Specialty and Customizable Contact Lenses at Precision Eye Care
Specialty contact lenses are custom fit contact lenses usually for the “hard-to-fit” eye. There is a level of training required from the eye doctor to fit these lenses and specialized equipment to aid in determining how to design the lenses. These lenses provide the quality of vision and comfort that are not achievable with spectacle lenses or regular soft lenses in these more complex cases.
Who are these for?
Types of Specialty
Who are Specialty Contact Lenses For
Dr. Natalie Chai believes that specialty contact lenses are a valid option for everyone seeking for an alternative to glasses. When fitted correctly, these lenses provide a number of advantages over their soft contact lens counterpart.
However these lenses are sometimes the only option for some patients with certain conditions. Some examples include:
- Corneal Transplants
- Complications post refractive surgery (i.e. ectasia, irregular astigmatism)
- Corneal scarring
- Ocular trauma
- Moderate/severe dry eye disease
- Naturally irregular corneas
- Pediatric conditions
- Contact Lens Intolerance/Discomfort
Types of Specialty Contact Lenses
There are a number of options when it comes to specialty contact lenses and the type chosen for you is based on your specific case. Certain lenses will work better for a particular condition than others and so a careful examination is necessary.
Scleral lenses are large diameter rigid lenses that completely vault over the entire cornea with landing points on the white part of the eye (scleral). These features provide excellent vision and comfort for the patient.
Scleral lenses are the lenses of choice for Dr. Natalie Chai for patients with keratoconus and other corneal irregularities.
Since comfort is the primary barrier to RGP use, hybrid lenses came around offering the best of both worlds. Hybrid lenses have a GP centre thus providing the clarity of vision and a soft lens “skirt” providing the comfort from a soft contact lens.
The hybrid lens is a great option for vision correction for both the average eye and for the irregular corneas alike.
Orthokeratology lenses are mostly used as a treatment option in myopia management. (Link to myopia management page) These are specially designed hard lenses using a reverse geometry design to gently reshape the cornea while sleeping. In addition to slowing down myopia progression the bonus is that the child is free from spectacle and contact lens wear during the day.
Orthokeratology is also an excellent alternative to refractive surgery. Sometimes patients may be apprehensive in following through with the permanent surgical procedure or there may be a financial barrier. Orthok provides the desired results from refractive surgery using a safe reversible treatment at a fraction of the cost. In the context of adults, orthok is not used for the purposes of myopia management.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses
These are hard contact lenses made of silicone-containing compounds. There are also a handful of people out there that have only worn hard lenses and are considered “legacy” patients and require ongoing care for maintaining their lenses. Though not as popular as soft contact lenses, RGP lenses offer a number of advantages.
- RGP lenses are designed to allow for a high percentage of oxygen permeability promoting excellent eye health.
- RGP lenses typically provide sharper visual acuity due to maintaining their shape on the eye.
- RGP lenses last longer as they are more resistant to tears and easier to keep clean and maintain.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does the consultation process look like for being fitted with a specialty contact lens at Precision Eye Care?
- Typically the process is started from a phone call together or virtual conference call.
- The purpose is to understand your history with contact lens wear and to understand your goals
- From here, we will schedule an in-office assessment involving taking topographical maps of your cornea and other tests to build a complete profile of your case.
- There will be a detailed discussion on the recommended specialty contact lens for you followed by the protocol for fitting and follow up visits
2. How should I prepare for the in-office work up?
- If this is a new fit, we would greatly appreciate your most updated prescription from your family optometrist. Otherwise, nothing is required outside from you arriving to your appointment time
- If this is a refit, we typically ask that you discontinue your current specialty contact lens wear for at least 3-5 days; the longer the better. This allows for the natural curvature and shape of your corneas to return and for the most accurate profile for best measurement
- We also ask for you to bring with you your most recent specialty contact lens to your appointment