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I have seen CRT mentioned on the posts but no one has written about actually using them. I have recently started, so I thought I would share my experience so far.
I wanted an alternative to surgery -- I've been using the corneal refractive therapy (CRT) lenses now for one week. I noticed an immediate change and it is amazing to be free from any type of lenses during the day. It is currently only for myopia (nearsightedness).
The doctor must be certified in fitting and dispensing them. They are rigid lenses so they feel a lot different than soft contacts -- for me the sensation is annoying but not intolerable, and becomes less annoying the longer I use them. If you have ever worn contacts, you know what it feels like to have a foreign object under the lens. It does not feel painful like that. They are inserted right before you go to sleep, so you don't feel them for that long. When I wake up, I can't feel them at all.
In 4 nights of use I went from 10/400 vision (not able to see myself in the mirror) to being able to drive. The worse your Rx, the longer it will take to correct, and longer to resolve if you stop using them. My eyes were -3.25 and -4.50. The -3.25 eye was OK for driving in 2 days, the -4.50 eye in 4.
They are more expensive than regular contacts but the freedom from glasses, contacts, or surgery is worth it to me. I had never even heard of these until a week ago and now I can see. They were approved by the FDA in 2002 (FDA reports available on their website).
So far the inconveniences have been: (1) repeated visits to the doctors office - which you would have with surgery as well. There is a visit at one day, one week, and one month (more possible); (2) I had to wear them for driving the first 3 days, which again felt annoying but not intolerable. (3) Handling the rigid gas permeable lens is different than soft contacts, which took me a few uses to get accustomed to - they bounce when dropped and are trickier to remove. They give you a suction device for removal which I found very easy to use.
You must be dedicated to using them and caring for them properly. You must use solutions for RGP lenses which are not as widely used as soft, and the supplies for them are limited in my local grocery and pharmacy. I am still looking for a store that carries the recommended solution, but I found a comparable type at my pharmacy.
Another thing is if you lose one, you will be without sight until it's replaced. You can't use your regular contacts or glasses because your vision is temporarily changed. I would think some doctors might offer some type of insurance on loss, I am going to ask my doctor at my next visit.
Overall so far I would say the CRT lenses are becoming a great investment for me.
If you do an internet search on "CRT lenses" you will find more detailed information.
Jilly Beans,
If you don't mind me asking, how much does this therapy cost? I think I remember reading some where that it was a lot cheaper than lasik. I am going to be looking into this as an alterative to lasik. I was set for lasik on 3/17, but after reading the consent form, I decided that lasik is just too risky. I don't want to risk losing my vision. I know the chance is small, but that is just it, there is still a chance. Now you stated that you had to wear these lenses during the day at first, were they uncomfortable after wearing all night? Keep posting your results, as I am really interested in knowing if it really works.

