Not everyone is is well suited to wear the most common type of contact lens. If you have one of these eye conditions it can make wearing lenses more challenging:
- Dry eyes
Keratoconus: This is a relatively uncommon condition that occurs when the cornea becomes thinner and begins to bulge forward. The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown but is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, like eye-rubbing. In the beginning stages vision can be corrected with standard contacts and glasses but as the disease progresses those devices will no longer be able to correct vision. When this occurs speciality contact lenses are used to achieve vision correction. At Carslon-Tillisch we work with many different types of speciality lenses for keratoconus. These lens types include: scleral lenses, Synergeyes hybrid lenses, rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses, and custom soft lenses. Due to it's progressive nature, in some cases, keratoconus can cause the cornea to become so thin that scarring of the cornea occurs and corneal transplant is required. In 2016, a procedure called cross-linking was FDA-approved in the United States. Cross-linking is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses eye drops and ultraviolet light to strengthen the cornea. Corneal cross-linking is most effective if it can be performed before the cornea has become too irregular in shape or before there is significant vision loss from keratoconus. If applied early, cross-linking typically will stabilize or even improve the shape of the cornea, resulting in better visual acuity and an improved ability to wear contact lenses. Our doctors are able to determine if you would be a good candidate for this procedure. We work closely with corneal surgeons and are able to provide pre- and post-operative care for this procedure.
Presbyopia: Eyes have a tougher time focusing on near objects after age 40. This makes correcting the vision with standard contacts more difficult and eventually impossible. The main contact lens options for correcting presbyopia are: multifocal contacts and monovision. There are many different brands of multifocal contact lenses with slightly different designs--sometimes one style of multifocal contact will work better for a patient than another. Monovision is correcting one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision--this allows the patient to stay in a standard contact lens style.
Astigmatism: Astigmatism is a common vision conditions that causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the front part of the eye) is not shaped perfectly round and is instead more oval-shaped. Instead of standard contact lenses, toric contact lenses are used. Most patients are able to achieve clear and comfortable vision with toric lenses, however, some patients (especially those with high amounts of astigmatism) it can be more challenging to find a comfortable toric lens. When this occurs other lenses options can be used. These options include: rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses, custom soft lenses, Synergeyes hybrid lenses, and scleral lenses.
Dry Eyes: When eyes become excessively dry, it leads to irritation, burning, redness and blurred vision. The dry eye therapy must be started and continued before successful contact lens wearing can occur. Different dry eye therapies include: lubricating drops, eye heat masks, medicated eye drops, vitamins, and punctal plugs. Once the dry eye symptoms are being controlled contact lens wear can resume. Many contact lens manufacturers have designed different soft contact lenses for dry eyes. One soft contact lens option is a daily disposable lens with a high water content. Another option for dry eyes is a scleral lens. Unlike other contacts, a scleral lens has no contact with the cornea. A scleral lens is filled with a special saline solution that will keep the eye lubricated throughout the day.