Ortho-K Lenses: How to Insert and Remove

Have you ever wondered if there’s a trick to effortlessly handling your Ortho-K lenses?

With proper technique, inserting and removing Ortho-K lenses is not as intimidating as you might imagine.

I’m Dr. Nick Papadopoulos, the owner and Principal Optometrist at Optometrist Parramatta, where we have a special focus on helping Ortho-K patients.

Orthokeratology, (a.k.a. Ortho-K), is an eye care strategy where specially designed hard contact lenses are worn while sleeping then removed in the morning. This overnight process induces corneal reshaping, which has been proven as an effective way of combatting short sightedness and slowing the onset of myopia in children.

So if you are struggling with managing Ortho-K lenses, or would just like to get more insight into the benefits of these lenses, book a consultation with myself or my fellow optometrist Dr. Jotinder Khosla at Optometrist Parramatta.

Keep reading to learn more about proper insertion and removal techniques for orthokeratology contact lenses.

how to remove ortho-k contact lenses

How to Insert Ortho-K Lenses

Let me walk you through the crucial steps to ensure your Ortho-K lenses work effectively, starting with the golden rule: hygiene first.

Before handling your lenses, ensure your hands are thoroughly clean to prevent eye infections. Wash your hands with soap and water, then dry with a lint-free towel.

If they have been soaking in hydrogen peroxide solution for a complete cycle (6-8 hours), the lenses should be ready to insert. Give them a quick rinse with saline solution to remove any residual peroxide.

Choose a clean, well-lit area for lens insertion.

To insert your Ortho-K lens:

  • Place the lens on the tip of your dry index finger with the concave side facing up. Make sure the lens is centered.

  • Inspect the lens for any chips, cracks or attached lint.

  • For comfort, put a few rewetting eye drops into the lens.

  • Use your other hand to hold your upper eyelid open to prevent blinking.

  • Pull down your lower eyelid with the your free fingers of the other hand (the one inserting the lens).

  • Gently place the lens on your eye.

  • Release your eyelids and blink a few times to secure the lens in place.

What if you drop the lens while inserting it? No problem, just give it another rinse with saline lens solution and try again.

What if you feel a sharp discomfort after inserting the lens? The most likely cause is that lint or dust has become trapped under the lens. In this case just remove the lens, rinse with saline solution and try inserting once more.

Sometimes it might feel as though the lens isn’t seated correctly. Gently massaging your eyelid or blinking can help adjust the lens to the right position. Remember, patience is a virtue, especially when you’re starting out.

Adopting Ortho-K lenses into your nightly routine can seem troublesome at first, but with a bit of practice, it’ll become as natural as brushing your teeth. And the payoff? Waking up with clear vision, free from the constraints of glasses or daytime contacts, is well worth the effort.


Watch the first part of the following video for a full demonstration of how to insert your orthokeratology contact lenses.

How to Remove Ortho-K Lenses

Removing Ortho-K lenses properly is crucial for maintaining both the integrity of the lenses and the health of your eyes.

Before removing your Ortho-K lens:

  • Choose a clean, well-lit area and have a mirror handy. If you’re over a sink, cover the drain to prevent losing your lenses.

  • Start by giving your eyelid a gentle rub if the lens has bonded to the front of your eye overnight.

  • Apply wetting eye drops if your eyes feel dry to ease the removal process.

  • Choose whichever of the following three removal methods works best for you.

A. Using the suction tool (plunger) method:

  • Ensure both your hands and the suction tool are clean before use.

  • Remove your suction tool from it’s protective container

  • Moisten the center of the suction cup with sterile saline solution

  • Gently press the suction tool cup against the bottom half of the lens.

  • After the lens adheres to the suction tool cup, gently slide the lens away from your eye.

  • Once removed, carefully slide the lens off the suction tool. Avoid pulling it directly from the suction cup as it may damage the lens.

  • Clean the suction tool. You can give it a general clean with a sterile alcohol wipe, but rinse the suction cup at the end of the plunger with saline solution. Let it air dry for future use.

B. Using the blink method:

  • Look straight ahead.

  • Using your middle finger, firmly pull the skin on the outer corner of your eyelids.

  • Blink hard until your lens pops out.

  • Be prepared for the lens to drop onto your cheek or a level surface; have your other hand or a sterile towel ready to catch it. When taking out your lenses above the sink, place a clean towel over the sink’s drain to prevent the lens from getting lost or contaminated.


C. Using the two-finger method:

  • With the middle finger of your non-dominant hand, gently hold your upper eyelid toward your eyebrow to ensure that your eyelashes don’t get in the way.

  • Using your middle finger on your dominant hand, pull your lower eyelid down.

  • Gently push your eyelids from the outer corner of your eye, toward your nose, bringing your eyelids together and causing the lens to pop out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I dry my hands before inserting contact lenses?

Having absolutely clean hands is essential to prevent bacteria from getting into your eyes and causing infection. But equally important is to avoid getting lint onto your lenses that could irritate the eyes. So after washing your hands, dry them with a lint free towel or paper towel, not tissue paper.

How long do I need to wait after disinfecting my contact lenses before inserting them?

After 6 to 8 hours, the hydrogen peroxide disinfectant solution is neutralized, often resulting in a saline-like solution. The neutralization process converts hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, making it safe for the eyes, similar to saline in its non-irritating properties.

Can I rinse my contact lenses with water before inserting?

No. Water, including tap water, can contain microorganisms, such as Acanthamoeba, that pose a risk of serious eye infections, making it unsuitable for rinsing contact lenses.

Can I wet my contact lenses with saliva before inserting?

No. Saliva contains a wide variety of bacteria, some of which can be harmful if introduced to the eye through contact lenses.

Can I rinse my lenses with hydrogen peroxide solution before putting them into my eyes?

No. You should NEVER rinse your lenses with hydrogen peroxide solution immediately before putting them into your eyes. Hydrogen peroxide is acidic and must be fully neutralized first to avoid eye irritation or injury.

Can I use soft tipped tweezers for removing Ortho-K lenses?

No. Soft tipped tweezers are designed for use with soft contact lenses. Ortho-K lenses are made from harder rigid gas permeable (RGP) material, and therefore tweezers are not a suitable tool. You could in fact cause damage to your lenses. Use a suction tool instead, if you are having trouble with just your fingers.

Are rewetting eye drops the same as lubricating eye drops?

No. Lubricating eye drops (a.k.a. artificial tears) are a specific treatment option for dry eye disease. Rewetting drops are designed to hydrate and comfort contact lenses by either coating or attracting moisture to the lens, without treating underlying dry eye symptoms. Both can be used during your contact lens routine, but lubricating eye drops will provide more benefits if you suffer from dry eye disease.

Why is the suction lens removal tool sometimes called a DMV?

The contact lens suction removal tool is often called a DMV, which stands for the brand name of one of the first and most popular manufacturers of these tools, the DMV Corporation. Over time, “DMV” has become a generic term used to refer to this type of suction tool, regardless of the actual brand.



By following the detailed guidance provided, you can enjoy the full advantages of Ortho-K lenses with minimal risk and maximum comfort.

Proper insertion and removal techniques for Ortho-K lenses are crucial for ensuring eye health and the longevity of your lenses.

So if you need help, take control of your eyesight today—don’t let procrastination keep you from experiencing life with clear, unaided vision. Schedule a visit to us at Optometrist Parramatta.

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

Dr Nick Papadopoulos – Owner and Optometrist

B.Optom (UNSW), CertOcTher (UNSW) Therapeutically Endorsed Optometrist

Member of the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia

& the Orthokeratology Society of Oceania