Trinity
Hi Trinity,
My doctor charged $1200 which included the lenses and all subsequent follow-up appointments. My consultation (I had a full eye exam in addition to the CRT lens fitting) was refunded after I decided to purchase them, and there was a condition that if after a week I decided not to keep them, I would get $800 back. I don't know if this is comparable to all parts of the country, there was not much in the way of "comparison shopping" in my area.
After the first night of wearing them, I left them in place and reported to the doctor's office the next morning so he could check how they fit on my eye. My glasses were no longer appropriate, so I had to wear the lenses to drive to work, remove them, then put them back in to drive home. I did find I had to use rewetting drops to make them more comfortable, I can feel the edges of the lenses on my eyelids -- but they were not painful. As each day goes by the fit is more comfortable. I was wearing them for a short while this evening while watching TV, and they were barely noticeable. Over the course of the day, there is a point where vision gets less clear, but each day this point is later in the day. I was told that in 10-14 days the clarity should last all day. For me, they are the most comfortable when I first wake up.
I do have to tell you that at some times it does seem frustrating, especially those first few days where I had to keep taking them out and putting them back in. But I kept telling myself it would get easier... and it does.
I hope that answered your question. Feel free to ask more if you think of anything! Jilly
I just had my one-week follow up. My vision is now 20/20 in my left eye with lenses out. My right eye is having some problems. My biggest problem is my own fault - I mixed up my rewetting drops and my enzyme cleaning drops (yes, I do feel stupid). I got prescribed some antibiotics and anticipate seeing clearly with my right eye after the treatment. From now on the enzyme drops stay in the bathroom cabinet, away from my daily supplies.
The comfort level of the lenses is dramatically improved.
I asked about replacement costs. When it is time to replace them (after a year or so) they will cost approximately the same as regular lenses, $150-$200. Any replacement during the fitting stages or damage due to normal wear are included in the initial cost. However if they are outright lost it is full price for the lens. Jilly
Jilly,
That is amazing!! I can't wait to find a doctor in my area that does this. Is it your
-4.50 eye that is not seeing 20/20 yet? The reason I ask is because both my eyes are -3.25 and that would be awesome to be able to see 20/20 after only a week of treatment. I have some questions about the cleaning solutions: Are they more expensive and harder to use than solutions for soft contacts? Well hey, keep us posted.

Trinity
Hi Trinity,
Yes, it is the -4.50 that's not up to speed yet. No, the cleaning is pretty much the same. I have an all-in-one solution, it was about $6 a bottle, but there was a coupon I printed off their website. You just put a couple of drops on the lens when you remove it, rub it with your finger in your palm, and put in in the case to soak. Next time you're in the store look for the all-in-one solutions for gas permeable (RGP) lenses to compare pricing.
I'm really excited about the results, and I'm looking forward to my vacation next month, being able to swim and see at the same time!
Jilly
Hi
I am sorry but I was wondering if you could clarify, I think it may be that I just confused myself. :) Is this something that you wear until your vision improves and then you don't have to wear them anymore? So it wears like an uncomfortable contact but you had to take antibiotics because you used the wrong cleaner? How does this change your vision? Thank you! :)
Hi Jenn,
Sorry if I confused you. The CRT lenses are worn when you sleep, and you don't have to wear them during the day. They are hard lenses that gently and temporarily mold the shape of your cornea to one that will see clearly.
My comments about them being uncomfortable were meant to compare them to soft contact lenses. I have worn disposable soft contacts for years, but working with hard lenses is different. After the past week they are no longer any problem, I'm either getting used to them, or because the shape of my eyes have changed such that they fit more comfortably.
One of the websites made the comparison of how they work to having a wrinkle in your sock. When you take off your shoes and socks, you will see a mark on your skin where the wrinkle was. After a while the mark resolves itself and your skin is smooth again. The contact is like that - it holds your cornea into the proper shape. If you stop using them, your cornea goes back to its old shape and your vision is the way it was before you used them. On average it is about 72 hours to go back to the old vision.
You wear these lenses every night when you go to sleep, and your doctor will advise you if you reach a point where you might be able to skip a night or two. I have read where some people only have to wear them every three nights.
As far as the antibiotics go, I mistakenly used the enzyme cleaner drops in my eye (it was the same size bottle and color label as the rewetting drops) and injured it by doing that - so I have to stop using the contact in that eye and use the antibiotics until it heals (for about a week). So for right now, I have 20/20 vision in one eye and my regular vision in the other. Despite the inconvenience of the situation, I am so pleased with the results of the "good" eye, I continue to be amazed at how these lenses work.
I hope I answered your questions :)
Hi Jillybeans,

I just went for a fitting yesterday for CRT. My doctor needs to order a custom lens for my right eye. After having the lens in for only 10 minutes my vision was already changing. Couldn't believe it!

