Corneal refractive therapy, also known as CRT, is a simple, painless treatment for refractive eye errors like myopia and has two core benefits. First, it can be used to help patients see clearly during the day without using 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.
Understanding refractive eye problems
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 eye errors occur when the shape of the clear dome covering the front part of the eye, called the cornea, impair the light-bending and focusing process in your eyes. This leads to the light 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.
What is corneal refractive therapy?
Corneal refractive therapy was initially developed as a treatment to correct and slow the progression of nearsightedness. However, it has also been found to be effective at controlling other refractive errors, including farsightedness, astigmatism and an age-related refractive condition called presbyopia.
CRT is a non-invasive, painless and straightforward method of correcting patient vision so that they don’t need to wear contacts or glasses, and they don’t need laser vision correction surgery to see clearly. CRT uses special contact lenses that are worn overnight and apply light pressure to the cornea in order to reshape it 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 for several hours. The more consistently you wear your CRT lenses overnight, the longer your eyes will learn to retain their new shape and eventually, patients can enjoy up to 48 hours of clear vision without using prescription lenses. However, the effects aren’t permanent so if you stop wearing the lenses, your vision will gradually return back to normal over the course of a few days.
Slowing the progression of myopia with corneal refractive therapy
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 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, cataracts and a detached retina. Regular use of your corneal refractive therapy lenses could help keep your prescription stable and lower your risk of developing these problems.
Am I a candidate for corneal refractive therapy?
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 stable vision, which means that your prescription hasn’t changed during the last two years
Are not a suitable candidate for laser vision correction
Have a job that makes it impractical or unsafe to wear glasses or contact lenses
Enjoy hobbies that make it impractical or unsafe to wear glasses or contact lenses
Have healthy eyes and are generally in good health
For more information, please contact our friendly and knowledgeable team today.