Corneal refractive therapy, also known as CRT or Orthokeratology, is an advanced, painless treatment for refractive errors like myopia and astigmatism, and has two core benefits. First, it can be used to help patients see clearly during the day without requiring glasses or contact lenses, giving them the freedom and flexibility that they need to live life to the fullest. Second, CRT has been shown to help slow the progression of myopia, keeping prescriptions under control and potentially reducing the likelihood of patients developing serious eye health problems associated with high myopia in the future.
Here’s everything that you need to know about corneal refractive therapy and what it means for you.
Refractive eye problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are extremely common, with nearsightedness – also known as myopia – being the most common of all. Patients with myopia can see nearby objects clearly, but those further away become progressively more blurred. Refractive errors occur when the shape of the cornea impairs the light focusing process in your eyes. This leads to the light’s focal point ending up in the wrong place inside the eye, and the message that is sent to our brain from our eyes is muddled, causing blurred vision.
Corneal refractive therapy was initially developed as a treatment to correct nearsightedness. However, it can also be possible to correct certain other refractive errors, including farsightedness, astigmatism and an age-related refractive condition called presbyopia.
CRT is a reversible, nonsurgical and painless method of correcting vision so that patients don’t need to wear contacts or glasses, without laser vision correction surgery. CRT uses special contact lenses that are worn overnight, float on a precise and thin layer of tear fluid, and use fluid pressure in order to reshape only the outermost layer of the cornea so that light is refracted correctly, and the image sent from the eyes to the brain is clear. The cornea is able to retain this new shape even after the contact lenses are removed the next morning, meaning that you can continue to see clearly all day. The more consistently you wear your CRT lenses overnight, the longer your eyes will learn to retain their new shape and eventually, many patients can enjoy up to 48 hours of clear vision without wearing their lenses. However the effects are fully reversible, so if you stop wearing the lenses, your vision will gradually return back to normal over the course of a few days.
Another key benefit of CRT is that it can actually help to slow the progression of myopia. Most people who are nearsighted find that their eyesight gets progressively worse as they get older. This deterioration may or may not be rapid, but it can end in patients requiring high prescriptions. Studies have found that patients who have high myopia are more likely to develop serious eye problems in the future, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and detached retinas. Regular use of your corneal refractive therapy lenses help keep your prescription stable and may lower your risk of developing these problems.
You may be a candidate for corneal refractive therapy if you:
· Have a myopia prescription within specific parameters
· Have a prescription for hyperopia, presbyopia or astigmatism within specific parameters
· Have a job or enjoy hobbies that make it impractical or unsafe to wear glasses or contact lenses, such as swimming or sports
· Have healthy eyes and are generally in good health
For more information, please contact our friendly and knowledgeable team today.