Everyone is different and not everyone is a perfect candidate for contact lenses without extra help. If you have one or more of the following conditions, contact lens wear may require special attention:
• Dry eyes
• Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
• Post-Refractive Surgery (such as LASIK)
With the right care and preparation most people with these and other condition can safely and comfortable wear contact lenses.
Contact lenses for astigmatism
Astigmatism is a condition that occurs when the front surface of your eye, the cornea, or the crystalline lens inside your eye is slightly irregular in shape. It is a common condition where the curvature of the front of the eye isn’t round, but is instead shaped more like a football or an egg. This means one curve is steeper or flatter than the curve 90 degrees away. Contact Lenses can correct Astigmiatism and GP (Gas Permeable) Lenses may be the better choice for most patients.
Lenses specially designed to correct astigmatism are called “toric” lenses. Most toric lenses are soft lenses. Toric soft lenses have different corrective powers in different lens meridians, and design elements to keep the lens from rotating on the eye (so the varying corrective powers are aligned properly in front of the different meridians of the cornea).
In some cases, toric soft lenses may rotate too much on the eye, causing blur. If this happens, different brands that have different anti-rotation designs can be tried. If soft lens rotation continues to be a problem, gas permeable (GP) lenses (with or without a toric design) can also correct astigmatism.
Contact lenses for dry eyes
Dry eyes can make contact lens wear difficult and cause a number of symptoms, including:
eye redness (especially later in the day)
a burning sensation
dry feeling, and gritty eyes
feeling as if something is in your eye
If you have dry eyes, the first step is to treat the symptoms and sooth the condition. This can be done in a number of ways, including medicated eye drops, artificial tears, nutritional supplements, and a doctor-performed procedure to close ducts in your eyelids that drain tears away from your eyes.
Once the dry eye condition is treated and symptoms are controlled or eliminated, contact lenses can be tried. Certain contact lens materials work better than others for dry eyes. Also, GP (Gas Permeable) lenses are sometimes better than soft lenses if there’s a concern about dry eyes since these lenses don’t dry out the way soft lenses can.
Replacing your contacts more frequently and reducing your wearing time each day can also reduce dry eye symptoms when wearing contacts. You may also consider removing them for specific tasks.
Contact lenses for Presbyopia
Presbyopia is a normal function of aging eyes, where the lens is less able to focus on close objects. This eventually causes blurred vision at a reading distance. It is not a disease or vision defect; it is a natural condition that everyone must face sooner or later. People usually start to notice it in the early to mid-forties. The common signs are eyestrain, headaches, eye fatigue, blurred vision, and an inability to focus on close objects. You may find yourself holding reading material at arm’s length or moving your computer screen back in order to read it.
Today, there are many designs of bifocal and multifocal contact lenses to correct presbyopia. During your contact lens fitting we can help you decide whether bifocal/multifocal contact lenses are best for you. Some other options are Progressive Lenses and Monovision Contact Lenses.
Contact lenses for giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is an inflammatory reaction on the inner surface of the eyelids.
There can be many causes of conjunctivitis, and treatment often involves switching from one type of lens to another. Usually, changing to a one-day disposable soft lens will solve this problem, since you just throw these lenses away at the end of the day before protein deposits can accumulate on them. You may be required to stop wearing your contacts for a few days. In some cases of GPC, a medicated eye drop may be required to reduce the inflammation before you can resume wearing contact lenses.
Gas permeable lenses are also often a good solution, as contaminants don’t adhere as easily to GP lenses, and lens deposits on GP lenses are more easily removed with daily cleaning.
Contact lenses for keratoconus
Keratoconus is a disease that can significantly interfere with you r vision but does not cause blindness. In this condition the cornea becomes weak, progressively thins, and becomes irregular in shape, producing blurry vision and high levels of astigmatism.
Keratoconus is a relatively uncommon eye condition where the cornea becomes thinner and bulges forward. The term “keratoconus” comes from the Greek terms for cornea (“kerato”) and cone (“konus”). The exact cause of keratoconus remains a condition of unknown etiology (cause and origin), but it appears that oxidative damage in the cornea is somehow involved. Possibly an interaction between increased enzyme activities and related enzyme inhibitors may be associated with Keratoconus. Some evidence suggests the endocrine system is involved as well.
Rigid Gas permeable contact lenses are the most frequent recommended treatment option of choice for mild and moderate keratoconus. Because they are rigid, GP lenses can help contain the shape of the cornea to prevent further bulging of the cornea. They also can correct vision problems caused by keratoconus that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or soft contacts, such as myopia and astigmatism. They provide excellent health to the eye because they can allow transfer of oxygen to the cornea, and are easy to remove, insert and care for. RGP lenses can be custom designed for the unique conical shape of each eye.
In some cases, a soft contact lens is worn under the GP lens for greater comfort. This technique is called “piggybacking.” Another option for some patients is a hybrid contact lens that has a rigid GP center, surrounded by a soft peripheral “skirt”. These lenses can provide a better combination of comfort and vision, compared to GP or soft lenses alone.
There are now some lenses called Scleral Lenses that rest on the white of the eye, and they may work for people who have trouble with smaller GP lenses. Products such as the Atlantis Scleral Lens are designed to correct many ocular conditions and sagittal depths. Keratoconus is one of these conditions, along with pellucid marginal degeneration, corneal transplants, post-refractive surgery, post corneal rings, and ocular surface disease.
Contact lenses after corrective eye surgery
Every year more than a million people in the USA choose to have LASIK surgery for eyesight correction, a procedure that produces a positive result some 95% of the time. Most people report they are happy with the improvement in their eyesight from LASIK procedures.
Having said that, there are still a significant number of people who require further action or procedures after LASIK surgery for vision problems that persist. In many cases an enhancement procedure may not be possible and a variation of the Gas Permeable Lens may be the best answer. Since GP lenses are not flexible they can correct of imperfections in the cornea, where spots, halos, or glare at night cause issues.
The space between a GP lens and the corneal surface will fill with tears, and the GP lens can eliminate or greatly improve conditions such as irregular astigmatism that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses.
Contact First Look Opticians to arrange an office visit for help with these or any other eye conditions relating to Contact Lenses. We specialize in fitting lenses and can help you with all your contact lens requirements.