If you’re interested in wearing contacts, you need to know all of the options at your disposal. Understanding the differences between each lens and the terminology can be confusing. We want to help you understand your eyes by providing you with a guide to contact lenses.
If you haven’t already, check out part one of What Contact Lenses Are Right For You? to learn about the two different types of contact lenses (soft and GP) and the contact lens options you have if you suffer from astigmatism or dry eyes. Part two will cover your options for lenses if you have giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC), keratoconus, or presbyopia.
As discussed in part one, these eye conditions require special contacts. If you’ve had trouble wearing contacts or have been told you’re not a good candidate for them, you may just have eyes that are “hard-to-fit". This doesn’t mean that you can’t wear contacts. You just need to know the options for your condition. Getting the opinion of a medical professional is always key. Schedule an exam with your ophthalmologist to see if your eyes require specific contact lenses.
More Hard-to-Fit Contacts
Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC):
GPC is a reaction caused by the proteins in your tears where the inside of your eyelid becomes irritated and swollen, forming large red bumps. This condition primarily affects people who wear contacts. GPC can lead to serious damage to your eyelid and cornea if left untreated. If you think you have developed GPC, avoid wearing contacts for a few weeks and contact your ophthalmologist. They may suggest eye drops or an ointment to help. If you are diagnosed with GPC but can still wear contacts, disposable or GP lenses can aid in your recovery.
1. Disposable lenses: Soft disposable lenses are sometimes enough to cope with GPC. Since the lenses are thrown away after each wear, there isn’t as much time for the protein deposits to collect on the lens.
2. GP lenses: Proteins don’t stick to GP lenses as easily as they do to soft lenses, making them great for someone with GPC. If you clean your GP lenses daily, they should stay generally free of residue.
Keratoconus is an eye disease that changes the structure of the cornea making it thin and bulge outward into a cone shape. Keratoconus results in blurred vision, and in severe cases, vision loss. Contacts can be a long-term treatment for vision impairments from mild to moderate keratoconus. Soft, GP, scleral, and hybrid lenses can all correct vision problems caused by keratoconus. A fitting method called piggybacking can also be helpful.
1. Soft lenses: Custom soft lenses can correct mild to moderate keratoconus. These lenses typically have a larger diameter and water content than regular soft lenses.
2. GP lenses: GP lenses are also effective in correcting mild to moderate keratoconus. Due to their hard nature, GP lenses contain corneal bulging, relieve pressure on the tissue, and eliminate blurring.
3. Piggybacking: If GP lenses are working well for you but are too uncomfortable, you may want to try a fitting technique called piggybacking. With this, a soft contact lens is worn under a GP lens acting as a cushion between the two lenses.
4. Scleral lenses: Sometimes when bulging is severe, a normal GP lens doesn’t fit properly. In this case, a larger GP lens called a scleral lens may be suggested. These lenses rest on the sclera of the eye rather than the cornea and can be more comfortable than a regular GP lens if you suffer from keratoconus because they don’t put pressure on the corneal tissue.
5. Hybrid lenses: Hybrid lenses for keratoconus don’t just combine the visual quality of a GP lens with the comfort of a soft lens. They are also specially designed to arch over the irregular-shaped cornea.
Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eye's ability to focus on nearby objects. This is a natural effect on the eye due to old age. It doesn’t usually affect your distance vision. However, if you already have bad distance vision, you will end up having trouble seeing objects close up and far away. Bifocal, multifocal, and monovision lenses can help combat your new farsightedness even if it's paired with preexisting nearsightedness. Monovision and modified monovision fitting methods can also be helpful.
1. Bifocal lenses: Bifocal lenses help you see from two focal points (near and far) by having different prescriptions in different sections of the lens. They can come in soft or GP lenses.
2. Multifocal lenses: Multifocal lenses are similar to bifocal lenses and some people use the terms interchangeably. However, these lenses have more than two focal points. Multifocal lenses can also come in soft or GP lenses.
3. Monovision: Monovision is a fitting process where you wear one lens on one eye for distance vision and one on the other eye for near vision. The lens for distance is typically worn on the dominant eye. It can take your brain around 2 weeks to adjust to this new way of seeing.
4. Modified monovision: Modified monovision is a fitting process where you wear a single-vision lens on one eye and a multifocal lens on the other. This is rarely considered as a first choice for treating presbyopia.
How We Can Help
At Medical Arts and Eye Clinic and Optical, we care about your eyes. We want to provide you with the best eye care whether you’re just making the switch from glasses to contacts or you have an eye condition that requires more. Contact us to schedule a contact lens exam today!