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Old 07-10-2006, 05:54 AM   #1
Bryan McWilliams
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I didn't want to hijack Darrell White's LASIK thread, but I DO want e'one to know about an alternative to LASIK.

I am -3.50 myopic. Been wearing and swearing at glasses and contacts since 5th grade. I just cannot convince myself to go LASIK; I have never been evaluated.

While the vast majority of LASIK patients are very happy, when it goes wrong, it goes REAL wrong. An acquaintance of mine nearly needed a corneal transplant due to LASIK complications.

Also there are unscrupulous LASIK operators that will do the procedure on ANYONE, regardless of whether they are a good candidate. If LASIK were 100% safe, we would ALL get it done.

I use COrneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). Read about it at www.paragoncrt.com. I wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses to bed; you sleep in them. The lenses re-shape your cornea over night. When I get up in the AM, I pop the lenses out and am 20/20 and about 20/25.

You have to wear them every night, or your vision will completely regress in about 72 hours. The advantage over regular contacts is that I am in bed with closed eyes...nothing can get in my eye and irritate it.

The BIG advantage over regular contacts is that during the day I have great vision without refraction. I beleive this is the experience that makes so many LASIK folks so happy. It is wonderful.

It took a little getting used to, and several fittings, but I am very happy.

Like Ken Davis, I need reading glasses, but if I decided I preferred my old way of seeing (razor sharo near vision), I just quit wearing the CRT lenses.

To date there has been NO permanent damage caused by CRT.

CRT can only correct up to about -6.00. I am the strongest correction that my optometrist has done, and he won't go any stronger. I am his poster child.

In Chapel Hill, NC CRT is $1200: this includes mutliple fittings and follow up for a year. Spare lenses are $100 each.

LASIK is around $5000 here.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:45 AM   #2
Anthony Bainbridge
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Very interesing, thanks for the post Bryan!
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:48 AM   #3
Darrell E. White
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Bryan:

CRT definitely works up to about your range of nearsightedness, and continues to work until you become intolerant of the contact lens. Glad you are doing so well.



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Old 07-10-2006, 09:52 AM   #4
Tim Weaver
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I had looked into these and into the intra-corneal lenses (I forgot their exact name, something like Intracorneal Rings, but they are two half-moon shaped things that do the same thing, though "permanently" but can be removed).

I opted to get Lasik done (had it done on 7/7/2006) because I didn't want the lenses (my eyes didn't take well to contacts when I did wear them 10 years ago). The rings seemed even "newer" than the Lasik, so I didn't want to do that.

So far, I am very happy. I was a -3.75 left / -3.50 right with astigmatism in left and right eyes (moderated left, slight right).

Day of surgery I was 20/15. Go in again for my 2nd appointment tomorrow (TUE) and I'll report back then.

So far, the only issues (if one can call them that) are that it feels like there's an eyelash in my right eye and I am still getting used to the super-close reading thing.

As a myope, I could read anything of any size from about 12" from my face and closer, but could also read close up with glasses. Now, it's 12" or further. I am certain once my vision settles I'll need reading glasses for really close-up stuff when I work on my firearms and such, and that presbyopia will continue. Would have happened anyway.

I had it done because I do a lot of stuff outdoors and was always afraid of having my glasses go tumbling down some ravine, leaving me blind (no, I didn't take a backup pair). ALso, trying to find a good set of shooting glasses that could take a prescription and NOT weigh a lot was challenging. Finally, I HATED having dirty/spotty glasses. Yeah, a really stupid, obsessive thing, but I admit it. :-)

My Lasik was about $4,300 for both eyes. Not the cheapest by any stretch. I know folks who've gone to the $500 per eye places and gotten lucky...though I am sure there are some doctors who are very ethical, I didn't want to be part of an assembly line. The place I went didn't give me that feel/impression at all.

At least they seemed like they cared about what I wanted as opposed to a "yep, you're a good candidate, sign here and pay on the way out" like one major Phoenix location did. No pressure at all.

So far, I am happy, but it's still early. :-)
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:01 PM   #5
Carrie Klumpar
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With CRT, are there any disadvantages (i.e., health issues) with sleeping with them in. Limited oxygen to the cornea, stuff like that...?
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:12 PM   #6
Bryan McWilliams
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Carrie..AFAIK there are no health issues with CRT.

