corneal refractive therapy

Corneal Refractive Therapy ( CRT ) is a treatment that reshapes the eye with contact lenses during sleep so that one does not need to wear glasses during the day. It is safe and reversible, and has been shown to slow down the progression of nearsightedness.

Tired of Wearing Glasses?

Dr. Jason Chow, one our outstanding optometrists at Carrboro Family Vision, has been certified and is currently providing this service to our patients. Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) requires a doctor with great experience and skill in fitting rigid gas permeable contact lenses and analyzing corneal topography. Dr. Chow has been trained by experts in the CRT field and is devoted to this particular specialty. In addition to speaking English, Dr. Chow is also fluent in Mandarin.

CRT has been in existence for many years but has not had the exposure that Lasik has had in the media. Basically, you can improve your vision while you sleep- without surgery!

How CRT works: Before the lenses are selected, the curvature of your cornea is measured and topographical maps are taken. The custom designed CRT lenses are worn at night and removed in the morning. While the patient sleeps, the lenses gently reshape your cornea to correct or improve near-sightedness (up to -5.00) and astigmatism (up to -1.25). Within two to five days most people are able to enjoy functional daytime visual acuity without correction. There are several individual factors that may influence the speed and degree of corneal molding so perfect success cannot be guaranteed.

One of the optimal uses of CRT is for children with myopia (near-sightedness). CRT lenses can literally slow or reverse the effects of myopia in children. Thus, they may require less correction as they become adults.

Other people who would benefit from CRT because it is a great alternative to Lasik surgery include:

  • Active people who enjoy swimming, running, water-skiing, camping, dancing, soccer, tennis, and basically all ball sports
  • Occupations in which glasses or contacts can interfere with performance, such as police, firefighters, pilots, security agents, flight attendants, or anyone who works in dusty environments
  • Individuals who finds glasses a nuisance
  • Individuals who experience discomfort, dryness or problems with soft contact lenses

As with most optical procedures, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with both:


CRT is a safe option for good vision without having to wear glasses or contacts during the day. It is not surgery and can be safely discontinued, reversed or modified at any time with no ill side effects. Once discontinued the eye returns to the condition existing before treatment. It is a non-invasive procedure and costs less than surgery.


Overnight lens wear is required or the cornea will revert to its original shape. The contact lenses used with CRT are rigid and can take a bit of getting used to, but are generally not a problem for patients. CRT does not correct farsightedness or presbyopia (loss in near focus due to age). Monovision (correcting one eye for distance and one for near) is an option in many cases. If you are interested in monovision CRT, additional fees may apply to cover a monovision trial with contact lenses. It is important to determine whether you are comfortable with monovision before you proceed with monovision CRT.

The Procedure

Once Dr. Chow determines that you are a good candidate for CRT, custom made lenses can be ordered. If you then begin the CRT program the fee includes any contacts necessary and six months of follow up care. A dispensing appointment is set up in which the doctor will give the patient instructions on how to handle, insert, and remove the contact lenses. Lens fit, vision and corneal maps are evaluated at every visit. The minimum schedule for follow-up appointments is:

  • The next morning after dispensing the lenses
  • One week
  • One month
  • Three months
  • Six months

Unlike most other practices, we insist on including a free backup pair of CRT lenses (a $400 value).

Carrboro Family Vision offers a 30 day trial for CRT patients. If a patient elects to opt out within that period, we refund 75% of the $2,000 fee.

Additional Information

If you would like to find out if you are a good candidate for this safe and effective means of vision correction, call us today at: 919-968-6300 or see the testimonial on our web page.

For more detailed information, please refer to the following websites:

Paragon CRT


Ortho-K Athletes

Patient Testimonial – “What a life-altering experience” – Kristen O’Daly

I’ve been told for years that I was the perfect candidate for LASIK surgery, but the thought of something permanent with potential side effects was always too daunting for me. Thus, I’ve been wearing glasses for more than half of my life.

Then my fabulous eye doctor, Jason Chow of Carrboro Family Vision in Carrboro, NC told me about CRT. You can read all about technical details elsewhere, but basically, you wear specialized rigid contact lenses at night that change the shape of your cornea so that you lessen your need partially or altogether of having to wear glasses during the day. And it’s reversible!!

Even thought I was initially hesitant because I fear most change, the more I contemplated CRT, the more excited I got so I was signed up as one of the first patients at Carrboro Family Vision to undergo the procedure.

The first step was a special measurement of my cornea after the regular examination on April 3rd.

Dr. Chow and Dr. Anderson from Chicago then fit me with the special lenses on Friday April 24th and I wore them that night. This takes some time because it’s important to get the treatment zone as directly on the cornea in a wide an area as possible. My eyes were numbed a bit, several lenses were tried and after we decided on the right fit, I was taught how to put them in and take them out.

My follow up appointment the next morning on April 25th was similar to the first appointment. I had the lenses in and Dr. Chow checked the fit and also my vision. They slightly tweaked the lens for my left eye based on the overnight results and also took a new map of my cornea. Changes could already be detected.

Within days, my vision was clearly changing truly remarkable. Putting in the lenses at night was a bit challenging at first, but has gotten easier. They are slightly uncomfortable for about 5 minutes, but the more lubricating drops you use, the better. I can see why you need to put them in right before bed.

I hoped that my enthusiasm conveyed my gratitude for CRT and the services. For the first time since I was 22, I was able to drive and work out without glasses. After just one night, the effects lasted until about 11am. After wearing the lenses a second full night, I did not need my glasses until about 3pm in the afternoon. By the third day, I did not need my glasses at all.

In the evenings, I did notice a bit of a halo effect, but that is normal for the adjustment period, which usually is 10 days to 2 weeks. I went back today, April 29th, and after looking at the topographical map of my eyes, the changes were amazing. I basically am not wearing glasses at all.

My next appointment is May 5th so I’ll keep you updated. Thank you Dr. Chow, Dr. Anderson and Carrboro Family Vision. You all rock!

− Kristen O’Daly