Due to recent technological developments, we can now offer our near-sighted patients who want to eliminate the dependence on glasses and contact lenses or who are considering laser surgery but are concerned about cost, safety, and long-tern effects another alternative – Controlled Corneal Molding (CRT).
What is CRT?
- CRT utilizes specially designed rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses to alter the shape of the cornea so as to reduce or correct myopia (short-sight) and moderate degrees of astigmatism (when the front of the eye is football shaped).
- CRT has been practiced in the US for many years, but has been relatively unknown. Within the last 5 years new technology has become available to facilitate faster and more precise results. In addition, new developments in lens materials now enable safe overnight wear of lenses.
- CRT is now a viable and reversible alternative to permanent wear of eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery.
Why have CRT done?
- The main purpose of CRT is to be free of both contact lenses and spectacles for most or all waking hours.
- Freedom from any artificial aids appeals to myopic spectacle and contact lens wearers, and is ideal for sportsmen, those who work in dusty or dirty environments, or people who find spectacles and conventional lenses just a plain nuisance.
- In addition, it is helpful to those who need a certain degree of uncorrected vision to satisfy their employment or service requirements such as pilots, flight attendants, police, or other security agents.
- The most ideal application of CRT is for the child or teenager with early myopia. In addition to eliminating the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses. The procedure also retards the progression of the myopia so progressively thicker glasses would not be needed.
Who is a candidate for CRT?
- The procedure works best up to -4 diopters of myopia and -2 diopters of astigmatism. Errors above this amount may be reduced but total correction is not always possible. In addition, there are several individual factors that may influence the total effect. Thus the speed of corneal molding can vary among individuals so perfect success cannot be guaranteed.
What does the procedure involve?
- An initial assessment including a comprehensive examination to determine the likely effect of the procedure for that individual.
- CRT contact lenses, made of highly oxygen permeable rigid material, are fitted in progressive stages to gently reshape the cornea. This reduces myopia and astigmatism while dramatically improving unaided eyesight.
- Most of the visual changes occur rapidly in the first weeks requiring ongoing monitoring. Stabilization occurs over the following weeks depending on the degree of visual error.
- When the maximum results are achieved, the final or ‘retainer’ lenses are worn to stabilize the new corneal shape. The final wearing schedule varies but is generally limited to lens wear overnight. Some patients need only wear lenses every second or third night.
What are the advantages of CRT over laser surgery (Lasik)?
- It achieves the same results as Lasik in patients who are too young or are not ideal candidates for Lasik.
- It does not cause the permanent hazy vision experienced by some patients following laser surgery.
- Changes in prescription over time can be dealt without re-treatment surgery.
- The procedure is REVERSIBLE (Lasik is not!).
- There is no post-operative pain.
- CRT is significantly less expensive than Lasik and does not preclude future surgery.
- The practice of CRT requires a great deal of technical skill, specialized instrumentation and considerably more office time and is therefore more costly than conventional contact lens fitting. Many contact lens fitters do not consider myopia control worth the time and effort. If a doctor is not trained in CRT it will not be offered as an option during an eye examination. It is easier for those doctors to offer glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery to correct vision.
- CRT does not produce a permanent result and requires retainer lens wear to maintain the improvement. That isn’t necessarily bad! Because the treatment is not permanent it is reversible. Upon discontinuation of treatment the patient’s eyes return to the condition existing before treatment.
- Once treatment is complete, the on-going costs are significantly less than conventional soft contact lens wear or laser surgery.
What are the advantages of CRT?
- Good vision without spectacles or contact lenses.
- It is not surgery.
- It is reversible.
- It is modifiable.
- It does not hurt.
- It slows down the increase in myopia in children.
- Using time-proven contact lens fitting techniques means that there are very few risks.
What are the disadvantages of CRT?
- You must be prepared to allow 4 to 6 visits over 3-6 month.
- CRT does not correct presbyopia (aging loss of close focus) but a bifocal effect can be achieved.
- Overnight retainer lens wear is essential or the cornea will revert to its original shape.
- The degree of success is high but cannot always be guaranteed.
- The speed of reduction in the myopia varies from person to person.
- You must follow instructions implicitly for the best results.
Is CRT for you?
If you have a strong motivation to eliminate your dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses, and your vision error falls within the treatable limits of the procedure you may be a candidate.
Please call the office at 954-564-2020 to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary consultation.