Purpose: Despite growing evidence for clinical efficacy of orthokeratology (OK) for the temporary reduction of myopic refractive error, there has been an increasing number of reports of microbial keratitis (MK) in association with overnight wear of OK lenses. This article analyzes the first 50 cases of MK reported in overnight OK, in order to define the spectrum of the disease and to identify possible risk factors.
Methods: All reported cases of presumed MK in overnight OK from 2001 onwards were included in the analysis. Demographic data of patients affected and lenses worn, and details of the disease process and possible risk factors were extracted from these reports.
Results: Most cases of MK in OK were reported from East Asia (80%) and most affected patients were Asian (88%). The peak age range was from 9 to 15 years (61%). Although Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the predominant organism implicated in this series of cases (52%), an alarmingly high frequency of Acanthamoeba infection (30%) was found. Inappropriate lens care procedures, patient noncompliance with practitioner instructions, and persisting in lens wear despite discomfort emerged as potential risk factors.
Conclusions: The high frequency of MK in overnight OK in young Asian patients is likely to reflect the demographics of the OK lens-wearing population. The high frequency of Acanthamoeba infection strongly suggests that tap water rinsing should be eliminated from the lens care regimen for overnight OK. This study does not reveal the absolute incidence or relative risk of MK in overnight OK, and it is therefore premature to ascribe increased risk to this lens-wearing modality compared with other contact lens modalities.