8 Facts About Corneal Refractive Therapy - Art of Optiks
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8 Facts About Corneal Refractive Therapy

Our eyes provide a lot of joy in our lives. They allow us to see our loved ones, watch our favorite entertainment, and view beautiful scenes in nature.

Our eyes can also cause us a lot of frustration and stress when they develop certain conditions. You may wonder if you need corrective eyewear if objects look blurry, street lights are distorted at night, or you get frequent headaches. 

Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism are all vision conditions that affect how we interact with the world around us. If you’re tired of wearing glasses and contacts, or if you don’t want to use them to begin with, you may want to look into other vision correction solutions.

One corrective option is Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT), also called orthokeratology or ortho-k. Interested to learn how CRT could help your vision? Keep reading to learn 8 facts about Corneal Refractive Therapy and see if it could be right for you.

1. CRT Is Different Than LASIK

You have probably heard of LASIK surgery as an option for vision correction. CRT is not the same type of procedure. In fact, CRT is not a procedure at all. Let’s take a look at the differences between LASIK and CRT.


LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It is a popular laser eye surgery option designed to help a patient see clearly without glasses or contacts. The procedure is accomplished with a laser that reshapes the patient’s cornea.

During LASIK, a small flap is produced in the top layer of the cornea’s surface. An eye surgeon creates this flap by using a laser to reshape the cornea. The correct passage of light through the eyes is ensured, and the flap is then set down to heal.

LASIK is a good option for people who are willing to undergo the surgery and are looking for permanent results.

Corneal Refractive Therapy

Corneal Refractive Therapy is one of many modern eye care advancements. CRT is a treatment that improves a patient’s vision by wearing rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses during sleep. This process gently reshapes the patient’s cornea. 

The cornea is the outermost, transparent part of the eye. When the cornea’s shape is adjusted, patients experience better vision because light travels through the cornea more successfully. 

Wearing CRT contact lenses at night allows patients to forgo wearing glasses or contacts during the day. But don’t worry, you can still see with CRT contacts if you need to get up during the night.

2. It Is Not Surgery

CRT is incredibly appealing to many patients who want to correct their vision without glasses or contacts but who are not interested in surgery. Undergoing surgery on such a vulnerable part of the body is what deters most people from seeking vision improvement.

CRT contact lenses are safe and non-invasive. They gently reshape the surface of your eyes while you sleep. CRT lenses generally last about 2 to 3 years before they need to be replaced. 

While eye surgery will always pose risks, the risks of Corneal Refractive Therapy are only equal to the risks of regular contact lens wear.

3. It’s Approved for Adults and Children

Corneal Refractive Therapy is approved by the FDA without age restriction and is suitable for children, teens, and adults.

You may be wondering why children would need vision improvement options beyond glasses. Well, one of the perks of CRT for children is that it is clinically proven to slow the progression of myopia in a child. 

Slowing down myopia before it reaches a high level is ideal to save on future costs and potential issues.

4. CRT Is Older Than You Think

Even though CRT isn’t as widely known as other corrective vision options, that doesn’t mean that it is a new concept. Contact lens corneal reshaping has been around for a long time, but it could only advance as far as the technology did.

The FDA approved the first CRT contact lenses in 2002. The FDA trials found that more than 90% of participants enjoyed 20/40 vision during therapy. 20/40 vision is sharp enough for people to drive without glasses or contacts. 

As technological advancements continue to improve, so will Corneal Refractive Therapy.

5. CRT Is Not a Permanent Fix

The fact that CRT is not permanent could be a pro for some and a con for others. If you decide that CRT isn’t for you, you can stop the therapy and return to wearing glasses and contacts. Once you stop wearing CRT lenses regularly, your vision will return to its original state in about 72 hours.

If you decide to discontinue CRT, you could choose to pursue a permanent solution like LASIK surgery. Some people are put off by the idea of a permanent surgery because if anything goes wrong, the mistakes are permanent too. 

6. The Benefits are High

Corneal Refractive Therapy offers a large number of benefits to the patients who participate. Benefits include:

  • Achieving optimum vision in less than 2 weeks
  • CRT contact lenses last 2-3 years
  • Lenses are easy to care for
  • CRT costs about the same amount as getting braces
  • Easily discontinued 
  • Slows childhood myopic progressions
  • Increased confidence from no longer needing glasses

7. The Risks are Low

Since Corneal Refractive Therapy is such a safe and trustworthy process, the risks involved are low. The list of potential risks is much shorter than the benefits:

  • Same risks as regular contacts, such as
    • Headaches
    • Dry eyes
    • Infection if not cleaned properly
  • The patient may still need reading glasses on occasion

8. Many People are Good Candidates

Candidates for Corneal Refractive Therapy have healthy eyes and are dependent on corrective eyewear. CRT can help manage farsightedness and astigmatism, but it is most effective for patients who have mild to moderate myopia (nearsightedness) and mild astigmatism.

For cases of myopia, CRT helps individuals with prescriptions of up to -6.00 units. Low amounts of farsightedness, up to +4.00 units, can also be treated with or without astigmatism up to -1.75 units.

Is Corneal Refractive Therapy Right for You?

Corneal refractive therapy is a safe and non-invasive way to achieve the clear vision you’ve always hoped for. Does it sound like you could be an ideal candidate for CRT?  Are you interested in gaining the many benefits it offers? 

If you’re ready to say goodbye to glasses and contacts and hello to clear vision, consider trying Corneal Refractive Therapy. Our skilled doctors offer Corneal Refractive Therapy to qualified patients in the Twin Cities. Schedule an appointment today to learn more.

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