Specialty Contact Lenses
Traditional or “off-the-shelf” contact lenses are not the answer for everyone. For certain individuals, specialty contact lenses are necessary to manage certain chronic ocular surface issues, improve eye comfort or provide superior vision not achievable with glasses or traditional contacts. If you have hard-to-fit eye conditions, recently had eye surgery, or have severe dry eyes, specialty contact lenses could be for you.
Specialty Contact Lenses
For certain individuals, specialty contact lenses are necessary to manage certain chronic ocular surface issues, improve eye comfort, or provide superior vision not achievable with glasses or traditional contacts. If you have a corneal disease such as keratoconus, recently had eye surgery, or have severe dry eyes, specialty contact lenses may be the solution for you.
Conditions that can benefit from specialty contact lenses include:
• corneal disease such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration
• corneal irregularity after LASIK, PRK, RK, corneal transplant or pterygium removal surgery
• severe dry eyes from Sjogren’s syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Graft-versus-Host disease or chronic exposure due to incomplete lid closure
• visually limiting corneal scars
• limbal stem cell deficiency
• unacceptable appearance or excessive light sensitivity from an irregular pupil shape and/or size
• extremely high glasses prescription from aphakia, astigmatism, farsightedness or nearsightedness
• highly asymmetric prescription between the eyes
• a desire to be free of daytime glasses and contacts without LASIK
What Types of Specialty Lenses are Available?
Scleral lenses are large diameter gas permeable contact lenses custom designed to vault over the cornea (the clear window of the eye). The edges rest on the more insensitive white part of the eye called the sclera, making these lenses more comfortable and stable than corneal gas permeable lenses. Sclerals bathe the cornea in a layer of preservative-free saline to improve vision by masking corneal irregularities while providing all-day lubrication to the eye.
Hybrid lenses combine the crisp optics of a gas permeable lens with the comfort of a soft contact lens. The application, removal and care regimen are similar to soft contact lenses and can be a great option for those looking for a more comfortable alternative to rigid contact lenses or sharper vision than what is achievable with soft contacts.
Rigid gas permeable lenses are custom designed to rest on the cornea with a thin layer of tear film flowing underneath, allowing more oxygen to the eye than soft contacts. It provides superior optics to soft contacts for individuals with moderate amounts of astigmatism and may be more comfortable for mild dry eye sufferers. While an initial adaptation period may be necessary in these lenses, they are easier to handle and more durable than soft lenses.
Custom soft contact lenses are fabricated to the doctor’s specifications on every parameter to optimize fit, vision and comfort for eye shapes and sizes that cannot be fit in off-the-shelf designs. Prosthetic lenses can be created using custom soft contact designs by adding dark tints to block excess light for visual comfort or overlaying colored pigments to normalize the appearance of an eye altered by disease, injury or surgery.
Orthokeratology also known as ortho-K, is a FDA-approved treatment that corrects your vision by using retainer lenses to gently and reversibly reshape the cornea overnight as you sleep to provide freedom from daytime correction. Ortho-K is an excellent non-surgical alternative to LASIK for adults who lead active lifestyles, suffer from contact lens related dry eye or those who do not want or qualify for LASIK. For nearsighted children, the goal of ortho-K treatment is to slow myopia progression and protect their long-term ocular health.