The contact lens industry has a come a long way in recent years. We are now able to offer contact lens options to almost every patient that walks in the door! For those with astigmatism or presbyopia (loss of focusing ability), options were once very limited and for the rest, contact lenses required lots of TLC as losing or tearing one resulted in a significant replacement fee. Now, not only are most lenses disposable and affordable, but they are also made of a much healthier, more breathable material. Also, with the introduction of daily disposable lenses, we can better serve part-time wearers, allergy sufferers, and even young children.
The newest generation of soft contact lenses is the silicone hydrogel lens. The addition of silicone to the contact lens material allows oxygen to pass much more freely through the lens enabling the corneal surface cells to better “breathe”. This has resulted in FDA approval for some silicone hydrogel lenses to be used for extended wear (sleeping in lenses). Not every contact lens is appropriate for extended wear! These lenses are available in almost any power and can also correct astigmatism (toric lenses) and presbyopia (multifocal lenses).
Because of certain corneal conditions, such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, and high or irregular astigmatism, not everyone is a candidate for soft contact lens wear. Until recently the only option was rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses. These lenses are known for both a great quality of optics, as well as significant patient discomfort. We now have available a hybrid RGP and soft contact lens (Synergeyes), which delivers the optical quality of an RGP lens with the comfort of a soft lens.
Multifocal contact lenses are available in soft (silicone hydrogel), RGP, or in the Synergeyes lens for those who are frustrated with using reading glasses over contact lenses. These lenses provide a broader range of vision and freedom from glasses for most visual tasks. Another viable option is monovision, which means one eye is corrected for distance and the other corrected for near. If you are interested in contact lenses, but think for some reason you are not a candidate, just ask at your next visit – we may be able to get you into or back into comfortable, functional contact lenses!
Front Range Eye Health Center, PC
Drs. Hale Kell, Cindy Beeks and Heather Gitchell
1220 Summit View Drive
Louisville, CO 80027
Author: Dr. Cindy Beeks
Other vision articles by Dr. Cindy Beeks
Front Range Eye Health Center, P.C.
1220 Summit View Drive, Louisville CO