Off-axis optical configurations are becoming more and more used in a variety of applications, in particular they are the most preferred solution for cameras devoted to Solar System planets and small bodies (i.e. asteroids and comets) study. Off-axis designs, being devoid of central obstruction, are able to guarantee better PSF and MTF performance, and thus higher contrast imaging capabilities with respect to classical on-axis designs. In particular they are suitable for observing extended targets with intrinsic low contrast features, or scenes where a high dynamical signal range is present. Classical distortion theory is able to well describe the performance of the on-axis systems, but it has to be adapted for the off-axis case. A proper way to deal with off-axis distortion definition is thus needed together with dedicated techniques to accurately measure and hence remove the distortion effects present in the acquired images. In this paper, a review of the distortion definition for off-axis systems will be given. In particular the method adopted by the authors to deal with the distortion related issues (definition, measure, removal) in some off-axis instruments will be described in detail.