Crazy? Not any more. Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) is a recently PDA-approved, nonsurgical and non-invasive procedure that utilizes special, customized contact lenses to reshape the cornea (the surface of the eye) while you sleep. This system, which is approved by the FDA, reduces nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism and the dependence on
"It's like the orthodontist's use of dental retainers for straightening teeth, only these are for the eyes," says Dr. Shum, who has been in practice for 27 years and, as an AOA Licensed Optometrist, is one of the few in the Memphis area to offer CRT. In fact, in Dr. Shum's practice, more than 200 patients have already benefitted from use of these special lenses. The results of a recent FDA study on CRT, reveals that 93.3 of patients improved their vision to 20/40 or better, 69.3 to 20/20 or better. These results are comparable to LASIK. Dr. Shum says that his results are better than the national average.
CRT, also known as Corneal Refractive Therapy or Molding, runs about half the cost of LASIK - although the cost of laser surgery differs from doctor to doctor -and has none of the surgical or post-operative concerns.
Option for Young People
According to Dr. Shum, teenagers who would not be eligible for LASIK because their vision has not fully stabilized (and won't until they reach their early 20s) make good candidates for CRT. Another benefit may also exist for young patients: Some preliminary studies show that using vision retainers at a young age may slow the progression of myopia.
CRT involves an eye examination and computerized screening of the eye to map the cornea. The doctor enters the patient's information into the CRT system software and fits the patient with diagnostic lenses (retainers) in the office. Once these customized lenses are created, the patient is instructed on the use and care. Three to five short visits are typically required to assure effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
Quick Answer for Nearsightedness
Most patients report immediate improvement in their vision, and optimum vision within a week or two. In some cases, patients sleep in the lenses just three or four nights a week and maintain their improved vision.
CRT is not for everyone, says Dr. Shum. It works best on those who have mild to moderate amounts of nearsightedness or astigmatism. Patients with certain shaped corneas may also be poor candidates for the procedure.