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Home » Myopia Management » How Safe Are Overnight Contact Lenses?

How Safe Are Overnight Contact Lenses?

boy in yellow zip up jacket 3771646Your optometrist recommended orthokeratology (ortho-k) treatment for your child — that is, wearing corrective lenses overnight. However, the idea of having your child wear contact lenses while they sleep may be worrisome. Can it lead to an eye infection, or scratch/ squeeze the cornea?

A closer look into the research done on overnight ortho-k lens wear reveals the extent of any actual risk factors and how they compare to other contact lens options.

What Are Overnight Ortho-K Lenses?

Ortho-k lenses are custom-made contact lenses that are worn overnight to gently reshape the cornea, thus enabling clear vision the following day. Research shows that overnight ortho-k not only effectively removes the need to wear any glasses or daytime contact lenses, but can slow down the progression of myopia. Optometrists, such as , are therefore increasingly using ortho-k for myopia management as well as for patients who no longer want to wear any optical correction during the day.

Is Your Child at a Higher Risk of Eye Infection With Ortho-K?

An extensive study involving 1300 people at Ohio State University concluded that overnight ortho-k carries no more risk than any other type of contact lens modality.

Hygiene plays a vital role in preventing infections with all contact lenses. During the lens fitting process, your eye care professional will provide you and your child with detailed information and guidance on how to clean and store the lenses, as well as what precautions to take. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions regarding the cleaning schedule and use only the appropriate solutions provided for the overnight lenses.

Other Potential Risks With Orthokeratology

Can an Ortho-k Lens Squeeze or Scratch the Cornea?

An ortho-k lens floats on a tear film covering the eye. The reshaping is achieved by  hydraulic force that is applied to the thin central part of the cornea without any tissue being squeezed or crushed.

A corneal abrasion can occasionally occur and is usually the result of a fingernail or lens edge scratching the cornea. That said, the risk isn't any higher with overnight lenses than with other rigid lenses.

Do Overnight Lenses Involve a Higher Risk of Hypoxia?

The cornea needs a regular oxygen supply. This supply is typically reduced when covered by a contact lens. Extended uninterrupted contact lens wear can cause hypoxia and swell the cornea — this applies to all contact lens modalities when worn longer than recommended.

What is Corneal Staining?

This is likely the most common of all contact lens complications. Corneal staining refers to the appearance of tissue disruption and other changes on the corneal surface. This may be due to a variety of causes, such as improper lens fit, foreign bodies, tear film disruption or irregularities at the edges of a contact lens.

A corneal stain can also occur when a specific contact lens solution comes into direct contact with the cornea and the patient has a reaction to the chemicals in that solution. Research shows that children who wear ortho-k lenses are at no greater risk of corneal staining than those who wear soft contact lenses.

What You Need to Remember When Handling Ortho-K Lenses

  • Always wash hands before inserting or removing contact lenses.
  • Make sure to strictly adhere to the cleaning and disinfection routine as instructed by your optometrist.
  • Provide your child with all the necessary assistance and support regarding the care of the lenses. Young children should not handle the lenses on their own.
  • Only use the solutions recommended by Rebecca St. Jean, O.D. and Elicia Miller, O.D.. If you feel your child has an issue with any of them, please contact us.
  • Frequently replace the lens case to avoid microbial contamination and make sure you or your child do not touch the tip of the solution bottle.
  • Do not use tap water to rinse your lenses, always use saline solution.
  • Never use a soft contact lens solution for a rigid lens. These solutions are made of different liquids, each with their own guidelines and protocols.
  • If your child feels discomfort or experiences redness of the eye, contact Rebecca St. Jean, O.D. and Elicia Miller, O.D..

How Safe Are Overnight Contact Lenses? from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

Overnight Ortho-K Lenses are Safe

Orthokeratology is a safe and effective method of providing clear daytime vision and of slowing down the progression of myopia in children.

As long as they carefully follow the instructions regarding hygiene and the handling of the lenses, there should be no reason to worry. Children mature enough to understand the importance of these instructions will also be responsible enough to adhere to them.

Get more information regarding overnight ortho-k lenses at The Myopia Control Center at Advanced Eye Care. Rebecca St. Jean, O.D. and Elicia Miller, O.D. will carry out an eye exam and will happily answer any questions you may have.



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At Advanced Eyecare, the health and safety of our patients and team members continue to be our top priority as we respond to the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

The CDC has advised voluntary reduction of patient load to essential services only. We are diligently sanitizing our premises and taking precautions to do our part in mitigating the spread of the virus. We have revised our testing protocol to reduce contact as much as possible.

We ask that if you are not in need of essential medical services, you delay your visit until after March 30, 2020. We will be closing our office to routine care on March 20, 2020 and will be seeing urgent issues only. We are currently available during business hours by phone and email to schedule you if you have an urgent issue. You can also request an appointment at www.advanced-eyecare.com.

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We are still receiving orders into the office, so delivery times are still on schedule as of now. We are also extending contact lens prescriptions and glasses prescriptions for 30 days for patients affected by the disruption of our schedule.

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Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Advanced Eyecare Call 304-766-2220 Email: advanced-eyecare@suddenlinkmail.com Online Scheduling: advanced-eyecare.com