Ortho-K vs LASIK For Adults

Are you tired of the inconvenience of glasses and wondering which vision correction option is right for you?

One solution is Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (a.k.a. LASIK), a refractive surgery that addresses vision problems by reshaping the cornea, offering quick recovery and high satisfaction rates.

An alternative option is Orthokeratology (a.k.a. Ortho-K contact lenses). These are lenses specially designed to be worn overnight, so they mould your cornea into shape and are removed the next morning. Properly fitted Ortho-K lenses can give you unassisted perfect vision while you maintain the nightly routine.

In this article we are going to compare these two popular choices for vision correction among adults who prioritize clear vision and freedom from daytime corrective eyewear.

I’m Dr. Jotinder Khosla, optometrist at Optometrist Parramatta. Our optometry practice is renowned for its extensive experience in introducing patients to Ortho-K lenses. We also co-manage patients along with various Sydney ophthalmologists to whom we can refer you for LASIK eye surgery, if you choose.

Keep reading to learn more, or alternatively, book a consultation to discuss in person which strategy is best for you and your eyes.

Comparing Ortho-K vs LASIK Eye Surgery in Sydney

When deciding between LASIK and Ortho-K, it’s essential to understand how each method addresses vision correction and fits into your lifestyle. Both LASIK and Ortho-K offer unique advantages, but they differ significantly in their approach, effectiveness, and suitability for various individuals.

Immediate Results: LASIK vs. Ortho-K

LASIK offers the advantage of immediate vision correction. Most patients can resume normal activities within 24 to 48 hours, making it an attractive option for those looking for a swift return to their daily routines. The immediate improvement in vision is one of LASIK’s most appealing aspects.

Ortho-K however, requires consistent overnight wear and the initial adaptation period may take a few days to weeks, as the cornea gradually reshapes. However, once the desired vision correction is achieved, the daily routine becomes straightforward, with patients enjoying clear vision without daytime contacts or glasses.

Long-term Vision Stability: LASIK vs. Ortho-K

In terms of long-term vision stability, LASIK generally provides permanent correction for most individuals, though some may require enhancement procedures years later. The stability of LASIK’s results depends on factors such as age, the degree of refractive error, and individual healing responses.

Ortho-K, being a reversible and adjustable treatment, allows for ongoing management of vision changes. If there are shifts in vision over time, the lens prescription can be modified to accommodate these changes, offering a flexible approach to maintaining optimal vision health.

Safety and Risks

LASIK carries potential risks such as dry eyes, glare, halos, and, in rare cases, more serious complications. It is crucial to have a thorough pre-operative assessment to determine suitability and minimise risks.

Ortho-K is considered safe with a low risk of complications. The primary concern is lens hygiene, as improper care can lead to eye infections. Regular monitoring by an optometrist helps maintain eye health and ensures the effectiveness of the treatment.

lasik vs ortho-k

Patient Suitability

Who should consider LASIK, and who might be better suited for Ortho-K? The suitability of each vision correction method depends on various individual factors, including age, eye health, and lifestyle preferences.

LASIK is generally recommended for adults in their early 20’s or older whose vision has been stable for at least two years. It’s ideal for those seeking a permanent solution to their vision problems and who prefer the convenience of a one-time procedure. However, certain conditions, such as thin corneas or severe dry eyes, might disqualify someone from being a candidate for LASIK. Additionally, pregnant or nursing women are typically advised to wait, as hormonal changes can affect vision stability.

Ortho-K is an excellent option for individuals of all ages, including children and teens. It is particularly beneficial for younger patients whose vision is still changing, as it can slow the progression of myopia. Athletes and individuals who engage in activities where glasses or daytime contact lenses are inconvenient might find Ortho-K particularly advantageous.

Choosing between LASIK and Ortho-K depends on your vision goals, medical history, and personal preferences. If you value a permanent correction and meet the eligibility criteria, LASIK might be the best choice. Alternatively, if you prefer a non-surgical, reversible option, especially for younger patients or those with specific eye conditions, Ortho-K offers a flexible and effective solution.

