Local News

Retainers For Eyes Helps Correct Nearsightedness During Sleep

Posted April 19, 2004

— The latest breakthrough in eye care is not a contact lens users put in every morning -- it is one they take out when they wake up.

Much like retainers that help keep teeth in place after braces are removed, the Gentle Vision Shaping System, or GVSS, uses contact retainers to correct nearsightedness or astigmatism.

Jane Buske wore contact lenses for 22 years. Contacts bothered her eyes, but she did not want laser surgery.

"That just wasn't an option for me because it was too permanent. I didn't want to totally change my eyes," she said.

Buske's eye doctor recommended GVSS.

Fuquay-Varina Optometrist Dr. Patrick O'Dowd takes a computerized picture of the cornea to custom design a set of retainers.

"Everyone's corneal shape is very different and that dictates what your prescription is," he said.

The retainers gently reshape the cornea at night.

"I take them out in the morning and I don't have to wear anything to see. It's cool," Jennifer Boni said.

Studies show 93 percent of users see 20/40 or better.

"The patient's vision will be good throughout the day and into the next evening," O'Dowd said.

The retainers are similar to hard contacts, which can take some time to get used to.

"It took me a couple of weeks to get used to it, because, I mean, it was going from a soft contact to a hard contact," Boni said.

Now that she is used to the retainers, Buske says it is one of the best decisions she has ever made.

"When you first put them in they are a little uncomfortable," she said. "[Now] I pop them in, go to bed -- it's wonderful. I wake up 20/20 vision."

GVSS costs about half as much as laser eye surgery.

There are no age limits, but younger patients tend to see results faster -- usually within one to two days.

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