While the process of getting contact lenses is simple and routine for most people, for some, it is much more complex. These people, colloquially referred to as “hard to fit” patients, need more specialized lenses.
Being “hard to fit,” simply means that someone doesn’t have an average or typical eyeball. Despite how it may sound, it isn’t all that unusual.
In most cases, people who are hard to fit have a condition like presbyopia (farsightedness caused by age), astigmatism (abnormally curved cornea), keratoconus (a cornea with a more of a bulging or cone-like shape), or dry eyes. Having had eye surgery or conjunctivitis can also lead to someone being hard to fit and requiring specialized contact lenses, as can conditions like high myopia, sensitivity from conditions like sjorgens, and other irregularities with the cornea such as Fuchs’ dystrophy. For these people, wearing regular contacts will be uncomfortable, if not impossible to wear.
Standard contact lenses sit right atop the eyeball and have a standard curve. While everyone’s contact lens will vary due to prescription differences, standard lenses fall within the same general range. It’s when someone requires lenses that fall outside this range that they are considered hard to fit, and the lenses have to be specially made by an optometrist (following an eye exam to be sure that the specifications are precise.)
Specialty contact lens clinics also have additional devices such as a corneal photographer, which can fully map, in three dimensions, the various ridges and bumps on the cornea, to allow the creation of custom lenses. Additionally, doctors who specialize in hard to fit patients will have more experience helping people with these conditions and therefore be better equipped to help you.
Following the exam, the optometrist will go over your options. Depending on the reason for you being hard to fit, it might lead your optometrist to suggest some options over others.
If you suffer from any of the previously listed conditions, and want to wear contact lenses, visit our eye care professionals who specialize in contact lenses and can give you a proper examination and recommend options based on your unique needs. Those who specialize in contact lenses and in working with hard to fit patients will also be more aware of newer contact lens developments that might work better for you than previously known options.
They are also, of course, more than able to answer any other questions you may have about contact lenses.
While the process of getting contact lenses for hard to fit patients is more complex than it is for most people, that doesn’t mean it should be hard for you to find the right contact lenses. Contact us at (360) 491-2121 if you have additional questions, or wish to schedule an evaluation.