Astigmatism Contact Lenses
Maybe you’ve heard it before: “Sorry… you have astigmatism…you can’t wear contact lenses”. Hmmm…maybe it’s time you come to someone who specializes in astigmatism! Do you know that there are over 60 different brands of soft toric lenses that correct astigmatism…even extreme amounts of astigmatism?
Astigmatism is merely a visual condition of the eye that is caused by its shape, just like myopia (nearsight) and hyperopia (farsight). Nearsight is caused by an eye that is too long, while farsight is caused by an eye that is too short. Astigmatism is caused by an eye that has two different powers, which splits the focusing of an object into two separate images. The most common form is corneal astigmatism, in which the front of the eye is not perfectly spherical, but warped, with two unequal curvatures. These unequal curvatures result in magnification differences and cause blurry vision, shadows seen around objects, eye muscle spasms, eyestrain, and headaches.
Approximately 84% of the population has astigmatism…it is by far the most common refractive problem, more than nearsight and farsight put together!
Both eyeglasses and contact lenses correct astigmatism, but, contrary to what most doctors still say, contact lenses do a much better job! Astigmatism eyeglasses cause distortion just like those “Fun House” mirrors that make you look tall and skinny or short and fat…there is more magnification in one direction than the opposite. Most of the distortion occurs away from the lens centers, so large eyeglass frames cause more problems than small frames. In addition, when you move, the side vision appears to “swim”. Contact lenses do not cause any of these problems because the eyes are always looking through the center of the lenses, where there is no distortion! When you move your eyes, the contacts move too.
Most doctors still tell people that they can’t wear contacts if they have astigmatism. The truth is that it is too time consuming for them to fit astigmatism contacts, or they have not kept up with new contact lens technology.
You really do have to try them for yourself. If you already use astigmatism contacts, or you’ve tried them unsuccessfully in the past, call us to set up an evaluation, and we will discuss which lens will work best for YOUR eyes.
Progressive And Bifocal Contact Lenses
If you already wear contacts, but are having problems with your near vision because you are over 40 years old, then you will be happy to hear about this newest area of contact lens development. Imagine being able to read or work at your computer, without having to strain your eyes or pull out your reading glasses. We now have the contact lenses you’ve been waiting for!
Bifocal contact lenses have had major improvements over the past few years, and there are now dozens of brands available for people with different vision needs.
People often confuse bifocal contacts with “monovision”, where one eye is corrected for far vision, and the other eye is corrected for near vision. Bifocal contacts are designed with a far and near correction in each lens! There are many different designs, but they fall into 3 main categories:
- Line bifocals: weighted on the bottom, so that it stays in the proper position. When you look straight ahead, you are looking above the line through the far prescription, and when you look down to read, you are looking below the line, through the near prescription.
- Concentric bifocals: the center has the far prescription, and the outer portion has the near prescription.
- Progressive concentric bifocals: the prescription gradually changes from the center of the lens toward the outer portion. This design usually works better for computer users.
No matter how strong or weak your prescription is (and now, even if you have astigmatism too!), there is a bifocal lens that will very likely work for you. We are quite familiar with all of the brands, and Dr. Jeruss will be happy to discuss all of your options with you.
SCLERAL HARD LENSES:
At last! Great Comfort AND Great Vision!
“Hard lenses? No way! I tried them a long time ago, and they were uncomfortable!”
“Hard lenses? Uh uh…my friend tried them and said they hurt!”
The main reason for the increased “lens awareness” with standard design hard lenses is that they are smaller than the cornea, so whenever the upper eyelids blink, they bang into the upper edge of the lens. Now we have a fantastic solution: scleral hard lenses that are larger than the cornea! These lenses fit well underneath the upper eyelids so there is no eyelid/lens edge interaction, giving people the better comfort of a soft lens AND the better vision of a hard lens!