If you’d like to understand more about the eligibility for LASIK and how Ortho-K can play a role in stabilizing prescriptions, watch the following video from Dr Babakhan.

Impact on Dry Eyes and Eye Health

How do LASIK and Ortho-K affect dry eyes and overall eye health? This is a crucial consideration for many patients, especially those already experiencing dry eye symptoms.

LASIK can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the procedure. During LASIK, nerves in the cornea that play a role in tear production can be temporarily disrupted, leading to decreased tear production and an increased risk of dry eyes. This condition often improves over time, but some patients may experience chronic dry eyes, requiring ongoing use of lubricating eye drops or other treatments.

Ortho-K, on the other hand, generally poses a lower risk of inducing dry eyes since it is a non-surgical approach. In fact Ortho-K lenses are often a superior choice to regular contact lenses, since they can be removed during the day, when contact lenses can be problematic for dry eye sufferers. However, proper lens hygiene is vital to prevent potential eye infections. It is essential to maintain excellent lens care and regular check-ups to ensure eye health is not compromised.


Implications of Thin Corneas for LASIK Eligibility

Thin corneas pose a significant problem for those considering LASIK surgery because the procedure involves removing a small amount of corneal tissue to reshape the eye and correct vision.

If the cornea is too thin, there may not be enough tissue available to safely perform the surgery without compromising the structural integrity of the eye.

This can increase the risk of complications, such as corneal ectasia, where the cornea becomes weakened and bulges outward, leading to distorted vision and potential long-term issues. Therefore, individuals with thin corneas are often advised to explore alternative vision correction options, such as Ortho-K.

Practical Considerations and Maintenance

LASIK is largely maintenance-free after the initial recovery period. Patients must use prescribed eye drops and attend follow-up visits to ensure proper healing, but beyond that, daily life returns to normal without the need for ongoing care specific to the procedure. The simplicity of post-LASIK life appeals to those seeking minimal maintenance.

Ortho-K requires a daily commitment. The custom lenses must be worn every night and cleaned meticulously to avoid infections. This routine can be an adjustment, but many find the trade-off worthwhile for clear vision without daytime lenses.


LASIK and Ortho-K: Comparing Patient Outcomes and Satisfaction

LASIK generally enjoys high satisfaction rates due to its immediate and long-lasting results. Many patients appreciate the convenience of waking up with clear vision and the freedom from glasses or contact lenses. The rapid recovery and effectiveness in correcting vision make LASIK a popular choice, with most patients reporting a significant improvement in their quality of life.

Ortho-K also boasts positive outcomes, particularly among those who prefer a non-surgical approach. Patients often report satisfaction with the flexibility and reversibility of the treatment. The ability to manage vision correction without permanent changes to the eye appeals to many, especially those who might not qualify for LASIK. Regular check-ups and the maintenance routine become a comfortable habit, contributing to overall satisfaction.

Both LASIK and Ortho-K have their loyal proponents, and the choice ultimately hinges on personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Whether you value the immediate results of LASIK or the adjustable nature of Ortho-K, both methods can lead to high patient satisfaction and improved vision.


Both LASIK and Ortho-K offer unique benefits for vision correction, catering to different needs and preferences. LASIK provides quick, lasting results with minimal recovery time, making it ideal for those seeking immediate improvement. On the other hand, Ortho-K offers a non-surgical, reversible option that can be particularly beneficial for individuals who prefer a non-invasive approach or whose prescription is unstable.

At Optometrist Parramatta, we are committed to helping you find the best solution for your vision needs. Whether you’re considering LASIK or Ortho-K, our experienced team is here to guide you every step of the way. I invite you to make an appointment to discuss your eye care needs and explore the options that will best enhance your vision and quality of life. We look forward to seeing you soon!


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