March 24, 2020
Unless you are an experienced contact lens wearer, you may not think that all contacts are the same. After all, they are similar in their shape and design. However, the truth is that there are many types of contact lenses available, meaning that there is nearly always a variety to suit every patient. This is particularly important since some patients require specialty contact lenses.
What are specialty contact lenses?
Specialty contacts are lenses that are designed specifically for patients who have irregular corneal conditions or other eye issues for which conventional contacts aren’t suitable.
Since regular contact lenses sit directly on the surface of the eyes covering the cornea, it is imperative that they fit correctly and comfortably. Unfortunately, since not everyone has a perfectly-shaped cornea, regular contacts won’t fit everyone. Some people also suffer from eye conditions, such as dry eye, which also make wearing conventional contact lenses difficult.
Fortunately, there are various types of specialty contact lenses that can combat these issues and make it possible for these patients to enjoy clear vision without glasses.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses
Gas permeable contact lenses are recommended for patients who suffer from dry eyes since the material they are made of enables enough oxygen to pass so that the eyes don’t dry out as quickly, keeping them comfortable. And even though they are not hard lenses, their rigidity also helps the cornea to maintain its shape while wearing them, which can help with some corneal abnormalities.
Scleral contact lenses
Scleral contact lenses have a much larger diameter than conventional contacts, but rather than making contact with the entire surface of the eye, they instead vault over the surface, leaving a gap between the front of the cornea and the back of the lens. Scleral lenses are a practical solution for addressing a number of issues which could make regular contact lenses impractical or impossible. The space creates enough room for corneal abnormalities such as those seen in keratoconus or patients with surgical scarring. It also acts as a reservoir for tear film, keeping it on the surface of the eyes for longer and eliminating the symptoms of dry eyes.
Limbal fit contact lenses
Limbal contact lenses are another type of specialty lens that falls between rigid gas permeable lenses and scleral varieties in terms of their size. Their larger overall diameter helps to increase their stability on the surface of your eyes. They also offer minimal interference with the eyelids, which helps to ensure comfort and clarity of your vision.
Orthokeratology contact lenses
Orthokeratology is an innovative new approach to vision correction and the prevention of progression of the refractive eye error called myopia. Orthokeratology lenses are designed uniquely for each patient and are made from a material that makes them safe to be worn overnight. While you sleep, their shape and the natural tear film from your own eyes gently reshapes your cornea in such a way that when you remove the lenses the next morning, you can see clearly without the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses. Over continued use of the treatment, your corneas will be able to hold their corrected shape for progressively longer until you can see clearly for the duration of an entire day.
In addition to helping patients to see clearly without being reliant on glasses or contacts, orthokeratology lenses have also shown to be extremely effective at slowing the progression of myopia, particularly among children. This is important since it could also prevent some of the complications that can arise as a result of severe myopia – such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment. We are pleased to offer our patients the choice of Proactive corneal reshaping lenses, which are an orthokeratology solution.
If you would like to inquire further about specialty contact lenses, please contact our vision care team today.