Are you nearsighted, farsighted? Before your give up your glasses for contact lenses or laser eye surgery, check out the promises of eye braces. They promise to correct your vision without surgery – while you sleep.
A long time ago, back in the 1960’s, two California doctors when getting feedback from their patients who wore contact lenses, kept hearing the same type of story over and over again. Many times their patients would leave their home, drive to work and then halfway through the day notice that they were not wearing their contact lenses. And they were seeing perfectly well. It appeared that the constant wearing of the contact caused a gradual reshaping of their cornea, improving their ability to see. This chance discovery eventually led to experimentations and studies on shaping the eyes using contact lenses.
Corrective eye braces or CRT (Corneal Refractive Therapy) lenses as they are formally known, are hard contact lenses that act much like a retainer or braces do on your teeth. You put them on at night just before you go to bed. During the night, while you sleep, they reshape the cornea of your eye. When you wake up in the morning, your blurred vision is gone. You can see the pictures on your wall, the buttons on your clothes, and the alarm clock on your dresser. You have 20/20 vision.
Unlike laser eye surgery, the changes are not permanent. The changes to the cornea will last only a day on some people. On others, it has lasted up to a week.
So who are the most likely candidates for these eye braces?
Young teenagers for one. Many good eye surgeons will not operate on a teenager or a person under 18 or 21 because the body, including the eyes. may still be growing and changing. At those ages, they doctor may legitimately determine that the risk is not worth it and rule out corrective eye surgery altogether. In this case, eye braces, may be a good alternative.
The eyes are one of our most important senses and many people are leery of making any type of permanent change to them. Add to that the growing number of malpractice lawsuits involving refractive surgery, and some people, especially those already wary of surgical operations, begin to look for alternative ways of improving their vision. For them, they are a good compromise between permanent contact lenses and laser eye surgery.
Those looking for a bargain will also like eye braces. The cost of CRT lenses is much less than the cost of laser eye surgery. The news is not all good, however. The braces have to be hard, in order to reshape the cornea. This can make them uncomfortable to wear. And although most people will get used to them, some find they can’t adjust.
Also, although relatively infrequent, the wearing of contact lenses, does increase the risk of microbial infections of the eye.
And thirdly, there have been no long term studies of the effect of wearing them on a nightly basis for an extended period of time.
So if you want CRT lenses how do you get them? You can’t just go into an eye doctor’s office and order them. A CRT lens has to be prescribed by a doctor who has been certified in CRT lenses.