Are yours getting more comfortable? Are you sleeping with the lenses in or wearing them during the day?
Hi Linda,
They're getting a little better. If I put them in right before bed they are not a problem, but if I stay up a while before sleeping they feel kind of dry.
Sometimes I wear the right lens for driving, but otherwise I am not wearing them during the day. I'm not completely satisfied with my night vision yet, but I'm waiting until the right eye is caught up before I make a final decision on that. It's possible that it's "off" because I'm not seeing in stereo yet.
Congratulations! Keep us posted on your progress. jilly
I am going for my one month follow up tomorrow. I've now had the new right lens for two weeks, but I am not completely happy with it. My vision is very, very much improved (which I am pleased with), but I am getting "ghosting" in the right eye, while the left eye is perfect. It is really annoying and is worse in low light. I have heard of this happening with Lasik and found examples by doing an internet search with "vision" and "ghosting."
I'm interested to find out if the ghosting can be corrected with CRT, if it will eventually resolve itself, or if I'm just out of luck. I'll update after my follow up.

Also - a tip on inserting the lenses - I was used to putting a drop in the lens first from when I used soft contacts, but leaving that step out has improved the comfort of the CRTs dramatically. Using the daily protein remover has helped also.

zib
Hi Jillybeans,

Yes I read that ghosting was a possibility with the CRT but of course it's not mentioned very frequently. In fact, I only saw it mentioned it once as a possible problem. I'm supposed to pick up my lenses on Thursday but I may delay it for a week because its going to be a bad time to have my eyes changing everyday. I plan to wear them during the day only. Just not comfortable with nighttime wear. The good news is that even if the ghosting does not go away, you can stop using the lenses and your eyes will return to how they were before. But its expensive. Mine cost $800 and I don't know if I will be able to adjust but I feel this is something I want to try.

Is your right eye more nearsighted?

Good luck with your appointment tomorrow.

Linda
Hi Linda,
I'm not sure I understand why you will be wearing them during the daytime as opposed to sleep. I agree the good news if they can't fix mine I can just go back the way it was instead of being out a few grand and being that way permanently. If you read closely about Lasik they say the goal is 20/40 or better -- I'm afraid this might be the same thing... "Well, you can read the eye chart so the vision is good" ....not if I see 2 or 3 eye charts, in my opinion! The right eye, the one with the ghosting, is more nearsighted, but I'm finding it to be more dominant in close vision situations, like reading or using the PC. Anyway, you are making a good decision to wait until you have a balanced schedule to start the CRT.
Thanks for your well wishes, I'll fill you in. Jill
Hi Jill,

Hope this problem can be resolved for you. I will be doing monovision with the CRT and so I will need to have glasses anyway while I drive. But I would be frustrated with ghosting.

I'm wearing the lenses during the day at least in the beginning because I am afraid to wear contact lenses at night. I've never done it. Only ever had RGP's and have not been able to adjust to soft contact lenses for one reason or other. Might just have the same problem with CRT. Acuvue Advance just came out for those with astigmatism so if CRT doesn't work, that's my last option as far as I can see. Otherwise, I'm stuck in glasses.

