As myopia hits epidemic levels in some countries, researchers are spending more and more time evaluating the various treatment options, including the long-trusted orthokeratology (OK). A new study out of China adds even more weight to its benefits beyond simply slowing myopia progression.

The researchers surveyed 100 children wearing OK lenses—both at baseline and after three months of lens wear—using a 20-question survey that included items related to symptoms, entertainment activities, studies, and life and psychology. The study revealed a significant difference in the children’s answers for nine of the 20 items three months after starting lens wear. 

Although symptoms of discomfort were higher, OK provided the children daytime freedom from corrective lens wear that proved “very powerful and potentially life-changing,” according to the researchers. The survey showed those wearing OK lenses had a tendency to be more active in sports and recreational activities, thus prolonging their outdoor activity time.

The survey showed OK wear boosted the children’s daily activities by eliminating the inconvenience of a eyeglass frame’s limits on peripheral vision and other discomforts, including lens fogging. It also made the children more confident about their academic performance. While the psychological entry scores were not statistically significant, the researchers noted those wearing OK tended to be more confident and willing to try new things due to their improved appearance and convenience for participating in activities.

Overall, “orthokeratology lenses have a good effect on children's quality of life, behaviors and psychology,” the study concludes. “The children who wore lenses were more self-confident, more willing to try new things, and more active in participating in sports and entertainment, resulting in an increasing trend of the total time spent on outdoor activities.”

Zhao F, Zhao G, Zhao Z. Investigation of the effect of orthokeratology lenses on quality of life and behaviors of children. Eye Cont Lens. 2018;44(5):335-8.