Vision Shaping Treatment (VST for short) is a new twist on a relatively old technique. Starting in the mid 1980’s eye doctors realized that they could reshape the cornea and reduce the amount of myopia and improve uncorrected vision in their patients. Unfortunately, the lens material of that era was not designed to allow for overnight wear of the lenses and the lens manufacturing technology only allowed for a single curve on the back surface of the lens. This greatly reduced the effectiveness of the procedure that was referred to as “Ortho-Keratology”.
Once lens materials were available that would allow for safe overnight wear of rigid lenses, eye doctors were able to improve their results by having patients wear their lenses overnight and remove them during the day. These were still “simple” lenses with just one major curve on the back of the lens, which reduced the effectiveness of the treatment.
In the last 1990’s, contact lens manufacturing was revolutionized by the introduction of computer controlled or “CNC” lathes. These lathes allowed for considerably more complex lens designs which are much more effective at reducing nearsightedness, both in the amount that they can treat and the predictability of the treatment.
The third advancement in corneal reshaping with contact lenses was the development of new advanced lens design software. I use the WAVE software that was developed and supported by Jim Edwards, OD. This software allows me to control just about every single lens design characteristic, both for VST lenses and for traditional lenses. This allows me to customize each lens to each patient’s eye and vision correction needs.
Between the newer materials that allow for overnight lens wear, better lens design software and the new lathes, many nearsighted patients can now enjoy clear comfortable vision during their waking hours without having contact lenses on their eyes or prescription eye glasses!
Utilizing corneal shape measurements (called corneal topography), I am able to very accurately measure the surface of each patient’s eyes and design just the right lens for them. I can also monitor the effect of VST treatments to see how much effect we have gotten from a lens and to determine if we need to modify the lens for more or less effect.
In the next installment of this blog, I’ll show you some before and after corneal topography measurements of VST and LASIK patients, and challenge you to pick which one of the patients underwent surgery and which one has had safe, reversible VST.