Linda
I was just wondering if anyone had any updates about their CRT experience.
Jillybeans, how is the ghosting problem coming? Has your eye gotten any better?
Lindamarie, did you get your lenses yet? How are they working?
I just heard about this CRT thing, and I am seriously considering doing it instead of LASIK. I just can't justify doing something as drastic as surgery if CRT lenses at night are all that's needed to be contact lens free throughout the day.
Please update!!! I'm really excited about trying this!!!
Hi Khumbu,
Unfortunately the ghosting thing isn't improving. I have a follow up on next Tuesday. But this Friday, I am going to another CRT doc for a second opinion. Maybe this one will have had more patients and can tell me if what I am experiencing is normal or not. It's good that the days are getting longer, because I was having serious issues driving home from work when it was still getting dark early. At least the headaches have stopped.
My left eye is great, if they can fix the right one I'll be satisfied. If not, I'm going to throw in the towel.
Incidently, I just came back from a week in Mexico and it was awesome being able to swim, snorkel, and SEE all at the same time :)
I've been wearing the lenses for about 14 months now. My vision was around -3.25 in both eyes beforehand & was 20/20 the next day. The duration of the good vision is another issue. It took a couple of nights before I made it the entire day with good vision (less than a week). I now skip around 2 sometimes 3 nights (non consecutive) a week and can make the entire 2nd day with perfoect vision. However, I'm told that individual results will vary. :)
Hi there, I had my secret second opinion today and boy am I GLAD that I did it. I was very impressed with his credentials, and he has 10 times more patients, but besides that, he knew what my problem was right away! In fact he had just had a patient that morning with the same complaint. He takes digital photos during the exam and then shows them to you to describe what's going on. So he showed me the earlier patient's photos to show me what happens and how he was correcting it. The contacts come in a variety of shapes to properly flatten the cornea. He suspects that my lens shifts too close to the pupil during sleep, causing an edge to form there, which causes the double vision. This can be corrected by having a proper fitting. And here was my doctor telling me, well if it doesn't fix itself, we'll get you glasses. HUH?? Also, like rcwatkin says, the vision should last a while, not fade by dinnertime. My doctor implied I was imagining it. So as you can guess, I am switching doctors. The bad news is I have to start from scratch. So I am going to stop wearing them today, give them back to my former doctor, hopefully get some kind of refund, then go to the new guy in two weeks. I told the new doc my plan and he got us started right away by taking a topography of my eyes - to compare later after being corrected with his fitting. The topography photos were very interesting, also he took photos of my eyes to show me how I was misdiagnosed in the past with retinitis. I asked him how long this other patient had been using them before they found the problem - one week! One last bonus, he said he would work something out monetarily with me as an incentive to switch to his practice.
So, I went from being frustrated and disgusted to being really optimistic again. Having some confidence makes it worth anticipating the do-over pains. :)
Hi khumbu77,
My doctor had to re-order a few times to get the fit right. I just went yesterday and they fit right. For now though I've decided to try gas permeables again and if they go well will reconsider CRT in about a year. My circumstances are that I would be wearing them during the day, not at night so I would need to be comfortable in gas perms while awake.
I'm curious as to why the CRT lenses would be worn during the day instead of at night. Why not wear regular contacts in that case? Is there some other advantage or because you may only have to wear them every three days or so? Jill
Jill,
They don't have to be worn during the day. They can be worn at night. I feel the risk of eye problems goes up when sleeping with contacts so my personal preference is to wear them during the day. But yes they are designed for night-time wear.
Thank you, I did not see anything in the literature about daytime use. I found them uncomfortable and do not like wearing them while awake. But, I was already used to the 1-week wear lenses so it was not that hard a transition for me. I can totally understand your being uneasy with it, though.
I'm spitting mad. I went back to the incompetent dr today and was told that the partial cost refund was only valid for within one week when I first came in. Even though after two months he had still not fit me properly! He told me I still have one year to come back and "try them again." I'm so angry I can't even think straight.
Jillybeans,
Sounds to me like your incompetent doctor needs to get a malpractice suit under his belt to make him less cocky and less prone to mistakes.
I guess the only thing I can suggest is that you can be glad that you found a doctor that can help you and is offering a price break to leave Dr. Incompetence. Look forward to that and every time you feel like spitting about the bad doctor, just think about the new doc.
I hope this helped and congrats and good luck on your new doctor!
Does anyone have any more information on CRT? I tried them this year, 2006, starting in January and just couldn't get them to work properly after a number of months. I would start out with improving vision on a new lens, but the longer I had it my vision would get worse, (going backwards). Also some days were better than others but my night vision was usually not good at all with ghosting and blooming from lights. My doctor wanted to have me take a break and bring the CRT rep in to help with my situation. Mine cost $1400.00, but she will give me a complete refund if they don't work out...

Mike





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