Contact Lenses for the “Hard-to-Fit” Patient

Contact lens wear may not be the best choice for everyone. You may have difficulty wearing contacts if you have any of the following conditions:

  • astigmatism
  • dry eyes
  • presbyopia
  • giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • keratoconus
  • post-refractive surgery (such as LASIK)

Just because it may be difficult doesn’t mean that you can’t wear contacts. There are options out there for you and many people have success wearing contacts.

Contact lenses for astigmatism

In Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, having an astigmatism is a very common medical condition where the cur of the front of the eye (the cornea) isn’t perfectly round. They eye is shaped more oblong like a football or an egg. If you have an astigmatism this alone shouldn’t keep you from wearing contact lenses. You will just need a different kind of contact lens.

There are lenses specifically designed to correct astigmatism which are called “toric” lenses. Most toric lenses are soft lenses. These toric soft lenses have design elements to keep the lens from rotating on the eye (so the varying corrective powers are aligned properly in front of the different meridians of the cornea) and have a variety of corrective powers in specific lens meridians.

Some people experience these toric soft lenses moving around too much on the eye causing blurred vision. If this occurs, there are different brands available that have different anti-rotation designs. If you find that soft lens rotation is an on going issue even after trying different brands of contacts, gas permeable (GP) lenses (with or without a toric design) can also correct astigmatism and GP lenses are custom fit to the eye so they do not rotate.

Contact lenses for dry eyes

Here in Northern Colorado in the high desert climate of Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, dry eyes can make contact lens wear uncomfortable and downright difficult. They can also cause a number of telling symptoms:

  • a gritty, dry feeling
  • feeling as if something is in your eye
  • a burning sensation
  • eye redness (especially later in the day)
  • blurred vision

The first step is to treat dry eyes. There are many ways and methods of doing this:

  • artificial tears
  • medicated eye drops
  • nutritional supplements
  • punctal occlusion

Punctal Occlution is a procedure preformed by a doctor. During this procedure the doctor closes the ducts in your eyelids that drain the tears away from your eyes.

When the symptoms of the dry eye condition are treated then the contact lens option can be explored. There are specific soft contact lens materials which are better suited to cases with dry eyes than others. GP lenses can be a wonderful option as well because of the way they are designed they keep tears between the lens and the eye which allows them to be a better option for some people in the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley areas.

Managing the time you have your contacts in and more frequent contact replacement can help (or removing them for specific tasks, such as computer work) can also minimize dry eye symptoms.

Contact lenses for giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is an inflammatory reaction on the inner surface of the eyelids. A common cause of GPC is protein deposits on soft contact lenses. These protein deposits form from components of your tear film which adhere to the soft lenses and become chemically changed.

In most cases switching to a one-day disposable soft contact lens will completely alleviate this issue, because with these lenses you throw them away at the end of the day before protein deposits can form on the lens. GP lenses are frequently chosen as a good alternative as well because the protein deposits don’t easily form on them and if they do they can easily be removed by proper, daily cleaning.

Some people in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley find that GPC, (a medicated eye drop) might help to lower the inflammation level of the eye before they can again wear contact lenses.

Contact lenses for presbyopia

The normal loss of focusing ability up close when you reach your 40s or 50s is Presbyopia.

There are many designs and options of bifocal and multifocal contact lenses available today to correct presbyopia. Monovision is one of the options for presbyopia. This is wearing a contact lens in one eye for distance vision and a lens in the other eye that has a modified power for near vision.

Your contact lens fitting is when we would help you determine whether bifocal/multifocal contact lenses or monovision are a good fit for you.

Contact lenses for keratoconus

Keratoconus is a relatively rare eye condition where the cornea becomes thinner and bulges forward. The term “keratoconus” comes from the Greek terms for cornea (“kerato”) and cone-shaped (“conus”). While the cause of keratoconus is unknown, it appears that oxidative damage from free radicals may play a role in the formation of this condition.

Gas permeable contact lenses are the treatment option of choice for mild and moderate keratoconus. The rigidity of these lenses helps to contain the shape of the cornea preventing increased bulging of the cornea. GPs can also correct vision problems caused by keratoconus which are not normally corrected with eyeglasses or soft contacts.

For some people in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, a soft contact lens is put under the GP lens for greater comfort. This fitting is labeled “piggybacking.” An additional option for some cases is a hybrid contact lens. These lenses have a GP center, surrounded by a soft “skirt” providing a greater amount of comfort while still possessing all the corrective properties of the GP lens.

Contact lenses after corrective eye surgery

LASIK surgery is chosen by over one million Americans every year to try to correct their eyesight. Occasionally, some people find that their vision problems remain after surgery which can’t be corrected with eyeglasses or another surgery. For these people in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, gas permeable contact lenses may often bring visual acuity and eliminate problems like glare and halos at night.

After corneal transplant surgery, gas permeable contact lenses are also used to correct vision problems. Some of these problems include irregular astigmatism which cannot be corrected with the use of eyeglasses.

A “reverse geometry” design of GP lens is sometimes prescribed following a LASIK or corneal transplant to better conform to the surgically changed shape of the eye (cornea). They are the opposite of a normal GP lens design, which is steeper in the center and flattens in the periphery. The back surface of these lenses is flatter in the center and steeper in the periphery.

Problem-solving contact lens fittings cost more

Here in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, a regular contact lens fitting is a much shorter process than fitting contact lenses to correct or treat any of the above conditions which would usually take a lot more time. These challenging to fit cases generally need a number of office visits and many pairs of trial lenses before the final contact lens prescription can be given. In addition, the lenses required to treat these conditions are usually more costly than regular soft contact lenses. Fees for these problem solving fittings are higher than fees for regular contact lens fittings because so much more goes into them.

Find out if you can wear contact lenses

If you live in Northern Colorado and you are interested in wearing contact lenses vs wearing glasses, please call our office at 970-204-4020 to schedule a consultation. We would enjoy hearing from you even if you’ve been informed by another office that you are not a good candidate for contacts. We might be able to help you achieve your dream of  wearing contacts!

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