The Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVSS)
"What is GVSS?"
The Gentle Vision Shaping System uses specially designed vision retainers to gently and gradually reshape the front surface of the eye (the cornea) to eliminate or reduce nearsightedness (myopia) or astigmatism. The principle is similar to the use of a dental retainer used by an orthodontist to realign crooked teeth. The vision retainers are similar to contact lenses and are only worn at night while sleeping. They are then removed upon awakening to provide clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses! The retainers are comfortable and very easy to care for.
"Why think about GVSS? Why not just wear eyeglasses or contact lenses?"
The main purpose of GVSS is to be free from both contact lenses and eyeglasses during waking hours. While this is ideal for sports enthusiasts or those who work in dusty or dirty environments, for others GVSS offers the appeal of being free from corrective lenses during the day. GVSS also offers relief from the problems sometimes associated with full time contact lens wear like drying and things getting on or under the lenses.
Additionally, ongoing research is suggesting that for many patients, the progression of nearsightedness can be stopped or significantly slowed down by using GVSS retainers. This makes it a great alternative for children, particularly those with nearsighted parents. Neither eyeglasses nor conventional contact lenses have been shown to have as strong a tendency towards controlling myopia as GVSS.
"Does GVSS have any advantages over Laser Surgery?"
There are several. GVSS is about half the cost of Refractive Laser Surgery (LASIK). It does not involve any post-operative pain. Also, the hazy post-operative vision that can be associated with laser surgery does not occur with GVSS. Both eyes can easily be done at the same time with GVSS. Also, future prescription changes are easy to handle using GVSS. There are no strong steroids or antibiotic drugs needed with GVSS as there are during the post-operative period for laser surgery. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, GVSS is reversible. Laser surgery is not.
"Is everyone suitable for GVSS and can any doctor perform it?"
The answer to both questions is no. It does not work on every patient and needs to be performed in a very exact and meticulous manner. We have received special training and have the necessary diagnostic equipment, computer software and expertise to perform GVSS.
The procedure works best on mild to moderate amounts of nearsightedness or astigmatism. More severe cases can have their vision improved, but will still need some vision correction. The procedure also does not work well on certain shaped corneas. Also, there are several incalculable factors for each patient – most notably the cornea's rigidity. Thus the speed of GVSS varies with each patient. Generally, but not always, less nearsighted patients respond faster than more nearsighted ones. There are no age barriers for GVSS. It is safe for children and adults and is an excellent alternative for children who are just first becoming nearsighted, because as mentioned above, GVSS can prevent any further nearsightedness from occurring! Also, while success rates are very high, success cannot be guaranteed due to factors like the inability to wear the vision retainer for physiological reasons or other systemic health problems that may reduce wearing time.
"What does the GVSS procedure involve?"
A comprehensive eye health examination is performed first. Then, special instruments are used to determine the exact shape of the cornea. If at that time it is determined that you are a good candidate for GVSS, this information is placed into the GVSS computer software and your own vision retainers will be ordered. It takes about one week for the retainers to be made and delivered.
When you pick up your retainers, you will be instructed on how to use and care for them. The maintenance is very easy and involves only one bottle of solution. If the retainers fit properly, you will wear them that first night. Your vision should be clear with the retainers on.
We will see you the next morning. You should come to the office wearing your vision retainers. We will remove them for you. Of course, should you experience any problems while at home with your retainers, simply remove them.
Most of the visual changes occur rapidly over the first few days. As the cornea changes shape and vision improves, we will supply you with (no-charge) any needed contact lenses to be worn during these first few days.
The majority of patients achieve excellent vision in only a few days. Even after you are seeing well, we will continue to see you a while longer to ensure your cornea is adapting to the retainers. Most patients are done with their follow up care in a few months although some may take more or less time. When the treatment is completed, the retainer will continue to be used on a nightly basis. Some patients are able to use the retainers every other night.
What is Corneaplasty?
New technology is on the horizon that will make the effects of GVSS much longer lasting. Corneaplasty is a method that uses a special eye drop to "freeze the prescription" that the GVSS retainer imparts to a patient's cornea. We hope that this effect will last about 12 months and means that GVSS patients will only need to use their retainers a few nights each YEAR! From there, they would simply return to our office for their yearly eye drop treatment. Unlike GVSS which is already FDA approved (and referred to as Orthokeratology or Corneal Refractive Therapy) Corneaplasty is still being studied and not yet available.
"How much does GVSS cost?"
The total fee for the entire GVSS program is $1450. This includes all of the professional visits, retainer lenses needed to achieve optimal vision, and any needed interim soft contact lenses. Once the procedure is completed, a spare pair of retainers will be ordered for you to keep as backup. Lost, broken or additional spare retainers are available at a cost of $150 for each eye.
"What are the disadvantages of GVSS?"
You must be prepared to allow up to 4-6 visits over about a one month period. Should you stop wearing your retainers, your vision will return to its' original state. While the degree of success is very high, it cannot be guaranteed. However, when the corneal measurements and computer software indicate a patient will be successful, it is rare that patients don't do well with GVSS. Rates and amount of improvement vary from one person to the next.
"I've never heard of GVSS. Is it new?"
Attempts to re-shape the cornea have been tried since contact lenses were first fit. The clinical- scientific name for GVSS is orthokeratology. When orthokeratology was first attempted in the 1960's, it would often take over a year to complete and the results were not nearly as favorable as GVSS. For this reason, many doctors and patients elected not to participate in conventional orthokeratology. With the newer diagnostic technology used to measure the corneal shape and the newer materials being used for vision retainers, GVSS is now a viable alternative for many nearsighted or astigmatism patients.