The CRT Lens - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/4/03

The CRT Lens

On a day like Tuesday with wind and blowing dust, contact lenses can be a real pain, so wouldn't it be great if you could just correct nearsighted vision while you wear your lenses during the night, take them off when you wake up, and you can see just fine during the day. Sounds like magic, but it is a real option called Corneal Refractive Therapy, or CRT.

Actually, the idea has been around for 30 years, but this newest lens is so sophisticated that it makes the product a better option today than it has been for some people.

"It's like really clear, you're like wow, I can see," says Katherine, CRT user.

"This is a CRT lens which is about 10.5 in size, so it's larger so that it covers more area. I think it's a great idea for kids because if anything I think it will help slow down the progressiveness of nearsightedness a certain degree," says Dr. Terry Hawks, optometrist.

For nearsighted people, the cornea is too steep, but this bigger lens molds the cornea, flattening it while you sleep so light hits the right places and the patient sees clearly -- for the day. You have to put the CRT lens back in every night, forever.

It's not a permanent fix like surgery. If you stop wearing CRT's at night, you'll go back to blurry vision. It's like putting a tight rubber band around your wrist. When you take it off, it leaves a mark for a while, but your skin goes back to normal. It's not available here yet.

CRT lenses cost about $900 a year, compared to $1,500 for one-time refractive surgery, or $300 a year for regular contact lenses. But one optometrist says that the beauty of the CRT lens is that it's not invasive. When you take the lens off, the cornea goes back to what it was. That doctor, who asked to be anonymous, also said the CRT lenses will likely be more cost efficient after the user adapts to the lenses and can reuse them.

The theory behind CRT has been around for decades. It was originally called ortho-keratology.

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