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Vision Shaping Treatment (VST) is a proprietary process branded by Bausch + Lomb as a form of orthokeratology, or Ortho-K. (Learn More)
The treatment involves using a specialized contact lens at night while you are sleeping in an effort to correct vision during the day. The specialized lens can correct for nearsightedness (myopia) and mild astigmatism (irregularly shaped corneas) while reducing the need for corrective lenses during the day.
A specialty trained eye care professional will fit you for specialized VST lenses. (Learn More) VST can help to slow the progression of myopia. It may be suited for children and others who are not yet ready for laser corrective eye surgeries. (Learn More)
VST corrections can improve vision after one or two nights of wearing them, and your vision will typically stay corrected for at least the entire day. (Learn More)
Just as with other extended-wear contacts, there is some risk associated with wearing VST lenses overnight, but risks are minimal if proper hygiene and contact care are maintained. (Learn More)
VST vision and corneal corrections can hold as long as the treatment is continued and instructions are closely followed. (Learn More) If you take out and stop using your specialized lenses, your eyes will return to their natural shape again.
Talk to your eye doctor about VST and whether or not you are a good candidate.
What Is Vision Shaping Treatment?
A trade name for an orthokeratology held by Bausch + Lomb, Vision Shaping Treatment (VST) is a process that can be used to treat common refractive vision errors like myopia (nearsightedness) and mild astigmatism (when the cornea is shaped irregularly).
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is a specialized procedure for which the FDA can approve overnight, or extended-wear, contacts. These lenses are specially designed to gently flatten the cornea to correct vision refractive errors, generally myopia. VST lenses can correct from -1.0 D to -5.0 D for myopia and -1.5 D cylinder for astigmatism.
The cornea is the clear dome-shaped part of your eye that sits over the lens. When it peaks, too much light isn't reflected as it should, which can make it harder to see things clearly far away.
With Ortho-K, the cornea is flattened by wearing specialized lenses overnight. When you take them out the next day, you will be able to see more clearly and often not even need corrective lenses.
Specialized VST lenses put pressure on the cornea when they are worn every night. When they are removed during the day, the reshaping holds for corrected vision. VST lenses need to be taken out every day and replaced each night for effectiveness.
Preparing for Vision Shaping Treatment
VST and Ortho-K lenses require a comprehensive and specialized fitting that needs to be performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist with expertise in this field. Not all eye doctors will fit for orthokeratology.
A corneal topographer will be used to measure the shape and curvature of your cornea in order to construct a topographical map that can then be used to fit your VST lenses. This process is relatively quick, taking around one minute. Detailed measurements of your eyes and cornea are taken to ensure the best fit.
Typically, the costs of Ortho-K and VST lenses are higher than traditional contacts due to their specialized nature. Ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 for both eyes for the initial cost, VST replacement contact solution, follow-up care, and lenses can be between $300 and $500 per year. Insurance will typically not pay for all of this treatment, but some of the associated costs and fees may be covered.
Who Can Get VST?
Anyone suffering from mild to moderate myopia or astigmatism may be eligible for VST. These specialized overnight lenses can eliminate the need for contacts or glasses during the day and be desirable for people who:
- Play sports.
- Are highly active.
- Not quite ready for or not candidates for LASIK or laser eye surgery.
- Have difficulties wearing contacts.
- Have already had LASIK and are seeking a nonsurgical secondary option.
VST and Ortho-K has been shown to actually slow the progression of myopia in children. This can be a great option for kids since LASIK and laser corrective eye surgery are not approved for use in children.
Talk to your eye care professional about the logistics of VST and whether or not you might be a candidate for the procedure.
What to Expect During Vision Shaping Treatment
VST can be a highly effective and relatively noninvasive form to temporarily correct refractive vision errors. Studies have shown VST to improve myopia and nearly all (95 percent) in an FDA-study showed improvement of vision to 20/40, with 73 percent achieving at least 20/20 vision.
An appointment for VST fitting can take longer than a traditional contact lens fitting, as more detailed measurements will need to be taken.
With VST, you will usually wear the specialized lenses for at least eight hours at night and then take them out during the day. You may notice the lenses at first when you go to sleep, but that feeling will usually ease as you get used to them.
It will usually take up to three prescriptions of temporary lenses until your lenses are the optimal prescription. This allows your cornea to be slowly reshaped.
Your vision may improve in as little as one use of VST lenses, but it can take a few days to two weeks for vision to be completely clear. You may see halos around lights or glares at first. It may be necessary to wear lower prescription eyeglasses for a few weeks until your vision stabilizes. Mild halos or glares may continue after the initial stabilization.
Is VST Safe?
VST is completely temporary and reversible, and it is relatively low-risk. Any wearing of contact lenses overnight can increase the risk for eye infections, stress on the eye, and corneal staining.
Contacts often block the flow of oxygen to the eyes and can lead to buildup under the lens. As such, the only lenses approved for overnight or extended use are gas permeable lenses that allow as much oxygen to flow through them as possible.
It is important to follow proper hygiene and contact lens care when using VST lenses to minimize the potential for infection and other risks. To increase the safely of VST lenses, be sure to:
- Wash your hands before touching and inserting the lenses.
- Clean, disinfect, and store your VST lenses as directed.
- Use only the recommended contact solution exactly as directed.
- Not use water to rinse VST lenses or expose them to water.
- Follow the replacement schedule and follow-up care directions.
- Report any vision or potential issues to your eye care professional.
One of the major benefits of VST is that it can be reversed if needed. Simply remove the lenses and allow your eyes to heal.
Vision Shaping Treatment can be a great option for correcting your vision in your sleep and reducing the need for corrective lenses during the day.
Duration of Vision Shaping Treatment
With VST, the correction only lasts as long as you keep wearing the lenses. When you stop putting them in at night, your corneas will return to their regular shape. Vision correction typically lasts all day after wearing VST lenses overnight, and the correction may hold for a little longer.
As long as you keep following the replacement schedule, as well as all directions for follow-up care, hygiene, and proper contact lens use, Vision Shaping Treatment should be a low-risk and effective correction for myopia. If you stop wearing the VST lenses for any length of time, you will likely need to return to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Ortho-K and VST lenses can be worn for years to help with vision correction.
Vision Shaping Treatment (VST). (2019). Bausch + Lomb.
Types of Contact Lenses. (January 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Vision Shaping Treatment (VST) Process. (2019). Bausch + Lomb.
Effect of Orthokeratology on Myopia Progression: Twelve Year Results of a Retrospective Cohort Study. (December 2017). BMC Ophthalmology.
Ortho-K and Corneal Refractive Therapy: Overnight Contacts to Correct Myopia. (September 2016). All About Vision.
What Is Orthokeratology? (2019). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Focusing on Contact Lens Safety. (September 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.