Soft contact lenses are by far the most popular type of contacts worn. They are made of a soft, flexible plastic polymer that allows oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Soft contact lenses may be easier to adjust to and are more comfortable than rigid gas permeable lenses. Newer soft lens materials include silicone-hydrogels to provide more oxygen to your eye while you wear your lenses. Daily-wear lenses are put in each morning and taken out each night. They are replaced according to an established schedule.
Soft lenses are available as disposable-wear lenses, daily-wear conventional lenses, and extended wear lenses.
Disposable- wear lenses are easier to maintain than conventional daily-wear soft lenses. Many disposable lenses are designed for replacement daily, every two weeks, or every 30 days. These lenses are available for most prescriptions including astigmatism. They are even available in multifocal designs, addressing the need for reading glasses for daily tasks.
Daily-wear conventional lenses are often needed for custom prescriptions. Daily-wear lenses are available as quarterly replacement or biannual replacement.
Extended-wear lenses can be worn all the time, including while you sleep. Extended-wear lenses are made of soft silicone that allows more oxygen to reach the eye. They are available for overnight or continuous wear ranging from one to six nights or up to 30 days. The number of days the lens can be continuously worn will be determined by your doctor.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP)
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup. Often RGPs will provide clearer, crisper vision especially for patients with moderate astigmatism. However, they are not as comfortable initially as soft contact lenses and it may take a few weeks to get used to wearing RGPs.
Keratoconus is the gradual thinning and outward bulging of the cornea into a cone shape. This progressive eye condition usually affects both eyes by thinning the corneas from that of a normal rounded dome-shape into one that has a cone-shaped bulge. The cornea is the clear, central part of the surface of the eye. In those patients with keratoconus, the cone-shaped cornea deflects light and causes distorted vision.
While keratoconus often develops between the teen years and the early 20s, it can develop at any age. Changes in the shape of the cornea occur gradually, usually over several years. Patients with keratoconus often experience blurred and distorted vision, nearsightedness, and a glaring sensitivity to light.
Early stages of keratoconus can be treated with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. For more advanced cases of keratoconus, treatment methods may include rigid gas permeable contact lenses and specialty irregular cornea contact lenses such as Kerasoft IC and SynergEyes.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses for Keratoconus
If eyeglasses or regular soft contact lenses cannot control keratoconus, rigid gas permeable contact lenses are usually the preferred treatment. The rigid lens covers the cornea, replacing the cornea's irregular shape with a smooth, uniform refracting surface, improving vision. RGP lenses can be less comfortable to wear than soft lenses and fitting contact lenses on a cornea with keratoconus can be a challenge. Frequent doctor visits may be necessary to fine-tune the fit and prescription of RGP lenses, especially if keratoconus continues to progress.
The latest advancement in contact lenses, KeraSoft IC is a specialty soft contact lens designed to fit irregular corneas, including keratoconus, post laser refractive surgery, pellucid marginal degeneration, and other corneal irregularities. KeraSoft IC lenses utilize cutting edge technology to offer comfortable wear and excellent vision. This lens is an excellent alternative to rigid gas permeable lenses for irregular cornea patients.
SynergEyes combines the best aspects of both rigid gas permeable and soft contact lenses. They feature the soft skirt found in soft lenses for day-long comfort as well as a breathable rigid center that offers the visual clarity of a "hard" lens, providing crisp vision even at night. SynergEyes is available in a wide variety of options to allow for correction of astigmatism, distance, reading or keratoconus. These hybrid lenses eliminate many of the problems caused by other types of lenses, so patients do not have to settle for inconsistent vision or discomfort.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, utilizes specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses to change the curvature of the cornea, eliminating the need for glasses and contact lenses during the day. The contact lens is worn, like a retainer, while you sleep. The lens needs to be worn every night. If lens wear is discontinued the corneas will return to their original curvature.
For information regarding contact lens rebates or solution ordering please visit our Patient Resources page.