Contact lenses have evolved a great deal during the last few decades, with many people being unaware of how many different varieties are now available. Most people are familiar with conventional soft or rigid contacts to correct refractive eye errors such as near and far-sightedness. However, there are also several specialty lenses that are available for patients who are unsuited for conventional treatment options.
We understand that mainstream contact lenses may not be right for every patient. However, we also believe that every patient has the right to the best vision they can possibly achieve. As such, we are pleased to offer several different specialty contact lens options, provided by our experienced team at our optometric center here in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Specialty contact lenses are designed to help people with corneal irregularities for which conventional lenses aren’t suitable for their needs. These include patients who:
Have dry eye syndrome
Have corneal scarring
Have been diagnosed with keratoconus (bulging of the cornea)
Suffer from pellucid marginal degeneration (a peripheral corneal thinning disorder)
Suffer from strabismus (an eye that turns in or out relative to the other)
Have had an injury to the eye or a congenital defect that causes distortion of the cornea
Have an intolerance to soft or gas permeable lenses
Scleral contact lenses are a very popular form of specialty contact lenses. They have an unusually large diameter, making it possible for them to vault over the entire surface of the cornea. Their edges rest on the sclera – the white part of the eye. This greater coverage replaces the entire irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth, domed optical surface through which light can be perfectly refracted, enabling you to enjoy clear vision again.
The design of scleral lenses has another purpose. By creating a space between the surface of the cornea and the back surface of the scleral lens itself, there is room for the natural tear film to keep the eyes moist and comfortable. This makes them a suitable option for patients who have previously been diagnosed with dry eye
syndrome – a condition where there is not enough natural tear film on the surface of the eye either due to production issues or expedited drainage.
Within scleral lenses, there are two different types – full and partial/mini scleral lenses. As you might have guessed, mini scleral lenses are a little smaller than full-sized varieties. However, they still provide excellent coverage that makes them more stable than many other types of contact lenses.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses aren’t a new development, but very few people are aware of them and their benefits. These lenses are rigid, made from a firm, durable plastic meaning that they retain their shape and last for much longer than many other types of lenses. In addition, they are gas permeable which means that oxygen can flow through them and reach the eyes, ensuring that your eyes remain as healthy as possible. In fact, these lenses enable more oxygen to reach the eyes than most soft varieties of contact lenses.
Gas permeable lenses are fairly large, covering around 75% of the cornea which helps to keep them stable within the eye. Despite being rigid by name, most wearers find that they quickly get used to the lenses and find that they are very comfortable. They are also easier to clean and handle than soft lenses and provide a clearer vision with enhanced clarity.
If you struggle to wear conventional contacts and you would like more information about specialty lenses, please get in touch with our expert team who would be happy to help you.