Contact lens research and development has made progress by leaps and bounds in designing lenses that are comfortable and provide even clearer vision than the choices of the past. For those who have had a hard time wearing contacts or have conditions that traditionally barred them from wearing contact lenses, these options may be for you.
Scleral Contact Lenses
The use of these large rigid gas permeable contact lenses has grown tremendously in the last decade.
Going back nearly a hundred years, sclerals were initially utilized to improve the vision of patients with severe corneal irregularities such as high astigmatism and in eye injuries or diseases like keratoconus. They have more recently helped in patients with vision problems or complications after corneal transplants, LASIK or RK procedures.
An even more current application for these lenses is in the treatment of moderate to severe dry eye unresponsive to more traditional therapies such as lubricating drops or tear duct plugs. In these cases they work by vaulting over the cornea and creating a layer of tears in the void between the back of the lens and the front of the eye. This protects the corneal surface from drying and the shearing/rubbing effect of the lid when blinking.
While the vast majority of scleral lens wearers do quite well and find them both clear and comfortable, like all things medical, there are limits to their effectiveness and occasional side effects.
In 20% of wearers, the lenses tend to cloud up after a few hours and need to be removed and rinsed for a return to better vision. A very few patients have limited wear time due to discomfort, and some have a difficult time with insertion. Most medical insurance plans pay little to nothing towards the fitting services or for the lenses themselves. Some vision plans may help, depending on the medical diagnosis or condition and the quality of the vision without the lenses.
Hybrid Contact Lenses
The term hybrid means blend. In the case of contact lenses, it means an oxygen permeable (breathable) hard lens center encircled by a soft lens edge or skirt.
This lens design is used by practitioners who specialize in contacts for hard-to-fit patients. Its soft edge provides comfort and stability on the eye, and the rigid center improves vision over standard soft lenses or glasses in those with irregular corneal surfaces. In that way, the Synergeyes brand hybrid lenses work like a scleral lens. The difference is that it’s a reduced in size design and might be the better choice for smaller eyes.
Accent Vision Specialists are the premier local providers of contact lenses, with the largest inventory of in-stock lenses in Santa Fe. Our experience and depth of knowledge enables us to prescribe comfortable lenses for your needs, even in difficult to fit cases. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and see what options are available. We look forward to serving you!