How To Apply Ortho K Lenses

Applying Ortho K lenses correctly can be the difference between simple, comfortable lens wear and increased risk of an infection.


The Wash Your Hands

The first and most important step when handling a contact lens of any type is for the wearer to wash their hands. We recommend using a basic, non-scented soap that does not contain any type of lotion or moisturizer. Scented soaps can irritate the eyes, even when rinsed thoroughly. Soaps containing lotions can leave undesirable oily films on the lens surface during handling.

When washing your hands, take special care to scrub the pads of your thumb and forefinger. These two fingers are used most often to manipulate and apply the lens. Rinse your hands completely. Removing all residual soap from your skin’s surface with a thorough rinse will ensure no soap remains on the lens during application. As many people know from accidently getting shampoo in their eyes in the shower, soap and eyes don’t mix.

Finally, make sure your hands are totally dry. Exposing the lenses to tab water, even by touching them with wet hands, can increase the risk of adverse events. We recommend using a lint free towel when drying your hands. A small piece of lint that catches a ride on your lens as you apply it can feel like a boulder if it gets trapped underneath.

Now that your hands are clean and dry, you can now remove your lenses from their case. Regardless of the case you’re using, be careful not to slide your lenses against the case surface. This can create scratches in the lens surface, damaging the lens, and make the more vulnerable to breaking. Touching the lens with the pad of your finger is usually enough to create the surface tension necessary to remove the lens from the case.

Give the Lenses a Rinse

No matter which disinfection product you are using (hydrogen peroxide vs. multipurpose vs. iodine based) it never hurts to rinse the lenses prior to application. Rinsing the lenses will remove any of the residual disinfecting solution from the lens surface. Although many multipurpose and peroxide disinfection systems will state that it is ok to apply lenses after removing them from the disinfecting solution, slight differences between solution pH and the ocular surface or incomplete neutralization of the peroxide solution can lead to mild discomfort when the lens is applied.

We recommend using a preservative-free, single-use saline solution like Isosol to rinse your lenses. Single use vials come with a lower risk of contamination than larger bottles of rinsing saline. The absence of preservatives reduces the risk of ocular surface irritation. Rinse both the back and front surface of the lens to completely wash away any residual disinfecting solution or pieces of dust that may have landed on the lens during removal from the case.

Fill the lens bowl

Prior to applying the lens to the eye, we recommend adding a few drops of preservative free sterile saline (can be the same solution you used to rinse the lenses with) or a preservative free artificial tear like Theratears if a more viscous drop is desired. Adding a few drops of solution ensures that the fluid reservoir created underneath the lens upon application is full. It further reduces the risk of trapping any tiny dust particles that might have landed on the lens. The added fluid also helps to comfort the eye as the lens is applied. The lens wearer may also want to put a drop or two of solution into their eye prior to application to help ensure a comfortable application process.

How to apply Ortho K Lenses

Keep your face parallel to the floor

After you’ve added fluid to the back of the ortho k lens, you don’t want it all to spill out when you go to apply it standing straight up. We recommend placing a flat mirror on a counter top or table so that you can bend at the waist and watch yourself apply the lens while keeping your face parallel to the floor. Because the bowl of the lens is point straight up, the fluid in the lens bowl won’t run out during application.

Immobilize both the upper and lower lids

The most common issue with lens application is lid interference, especially the upper lid. The best way to prevent the upper lid from blocking a lens application is to “pin” the upper lashes to the brow bone. By looking up and carefully using a finger to pin the inner base of the eyelashes to the brow, you will prevent the upper lid from coming down blinking the lens away

For the lower lid, you can also use a finger placed at the outer base of the lashes to pull down. Don’t pull too hard on the upper or lower lid. Pulling one lid open pulls the other lid closed.

Apply the lens

The last thing to do is simply apply the lens to the cornea. Make sure you’re looking directly into the bottom of the lens during the process. This ensures the lens will be centered when its applied. When the lens contacts the cornea, you will feel the cooling sensation of the fluid inside the lens on the front surface. Apply very gentle pressure to ensure the lens is in contact with the cornea 360 degrees before you pull your finger away. 

If you feel any pain, discomfort or burning during application, stop. Rinse the lens again, re-fill the bowl and re-apply. If the issues persist, consult with your eye care provider about your application methods. If you have any other questions about how to apply ortho k lenses, talk to your eye care provider.

A properly applied lens will feel noticeable but not painful. If you feel a sharp pain or scratching feeling after applying the lenses, remove the lenses and re-apply.