Ortho K for Astigmatism

Have you ever wondered if there’s a non-surgical solution to correct your astigmatism overnight? Contrary to popular belief, correcting astigmatism doesn’t always require invasive treatment. Orthokeratology (a.k.a. Ortho K) offers one such alternative.

I’m Dr. Jotinder Khosla, optometrist at Optometrist Parramatta. With extensive experience in fitting Ortho-K lenses, our practice is focussed on providing personalized eye care solutions for all types of patients, including those with astigmatic vision.

Let’s explore how Ortho-K can transform your eye care journey. Keep reading to learn more, or better still, book an appointment with us today.

Understanding Astigmatism

What is astigmatism? Many people often wonder about this common eye condition that can affect vision clarity. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens is irregularly shaped, leading to blurred or distorted vision. It is a prevalent condition, affecting a significant portion of the population. You might notice symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and difficulty focusing on objects both near and far. Astigmatism can arise from genetic factors. If your parents have astigmatism, there is a higher chance you might have it too.

Diagnosing astigmatism involves a detailed eye exam where we look at two key numbers in your prescription: CYL (cylinder) and AXIS.

CYL (Cylinder): This number shows how much astigmatism you have by measuring the degree of irregular curvature in your eye. It’s given in diopters (D). A higher CYL number means more correction is needed.

AXIS: This number tells us the direction of your astigmatism on a scale from 0 to 180 degrees. It shows where the irregular curve is located in your eye.

Together, CYL and AXIS help us understand the specifics of your astigmatism. The CYL value indicates the amount of correction needed, while the AXIS value shows where to apply this correction. This information is crucial for creating an effective treatment plan, whether that involves glasses, contact lenses, or other options like Ortho-K.

When Should I Get An Astigmatism Test?

You might have astigmatism without noticing significant changes in your vision. However, certain signs suggest you need a test. Here’s are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Blurry Vision: Persistent blur or distortion is not normal and indicates irregular eye curvature.

  • Squinting: Frequent squinting to see clearly suggests a vision problem needing an optometrist’s attention.

  • Chronic Headaches: Regular headaches, especially when reading or watching screens, can be a sign of astigmatism.

  • Eye Strain: Discomfort or throbbing pain in the eyes, particularly when focusing on small text or screens, should prompt a check-up.

  • Night Vision Issues: Difficulty seeing at night, despite adequate rest, warrants an immediate visit to the optometrist.

ortho k treatment for astigmatism

Treatment Options for Astigmatism

Glasses are often the default treatment for astigmatism. They provide a straightforward and effective way to address the irregular curvature of the cornea, allowing for clear vision. They are easy to use and can be tailored to correct other vision problems such as myopia or hyperopia.

Contact lenses offer another solution. They provide a wider field of vision compared to glasses and are less obtrusive in everyday activities. The lenses come in various types, including toric contact lenses specifically designed for astigmatism. These lenses are weighted to ensure they remain in the correct position on the eye, providing clear and stable vision throughout the day.

Laser eye surgery, such as LASIK, is a more permanent solution. This procedure reshapes the cornea to correct the irregularities causing astigmatism. It can be highly effective, but it’s also more invasive and comes with higher upfront costs and potential risks.

Ortho-K for Astigmatism Correction

One of the most innovative treatments for astigmatism is Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K. Specially designed contact lenses are prescribed to be worn overnight. As you sleep, these lenses gently reshape the cornea, the transparent front part of your eye. By the time you wake up, your cornea has been moulded to a shape that allows for clear vision without the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses; a significant advantage for those with active lifestyles.

A key benefits of Ortho-K is that it is non-surgical and reversible. If you decide to stop using Ortho-K lenses, your cornea will gradually return to its original shape, and your vision will revert to its previous state. This makes Ortho-K an attractive option for those who are hesitant about undergoing permanent surgical procedures.

Another significant advantage of Ortho-K is its suitability for all ages. It’s a great option for children, teenagers, and adults alike. For children, in particular, Ortho-K can help manage the progression of myopia, reducing the risk of short-sightedness and more serious eye conditions later in life.

Additionally, because the lenses are worn at night, there is less risk of dryness and irritation, which can be a common issue with traditional contact lenses worn during the day.

Getting the Right Ortho-K Lenses for Astigmatism

Which type of Ortho-K lenses should you choose for astigmatism? There are two main designs: spherical and toric.

Spherical Ortho-K lenses are typically used for mild to moderate cases of astigmatism. These lenses reshape the cornea uniformly, which can be effective for many individuals.

However, for those with pronounced astigmatism, we recommend toric Ortho-K lenses. These lenses have a more complex design that allows for targeted reshaping, addressing the specific irregularities in the cornea’s curvature.

Choosing between spherical and toric Ortho-K lenses depends on the degree of your astigmatism and the specific characteristics of your cornea. During the initial consultation, we perform a detailed corneal topography. This imaging technique maps the surface of your cornea in detail, providing crucial information about its shape and any variations in elevation. This data helps us determine which lens design will provide the best fit and most effective correction.

Several factors influence the choice of Ortho-K lenses. For example, the elevation differences across your cornea and the overall corneal toricity are important considerations. A customised approach ensures that the lenses fit comfortably and provide optimal vision correction. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution; each pair of lenses is tailored to meet the unique needs of your eyes.

astigmatism ortho k correction

Fitting Process for Ortho-K Lenses

How does the fitting process for Ortho-K lenses work? It all starts with an initial assessment and consultation. During this appointment, we screen for suitability by evaluating your eye health and discussing your vision needs. This is a crucial step to ensure that Ortho-K is the right choice for you. We’ll also talk about your expectations and answer any questions you might have.

Next comes the lens fitting and adjustment phase. We take detailed measurements of your cornea to create custom lenses, then place the order with the lens makers. Once the lenses are ready, you’ll try them on, and we’ll make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. This step-by-step process ensures the lenses are comfortable and effective.

Follow-up care is essential for long-term success with Ortho-K astigmatism treatment. Regular check-ups allow us to monitor your progress and make any needed adjustments to the lenses. This helps manage any potential complications and ensures that your vision remains clear and stable.


Astigmatism doesn’t have to limit your vision or daily life. With Ortho-K lenses, you have a non-surgical, reversible option that can correct your vision overnight and provide clear sight throughout the day. These lenses are suitable for patients of all ages and offer a comfortable alternative to traditional glasses and contacts, reducing the risk of dryness and irritation.

At Optometrist Parramatta, we are committed to delivering personalized eye care solutions tailored to your unique needs. If you’re curious about how Ortho-K can transform your vision, I encourage you to book an appointment with us. Let’s explore the best options to achieve optimal vision health. I look forward to helping you on your journey to clearer vision.

To make an appointment, give us a call at 02 9891 2020 or click the “Book Online” button on our website.

Dr Jotinder Khosla – Optometrist

B.Optom (UNSW), CertOcTher (UNSW) Therapeutically Endorsed Optometrist
Member of the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania