When is a contact lens not a regular contact lens? When it is a specialty contact lens of course. All of our patients are entirely unique, and this can mean that there is rarely a standard solution that meets every requirement. Many patients have previously been told that whilst they have a refractive eye error such as myopia or presbyopia, they have ocular issues that mean that they are not a good candidate for contact lenses. Fortunately, the design of contacts has continued to evolve, and now there are several types of lenses that can be successfully worn and used by patients who might otherwise feel that their only option is to choose glasses.
We are delighted to be able to offer a range of specialty contact lenses here at our premises in Fremont, CA.
Orthokeratology, better known as Ortho-K, is the name given to innovative new treatment for refractive eye conditions, in particular myopia. It represents an effective alternative to prescription lenses and laser eye surgery that is non-invasive and completely reversible.
Ortho-K uses custom-designed contact lenses to reshape the cornea so that light is refracted properly onto the retina. This means that the image that we see is clear and not blurred. These lenses, which are created from a gas-permeable material, are worn overnight and reshape your corneal tissue while you sleep. When you wake, you remove the lenses and can then enjoy a clear vision for the entire day without relying on contact lenses or glasses. The improvement in your vision is progressive, meaning that you will need to wear Ortho-K lenses continually in order to obtain the greatest clarity in your vision.
Ortho-K is considered a suitable treatment for a wide variety of patients, including children. Some studies have shown that regular use can prevent the progression of myopia, subsequently reducing the risk of myopic-associated conditions in the future.
Scleral lenses are another type of specialty contact lens and are often recommended for patients for whom regular contact lenses are not an option. These large-diameter, gas permeable lenses are designed to vault over the corneal surface rather than resting on it. In this way, they essentially replace the entire corneal surface with a perfectly smooth and regular surface to enable the correction of vision problems caused by corneal irregularities such as keratoconus.
A standard contact lens is usually between 9.0 and 9.5mm in diameter, which only covers a maximum of 80% of the cornea. However, scleral lenses can range between 14.5 and 24.0mm in diameter, depending on your individual needs. Since the average human cornea is just 11.8mm, even the smallest size of scleral lenses can easily accommodate the entire corneal surface and beyond.
Scleral lenses are also particularly good for patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome. This because the space between the corneal tissue and the back surface of the scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir, trapping tear film and eliminating many of the symptoms associated with dry eyes.
Each set of scleral lenses is custom made for each patient, ensuring that your vision correction is accurate and the lenses themselves are as comfortable as possible. Patients find that they provide an excellent alternative to many other types of treatment.
If you have previously been told that you aren’t a suitable candidate for contact lenses, you may think that glasses or laser vision correction are your only options. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Custom-fit contact lenses are, as their name suggests, designed specifically with just one patient in mind. This means that in addition to having your unique prescription on the lenses, the physical lenses themselves have been developed with a range of personal requirements in mind.
Conventional contact lenses are available in a selection of different fits, but these just three measurements to create them. However, many patients just aren’t suitable for a one-size-fits-all approach. When you choose custom lenses, your eye doctor will perform a test known as topography. This is where an instrument called a corneal topographer is used to take a complete map of the corneal surface so that the lenses can be custom-designed and manufactured to your unique requirements. Once in place, custom fit lenses offer superior comfort and clarity of vision.
Dry eye syndrome is a fairly common problem, particularly amongst people who spend a great deal of time looking at a computer screen. It occurs either as a result of a lack of natural tear film or because the patient has tear film that drains from the surface of the eyes too quickly. Dryness, itching, soreness, and excessive watering are all signs of dry eye lenses. In many cases, short episodes of dry eye syndrome resolve themselves. However, in most others, professional help is needed to help alleviate the condition.
Patients who have dry eyes are generally not recommended to wear contact lenses as they can prove irritating and sore. Fortunately, there is now a range of soft contact lenses that have been specifically developed to treat dry eyes. Our dedicated and experienced team would be happy to talk you through your options.
If you would like to learn more about specialty contact lenses, or if you would like to book an appointment to come in and talk to our team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch Tri-City Optometry within Fremont, CA (510) 602-2020.