Many people would like to experience the freedom of wearing contact lenses, but sometimes, wearing standard contact lenses isn’t the best option for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been told in the past that standard contact lenses aren’t suitable for you to wear, you may be a candidate for specialty contact lenses. The doctors at Coral Gable Eye Care and Clarin Eye Care in Palmetto Bay have expertise in fitting specialty contact lenses for people who have been classified as “hard-to-fit” for contact lenses.
What Are Specialty Contact Lenses?
Specifically designed for people who cannot wear standard contacts, specialty contact lenses can be used for various vision correction needs. Several types are available. The specific type of specialty contact lens a person needs will vary depending on their unique needs and eye health. Some of the conditions which may prevent someone from wearing standard contact lenses include the following:
- Chronic dry eye
- Corneal scarring
- Previous eye surgeries
Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
Rigid gas permeable lenses, also known as RGP lenses, are harder and more durable than soft contact lenses and provide sharper vision correction. When properly cared for, they may last up to a year. RGP lenses are the most common specialty lenses and provide sharp vision for people who have astigmatism. These lenses may also be recommended for people who have severe vision problems but otherwise have no eye diseases or ocular conditions.
While scleral lenses are also a type of rigid gas permeable lens, they tend to be more comfortable than regular RGP lenses. Scleral lenses vault over the entire front surface of the eye, including the cornea and the white part of the eye (the sclera). Scleral lenses tend to be more stable than standard contact lenses, meaning that they move around less when the eyes move.
The sclera is a less sensitive part of the eye, so people who have chronic dry eye will find that scleral lenses are much more comfortable than traditional contact lenses. People who have keratoconus, which is a progressive eye disease that causes the cornea (the front part of the eye) to thin out and bulge into a cone-like shape, cannot wear standard contact lenses in the more advanced stages of the disease. However, they can benefit from wearing scleral lenses because they vault over the surface of the eye. Scleral lenses are also custom-made for your eyes.
Ortho-k lenses are special gas permeable lenses that are used to reshape the cornea. Worn at night, the lenses actively reshape the cornea while a person sleeps, allowing them to enjoy clear vision throughout the day without needing to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses. Ortho-k lenses are an ideal choice for those who would like an alternative to wearing corrective eyewear during the day or who do not wish to undergo laser corrective surgery.
Ortho-k lenses are typically recommended for people who have been diagnosed with myopia (nearsightedness), particularly children who have progressive myopia (myopia which gets worse every year) and people who have been diagnosed with hyperopia (farsightedness).
Prosthetic Contact Lenses
Prosthetic contact lenses are designed to mask abnormalities and improve the appearance of an eye affected by a birth defect, trauma, or eye disease. People with albinism often suffer from sensitivity to light. These individuals can benefit from prosthetic contact lenses to make them feel more comfortable.
Prosthetic contact lenses are custom-made to match the appearance of the healthy eye and can be made in a wide variety of lens powers to correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. They can also be made without any corrective power if the use is simply to provide a more natural-looking appearance for a blind or disfigured eye.
Prosthetic contact lenses may also be recommended for people with amblyopia, otherwise known as “lazy eye,” as they can be customized to improve vision and treat amblyopia.
Fitting for Specialty Contact Lenses
A trained professional can help you determine what contact lenses you need. At Coral Gables Eye Care in Coral Gables and Clarin Eye Care in Palmetto Bay, our doctors are experienced in not only determining what contacts are best for you but also in fitting you for specialty contact lenses.
Our doctors will perform a contact lens exam if you are interested in contact lenses. At this time, they will evaluate a range of metrics and eye health markers, including your cornea shape and size. They will also address your corrective vision needs and your overall eye health. Once our doctors have gathered the information needed to gain a better understanding of your eyes, they will offer recommendations on specialty contact lenses that may be right for you. A specialty contact lens fitting will follow to ensure that your contacts rest correctly on your eyes.
If standard contact lenses are not an appropriate option for you, specialty contacts may be a good alternative. Contact our eye care center in Coral Gables or Palmetto Bay to schedule an appointment for your specialty contact lens consultation.