Specialty Contact Lenses

A Layman's Guide To Specialty Lenses

Specialty contacts provide a viable option to treat many eye complications and disorders. While standard types are often chosen for cosmetic or aesthetic preferences, certain ocular conditions require specialty contacts for medical reasons. These are designed to improve visual acuity and ocular health, correct irregularities, and to prevent development of severe conditions.

Eye Disorders That Might Require Contacts

In some instances, standard contacts are unable to correct vision or treat a condition. The following complications may require these types of lenses:
Corneal Irregularities: These include conditions such as keratoconus and myopia. In such instances, corneal reshaping improves vision and prevents progression of the condition. Ortho-k treatment utilizes this for nearsighted children. Multifocals are another option to treat focusing issues and myopia.
Dry eye syndrome: In severe cases, some individuals require specialized lenses which provide additional eye moisture.
High Prescriptions: When vision is extremely poor in a condition known as ametropia, only contacts can provide adequate corrective measures.
Trauma: Known as aphakia, specialized lenses may be required if the individual is missing an ocular lens due to trauma. This sometimes occurs post surgery.
Uneven focus/power: Anisometropia is a condition where the eyes have unequal focus or power.
Cornea surgery: When corneal surgery causes scarring, scleral lenses.may become necessary.

Types of Specialty Contacts

There are a wide range of specialty contacts for ocular disorders. Customized fittings may be more complicated than standard types, and may require multiple visits for customized fittings. These lenses come in the following types:
A combination of soft lens for comfort and RGP (rigid gas permeable functionality) provides clear vision for the wearer.
These feature multiple prescriptions in one pair.
A type of corneal reshaping therapy permitting crisp daytime vision without the use of daytime glasses or contacts.
Permeables are made of durable plastic which enables oxygen flow to the eye. While not as comfortable as soft contacts, they are more durable and provide better results.
These sit on the sclera (rather than the cornea) to create a new ocular surface. Often used following corneal transplants when there is scarring.
More comfortable than rigid options, these don't provide the vision correction that rigid options provide.

Homecare Prevention

All contacts require maintenance and there is always a risk of infection. Make sure that your child understands the responsibility of wearing contacts. Always monitor signs of infection and notify the optometrist if symptoms persist or worsen. These include:
redness/swelling
discharge or crustiness
tearing/irritation or pain
blurry vision or other impairment
glare or light sensitivity

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people find them uncomfortable. They also take more time to get accustomed to.
It depends on the wearer. While soft lenses are known for their comfort they are often insufficient for serious conditions. Hybrids combine the comfort of soft contacts with gas permeability.
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Specialty Lenses For Ocular Disorders

Today’s medical field features a variety of specialty contacts to treat ocular diseases and maintain eye health. These include hybrids, scleral types, multifocals, ortho-k therapy, and rigid gas permeables. If you would like to find out whether such lenses are right for you or your child, contact an optometrist to schedule an appointment.
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