Many people wear contact lenses for sports only. They appreciate the improved peripheral vision that eyeglasses do not provide. They also enjoy not having to constantly wipe perspiration off their glasses or look through fogged up lenses.
Typically, a large lens is the best for sports, because it is less likely to move around and cause fluctuating vision. It is also less likely to fall out during strenuous activity or windy conditions. There are a number of contact lens brands made with the sports enthusiast specifically in mind.
For those whose sports activities occur only on weekends or even less frequently, daily disposable “single use” lenses may be the answer, for both convenience and economy.
KERATOCONUS CONTACT LENSES
This is a progressive condition that causes the cornea to become thinner and eventually bulge forward in a cone-like shape. The result is increasingly distorted vision that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses.
There are a variety of semi-rigid oxygen permeable lens designs that fit different types of keratoconus, and all of them do an excellent job of providing clear vision by negating or compensating for the distortion of the cornea.
Contact lens options include:
- Small hard corneal lenses that fit the “cone”
- Medium sized corneal hard lenses that fit over and around the cone.
- “Piggy-back” lenses: a small – medium sized hard corneal lens is worn over a soft contact lens to provide better comfort than a hard lens by itself.
- “Hybrid” lenses, which combine a hard center with a soft outer skirt, providing the clear vision of a hard lens with the comfort of a soft lens. SynergEyes™ KC hybrid lens (http://www.synergeyes.com/), Dr. Jeruss is one of the very first doctors in the country to fit this lens.
- Large diameter “scleral” hard lenses that are larger than the cornea to provide better health, better centration, better vision, and much better comfort.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the ultimate progression of this condition results in corneal scarring, and eventually a corneal transplant is the only treatment.
DISPOSABLE CONTACT LENSES
Disposable contact lenses have made major strides in material development and manufacturing quality. There are now lenses available that transmit 6 times more oxygen to the cornea than previous lenses. We have materials that maintain their water content throughout the day, providing relief to contact lens wearers who have dry eye problems.
We have lenses for many different wearing schedules. There are daily (1 time use) disposables, weeklies, 2 weeks, 1 month, and 3 month lenses. With so many different lenses, most doctors are unable to keep track of all of the lenses available, and what their fitting details, characteristics, materials, available curvatures, powers, sizes, and maximum FDA approved wearing times are. Patients too often receive incorrect advice on how often they should replace their lenses, advice which can lead to long term permanent irreversible corneal and eyelid health problems. Overwearing lenses results in excessive surface deposit formation, which causes corneal oxygen deprivation and tissue inflammation that leads to bacterial infections. My best advice to you is to do an internet search for their lenses on their manufacturer’s website to find out “from the horse’s mouth” what the CORRECT wearing schedule is.
Patients often ask: “Which lens is the best?” The answer is that we have lenses that are “the best” for dry eyes, lenses that are “the best” for deposit resistance, lenses that are “the best” for oxygen transmission, lenses that are “the best” for easy handling, etc.
We will fit YOU with “the best lenses for YOU”!
CONTACT LENS OPTIONS IF YOUR REFRACTIVE SURGERY DIDN’T WORK
Don’t worry. We have turned this situation around many times with specially designed contact lenses to enhance the effect of the surgery. They act similarly to the Ortho-K lenses described in the article “Improve Your Vision While You Sleep”. These contacts gently re-shape the corneal curvature to the desired prescription, and stabilize the vision to a more satisfactory level.
Another option is to wear hard gas permeable lenses over soft lenses. This is called “piggybacking”, and it provides the clear vision of a hard lens with better comfort than a hard lens alone.
Another option is the SynergEyes™ hybrid lens (http://www.synergeyes.com/). This combines a hard center with a soft outer skirt, providing the clear vision of a hard lens with the comfort of a soft lens. Dr Jeruss is one of the first doctors in the world to start fitting this amazing lens!
Scleral hard lenses are becoming utilized more and more, due to the much improved comfort from large diameter lenses that are larger than the cornea.