-thing to do with your myopia.  They ignore the myopia cause and instead focus on a treatment paradigm involving primarily your money (plus temporary symptom management) and not primarily causality on any level.  Ortho-K side effects, what?  What could possibly ever go wrong?

Ortho-K side effects (besides lens reshaping)

A shape which your cornea will be busy fixing in the morning.

You already probably know that contact lenses are not an ideal idea.  Disrupting tear fluid distribution, causing corneal thinning (irreversibly) and corneal abrasion.  Documented in clinical studies, not much of a question about it.  And contact lenses just sit on your eye, they don’t actually try to change your corneal shape. And they mostly don’t do so at night, when your eyes are closed and tear fluid movement is already at very low levels (not ideal combined with foreign objects specifically pushing on your cornea).  

Reshaping your cornea (which is responsible for 70% of refraction) temporarily does slow myopia progression.  It works, as well as any bandaid solution can be expected to.  But of course it’s no actual solution, since it is temporary and not addressing the cause.


Right side, temporarily flattened cornea.  Flattened like your wallet.

Corneal scarring is always a risk factor when you insert a foreign object onto your eye, and keep it there for extended periods of time.

The protective layer of tear fluid is simply not designed to support the structure of an ortho-k lens.

And that’s how we end up with e-mails like the one above, and distraught customers of ortho-k, getting no real answers from the vendors of the product.  If you’re lucky you’ll find a professional who’ll check your cornea and tell you about what amounts to a very possible side effect of ortho-k.  Although by this time, there is just about nothing you can do about it, besides discontinue the treatment and not increase your corneal damage.

Foreign object in the eye.  Less than brilliant idea.  It should almost be a common sense thing.  

As always, be weary of invasive procedures.  Be weary of symptom treatment.  Be weary of things that cost thousands of dollars and require you to keep spending that money.  Ask about ortho-k side effects, search the Web on the subject, don’t just take the word of those making money selling you this treatment.


–  VanJaken, Guru-at-Large


    Formerly genetically defective. 🤓 Weaned off retail optometry lens subscriptions, now 20/20 eyesight. Also into BJJ, kitesurfing, paragliding, being stupid.

    Topic:  Questionable Therapy

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