For many patients, reducing or eliminating the need for eyeglasses without surgery seems like a far-fetched idea. However, due to advances in the field of ophthalmology, it is now a reality for many patients.
Corneal refractive therapy, also called orthokeratology or ortho-k, is a non-surgical alternative for correcting myopia (nearsightedness). In some cases, this method can be used to treat hyperopia or astigmatism, as well.
Fortunately, we offer this treatment at Primary Eye Care Associates in Chicago, IL. Today, our team will discuss what to expect during treatment as well as the best corneal refractive therapy candidates.
About Corneal Refractive Therapy: An Overview
Corneal refractive therapy involves wearing gas permeable contact lenses overnight. These lenses reshape the outermost layer of the cornea while you sleep. Upon waking, the contact lenses are removed, after which you should be able to see clearly.
There are two primary reasons for prescribing these lenses. Most commonly, they are used to correct refractive errors in adults. In some instances, they are used to slow the progression of childhood myopia.
Who Is a Candidate for Corneal Refractive Therapy?
The best candidates for corneal refractive therapy are patients with mild to moderate myopia or those who are too young to qualify for LASIK.
Some patients may have specific conditions that make them ineligible for refractive surgery, such as chronic dry eyes. In addition, individuals who work in dusty environments or play contact sports can greatly benefit from this non-surgical treatment.
Corneal refractive therapy has been used successfully on patients of all ages with all forms of refractive errors. In fact, it can sometimes even be helpful for those with presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness.
There are minimal risks associated with corneal refractive therapy. Therefore, it can be useful for a wide range of issues. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, so it is important to have a consultation with your eye care specialist, who can determine which treatment is right for you.
Results of Corneal Refractive Therapy
The results are impressive: on average, 20/40 vision or better without corrective eyewear. Patients with nearsightedness typically achieve similar results whether they have astigmatism or not.
Patients considering corneal refractive therapy should know about the treatment and understand that the results are temporary. If patients stop wearing the lenses, vision could return to its original state in only 72 hours. Once myopia returns, individuals will either need to start wearing their lenses again or wear glasses or contacts.
The FDA has conducted at least two clinical studies regarding ortho-k. One trial found that 93 percent of patients who underwent corneal refractive therapy with Paragon CRT lenses achieved 20/32 vision or better, while 67 percent achieved 20/20. A clinical study conducted for the FDA approval of a Vision Shaping Treatment (VST) design found that 95 percent of patients achieved 20/40 or better, while 73 percent achieved 20/20 or better.
Learn More about Corneal Refractive Therapy
If you do not qualify for refractive surgery and are looking for an alternative method, corneal refractive therapy could be the solution for you. To explore your treatment options, schedule a consultation at our practice. You can contact us online anytime or give us a call at (773) 492-6041.