There was a time when contact lens wearers wore the same pair of soft lenses for an entire year. Rigid lenses were “hard lenses” or “PMMA” and wearers couldn’t see well with glasses when they removed the contact lenses. How times have changed!
Today, soft lenses are nearly all disposable lenses (daily, 2-week, & monthly). Hard lenses have been replaced with “gas permeable” lenses (RGP). These changes have dramatically improved the eye health of contact lens wearers. In addition we have extended (overnight) lens wear, bifocal contact lenses in both soft and RGPs, toric lenses for astigmatism in both soft and RGPs, lenses for keratoconus and other corneal disorders and breakthrough lenses for dry-eye patients. It’s never been better for contact lens wearers. Contact Lenses are now available for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, as well as presbyopia (the over-40, short arm problem). In addition, we fit new soft disposable lenses specially designed for dry eye patients and firm contact lenses designed to slow down or stop the progression of nearsightedness in children and young adults.
What We Do For Contact Lens Wearers
Our challenge is to match today’s technology with your eyes’ needs. Like so many high-tech areas, contact lenses change rapidly. This year we have solutions for patients who couldn’t be helped last year. The problems we most commonly see are dry eyes with uncomfortable lenses, red eyes, a need for bifocal lenses, fluctuating vision and repeated eye infections. These are problems contact lens wearers should not have and that we love to resolve.
The Contact Lens Examination
A contact lens examination starts after a comprehensive general eye exam with the addition of the fitting and evaluation of contact lenses, ordering and dispensing of trial contact lenses and all the follow-up evaluation examinations. Our office has found that patients are happier if they can wear the actual lens we prescribe for a week before they have to buy a supply of them. This eliminates any “surprise” of a lens that dries out later in the day or becomes uncomfortable.
The Contact Lens Prescription
After all the follow-up visits have been completed and the patient and doctor are happy with the fit, a contact lens prescription is given to the patient. This is different from the glasses prescription, and expires in one year. Prescriptions for glasses usually expire in two years. The reason for the difference is that contact lens wearers have a higher incidence of problems with corneal health, due to the contact lens wear. The Standard of Care for contact lenses has thus become one year.
CRT - Corneal Refractive Therapy
CRT is a unique rigid gas permeable contact lens designed to temporarily correct myopia (nearsightedness) by gently and reversibly reshaping your cornea while you sleep. You may then be able to go throughout the day without any lenses. CRT can be a great option for the patient that is struggling with their contact lenses during the day but doesn't want to commit to LASIK surgery.