Editorial: Orthokeratology increasingly popular

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1*Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

George Jessen, one of the founding members of the Society of Orthokeratology, first described in 1962 a method for reducing myopia in his paper "Orthofocus Techniques".1 In 1994, Paragon Vision Science received the first approval for an orthokeratology contact lens that could be worn during the day by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2002, the FDA and in 2003 the European Union granted Paragon Vision Science FDA approval and CE Mark respectively for Paragon Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) contact lenses in conjunction with an overnight wear mode.2 While only a few orthokeratology publications had appeared in peer-reviewed journals by this year the number of publications increased significantly after the year 2000.2 While in the beginning only a few optometrists and ophthalmologists were interested Orthokeratology a slow but steady increase in this type of contact lens treatment has been observed in recent years. This is also shown by figures from Morgen et al. from 2019.3 Based on an international survey of contact lens practitioners from 45 countries around the world, the authors published a global percentage of Ortho-K fits of 1.2 percent of all contact lenses prescribed; the highest percentage is in the Netherlands, at 6 percent. In 2022, Lipson and Curcio also published interesting data on the current state of orthokeratology in the USA.4 According to this survey, the percentage of RGP lenses prescribed in the U.S. is currently 3 percent.

Approximately 3000 eye care providers are presently fitting Ortho-K contact lenses. Of these, 87 percent are optometrists, 7 percent are ophthalmologists and 6 percent are opticians. 16 percent of the eye care providers surveyed said that orthokeratology has a great potential for growth. 135 years after the pioneering work of Eugen Fick, Eugéne Kalt and August Müller in 1888, the fitting of special contact lenses for all types of ametropias and corneal diseases is experiencing a global renaissance. This could also be seen in the number of participants and lecture topics as well as the poster presentations of the three-day Global Specialty Lens Symposium that took place in Las Vegas in January 2023. The variety of indications for special contact lenses is enormous. This includes orthokeratology, and this especially in connection with the complex of myopia control. But also the treatment of presbyopic patients with Ortho-K lenses is already possible today, as the publication by Rainer Bronner in the current issue of OCL demonstrates. The options of fitting special contact lenses are greater today than ever. Optometrists and ophthalmologists should only use them.


[1] Jessen, G. (1962). Orthofocus Techniques. Contacto, 6, 200.

[2] Bullimore, M. A., Johnson, L. A. (2020) Overnight orthokeratology. Contact Lens Anterior Eye, 43, 322-332.

[3] Morgan, P. B., Efron, N., Woods, C. A., Santodomingo-Rubido, J. (2019). International survey of orthokeratology contact lens fitting. Contact Lens Anterior Eye, 42, 450-454.

[4] Lipson, M. J., Curcio, L. R. (2022). Fitting of Orthokeratology in the United States: A Survey of the Current State of Orthokeratology. Optom. Vis. Sci., 99, 568-579.