One thing that really encouraged me to go with CRT is that my optometrist and his wife (she is also an OD) use CRT. My OD has worn the lenses for 4 years with no issues.

His wife works in a LASIK practice. She does pre and post LASIK care (pretty common for optometrists to provie those LASIK services). She has opted for CRT.

Darrell..please tell us more about lens intolerance. What % of CRT clients develop intolerance etc?

These lenses are gas permeable...Oxygen gets to your eyes.

Check out www.paragoncrt.com. There are NO recorded cases of permanent damage from CRT.

OTOH...if you want to read about bad LASIK experiences --- www.surgicaleyes.org

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Old 07-11-2006, 10:26 AM   #7
Darrell E. White
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As with any specialist there is a limited universe of knowledge that I can pull up at any one time. In our practice, which includes 3 optometrists, we do multiple surgical procedures for the correction of refractive errors in order to dramatically reduce our patients' dependence on glasses and contact lenses. My own particular role in the contact lens world is to handle the problems. I do not do routine fittings, nor do I typically see patients who are doing beautifully with their contact lenses. I therefore have a rather warped view of the contact lens world (pun intended).

Having said that, I have not seen any complications, permanent or otherwise, from CRT. The patients I see who have utilized CRT are typically done with it and coming for a more permanent solution to their refractive error, but they have not necessarily had a complication from the therapy.

I have been continually impressed by the ability of the CF community to educate themselves about all manner of things. I frankly don't have enough experience, Bryan, to comment with any degree of authority on your question about safety and intolerance of gas permeable contacts in CRT. In time, EVERYONE becomes intolerant of rigid gas permeable contact lenses, whether they are used for CRT or for "eyes open" vision. I think I will use this as an opportunity to look at CRT the same way we looked at the intraocular contact lens (ICL) for higher degrees of myopia. Perhaps there is a place for CRT in a comprehensive refractive practice like Skyvision, perhaps not. We are fortunate in Ohio to have an extraordinary School of Optometry at Ohio State. I'm sure that I will be able to get some very high quality guidance, and I will pass it on.

By the way, the "apples to apples" comparison for www.paragoncrt.com would be something like www.visx.com or something similar, comparing the manufacturer's site for the contact lens to the manufacturer's site for one of the lasers. While surgicaleyes.org is a very important resourse, especially for the risk averse among us looking at LASIK, it is an "apples to oranges" comparison when used with paragoncrt.com.

Darrell

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Old 07-11-2006, 01:51 PM   #8
Bryan McWilliams
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Yep..agreed. Surgicaleyes.org is a place where folks that have had bad experiences tell their stories. These are folks with problems, and they are pretty vocal.

Nevertheless, I am curious about the statement "n time, EVERYONE becomes intolerant of rigid gas permeable contact lenses, whether they are used for CRT or for "eyes open" vision."

My sister (way more myopic than me) has worn eyes open RGP's for decades. The comment that EVERYONE becomes intolerant is a bit suspicious to me.

Darrell, I appreciate what you say about not doing routine fittings. I have visited both the local MD (opthamologist) and my OD. My OD has much more modern equipment for handling refractive correction. My OD also regularly refers folks to Duke for LASIK.

For me, CRT is working great. Yes it is a bit inconvenient, but I am willing to put up with that.

Many CRT users do eventually opt for laser surgery. I am not there yet, but could be a candidate some day

I suggest that anyone that is -3.50 or less give CRT a try. I am thrilled with CRT

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Old 07-11-2006, 02:20 PM   #9
David Stegman
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I'm VERY interested in the CRT thing. I'm only a -2.00 in one eye and -2.25 in the other.

I've thought about LASIK but not hip on the cost and the risks.

I looked at the web page for CRT and there is one Doctor in my town. I will be contacting them soon.

I'm sure it's a bit of a hassle to wear them at night but it's MUCH better than wearing contacts/glasses all day long!
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:53 PM   #10
Bryan McWilliams
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David Stegman

You are an ideal CRT candidate. With your level of refraction, even if you skip a night, you will be in pretty good shape the next day.

My refraction is much stronger than yours, yet if I skip a night (which I seldon do now) I still manage OK the next day.

I started wearing CRT in December.

Let me be clear...the lenses were not comfortable at first, but I gutted it out. Now they are great.

As for the hassle..you are right - it is much less hassle to wear the lenses at night, than mess with them during the day.

I am a very happy CRT user!

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