The world of contact lenses continues to evolve. It is amazing how the number of choices advance so that you can have better, safer and more convenient options to choose from. Our practice has a long history of fitting contact lenses since they were first introduced in the 1950s. Our doctors are continually invited to participate in industry and FDA monitored research studies.
Single Use Contact Lenses
A single use contact lens is the safest, cleanest, most convenient contact lens modality available and is often chosen as an alternative to laser eye surgery. You treat single use contact lenses like Kleenex … you use them once and then throw them away. These are the most cost-effective choice for the occasional contact lens wearer who only wants a contact lens for “sports and social life”, for people with dry eyes and anyone who works in a dusty environment. Our office predicts that one day almost all soft contact lenses will be single use lenses. You can try to clean your lenses perfectly buy you can never get your lenses perfectly clean. © With a single use lens you do not need to buy and expose your eyes to the chemicals used to clean and store a contact lens.
Disposable Contact Lenses
Two week and one month disposable contact lenses are the mainstay of modern contact lens practice as many manufacturers have stopped producing the traditional lenses which lasted up to 18 months. The first disposable lenses were a two week lens – one month disposable lenses came latter. These modalities are falling out of favour as they still require cleaning and storage in a chemical bath that may not sterilize your lenses. For some people, these chemicals become toxic to an eye over time. One day, all contact lenses will be a single use lens with NO chemical solutions required.
Silicon Hydrogel Lenses
Soft contact lenses have been available since the 1970’s. Advancements in the 1980’s gave us high water and extended wear contact lenses.
The human eye requires 87 unites of oxygen to breath at a “normal” level. Almost all existing daily-wear and disposable soft lenses use a plastic that delivers about 42 units of oxygen to an eye. The newer plastics since 1999 deliver up to 175 units of oxygen to an eye.
When you wear a lens that delivers 175 units of oxygen your eyes are healthier, whiter and better able to support a contact lens. The delivery of more than 4 times the oxygen of traditional lens materials and this allows some people to safely wear lenses for up to 30 continuous days.
Warning: Some people find silicon too dry and others may form an allergic response to the silicon. Your doctor of optometry can monitor, diagnose and treat any adverse effect you might have.
Bifocal Contact Lenses
These lenses are available in Single Use, Two Week and One Month and gas permeable rigid modalities. A bifocal contact lens allows you to function with near, far and intermediate vision without glasses. Early bifocal contact lens designs from the late 1980’s yielded about a 60% success – that is, about 6 out of 10 patients who tried a bifocal soft lens were satisfied with their performance. We called this 20/happy. The newer lens designs since 1999 have given us more choices and about a 90% success rate. While they do not work on all people all of the time they do work on most people most of the time.
Almost anyone with astigmatism can now wear a disposable contact lens. These lenses are available in Single Use, Two Week, One Month and rigid gas permeable modalities. Astigmatism means your eye forms a line of focus instead of a point of focus. 85% of all eyeglass prescriptions correct for some amount of astigmatism. A toric lens changes the line into a point. Anyone with more that 1.00 diopters of astigmatism would see better with a toric astigmatism lens.
These lenses have a gas permeable center and a soft contact lens skirt. You get the better optics of a hard lens and the better comfort of a soft lens. These lenses are sometimes an excellent alternative for keratoconus patients who can not tolerate a hard or rigid gas permeable lens. www.synergeyes.com
Contact Lenses for Keratoconus
Keratoconus is a condition found in about 4% of the population. Our office is a referral center for persons who need a custom lens made to manage their unique vision needs. People with keratoconus do not see well with glasses or soft contact lenses. Contact lenses for keratoconus can be comfortable and give vision to those who might otherwise be faced with having a corneal transplant to maintain their vision. Corneal transplant surgery is the last resort if these lenses do not give people with keratoconus functional vision.
OrthoK is a process where you put on a rigid gas permeable contact lens at bedtime, take off when you wake up, and it allows you to see for the rest the day without wearing glasses or contact lenses. This modality is often an alternative to laser eye surgery. Please see our page on Orthokeratology and link to www.beretainer.com for more information.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
The fitting of oxygen permeable rigid lenses is a lost art as less than 5% of contact lens patients wear this modality. RGP lenses breathe better, stay cleaner, last longer, provide crisper vision, reduced the rate of myopic progression and are a lower annual cost than most soft contact lenses.
Do not learn about contact lenses from mass marketing. Advertisers often make promises that may not apply to you – no one lens design works on all people. If you have questions you should consult an optometrist to find out which lens design can safely provide you with “clear comfortable vision.”™