Contact lenses, just like Lasik (laser eye surgery) or eyeglasses, correct astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. In fact, one in every five people who need vision correction wears contact lenses. Contacts have changed the way many tackle eyecare problems. They are small, can change the colour of your eye and are relatively inexpensive. Many people are still unaware of how they are useful, how many different types there are and which eye problems can be taken care of using contact lenses. Contacts as we all know are thin plastic lenses placed directly on the eye to correct refractive errors. They can be worn by most patients now that they come in all sizes and shapes.
Are you looking to switch to contact lenses?
Switching from prescription glasses to contact lenses starts with an eye exam followed by a lens fitting session, which helps find the contact lens parameters that best fit your eyes and preferred modality. During the eye exam, the eye doctor will also check for any eye problems that may occur by wearing contact lenses. After evaluating the ocular structure the next step is contact lens fitting which helps in choosing the right kind of contact lens for you. While taking measurements of your eye, the doctor will check your corneal curvature; this helps the doctor to prescribe the best base curve and diameter for your eye.
In some cases your doctor might want to perform corneal topography to better map you eye structure. Trial lenses are initially used to check if the lenses are appropriate for you in terms of position, centration, rotation and comfort. Your vision with these lenses will also be checked to ensure optimized eye care outcome. Based on your comprehensive eye and contact lens exam, the doctor may prescribe different types of contact lenses like soft dailies (Daily disposable lenses), hard contact lenses, bifocal lenses or multifocal lenses.
TYPES OF CONTACT LENSES
Daily soft contact lenses are the most popular choice for almost everyone as they are comfortable and have a very low adaptation period. These contact lenses allow oxygen to pass through and are less likely to have protein built on them over time as they are replaced on a daily basis. Soft contact lenses are made of soft plastic lenses or silicone hydrogel.
Learn more about Daily Contact Lenses
Hard Contact Lenses or RGP lenses
Hard Contact Lenses are designed in a way that allows oxygen to reach the ocular surface. These lenses are hard and smaller than soft contact lenses. They provide better visual outcome than soft lenses for patients with irregular corneal surface such as keratoconus patients. They generally can be worn for longer periods of time but need to be cleaned regularly.
Hybrid lenses have a central optic zone which is made of Gas Permeable materials and the rest is made of soft material. They typically provide better eye care comfort than hard lenses due to integration of the soft lens component.
Bifocal contact lenses work just like bifocal glasses offering clear vision at different distances. Bifocal or multifocal lenses are used to correct astigmatism as well.
Multifocal lenses are similar to progressive lenses in glasses. They have more than one power to correct vision at different distances to provide clear vision at all times.
Learn more about Multifocal Contact Lenses
Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea loses its natural round shape and starts bulging, thinning and is associated with reduced vision. It results in irregular astigmatism. At 360 Eyecare, our optometrists utilize labs that specialize in RGP keratoconus lenses for optimum results.
We also offer Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lens treatment: it is an overnight vision correction, which can help reshape your cornea to reduce refractive errors, temporarily. It involves the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses, which you can wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so that you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses. For best results, it is suggested that you wear the lenses every night.
For the right candidate, Orthokeratology lenses can be prescribed to:
– Correct refractive errors, primarily mild to moderate levels of Myopia
– Slow the progression of childhood myopia.
– However, some mild astigmatism, hyperopia and in some cases, presbyopia can also be corrected.
The type and amount of refractive error that can be effectively managed with orthokeratology differ for each case. A comprehensive eye exam should help determine a specific plan to manage vision correction in each case. At 360 Eyecare our optometrists will discuss available lens options for your specific needs and prognosis for each at the time of your consult.
Common Questions About Contacts
While some people enjoy making a fashion statement with a pair of chic eyeglasses, others prefer doing without them. Contact lenses are great for this. They also provide a full field of unobstructed view, which is great for sports. A lot of facts and myths have been spread about contacs; let’s look at some of them and whether they are true or not:
The answer depends on each patient. However, with today’s technology and the advancements that have been made in this field, we are able to find solutions for most patients. Whether you have been diagnosed with astigmatism or presbyopia, you can correct the condition with toric soft lenses or bifocal contact lenses respectively. In other words, you may actually be a better candidate for contacts than you assume.
Assume you were deemed a candidate and had a proper fit with no complications it typically only takes a brief period for you to adapt to the contacts and you won’t notice any difference.
The conjunctiva (which is a thin membrane) covers the white of your eye and connects to your eyelid making it practically impossible for the contact lens to get lost behind the eyeball.
While it is true that the soft contact lens may stick to the surface of the eye when it (the lens) is dried out, re-moisturizing it should make it easy for you to remove it. A sterile saline solution or multi-purpose lens solution should be used to moisturize the lens.
Yes, they can cause eye problems. There are certain eye complications that may arise due to the use of contacts. However if you follow your optometrist’s instructions regarding how to wear them, how to take care of them, how frequently they should be replaced and how long to wear them then your risk of complications is reduced.
Some years ago, the old-fashioned contacts would pop out of the eye during sports or any other rigorous activity. However, while it is still possible, recent advancement in both soft and rigid gas permeable lenses have allowed for more customizable fits, making it more difficult to dislodge.
That depends on the brand and quality of lenses, but for the most part, contact lens prices have come a long way and most are quite affordable now. You can get disposable daily contacts (once considered a luxury) for less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee.
Thanks to the bifocal contact lens, age is no longer a barrier. Our optometrists and opticians at 360 Eyecare are licensed and experienced in all modalities of contacts including multi-focal and mono-vision systems.
Not really. A multipurpose solution or hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean and disinfect most lenses on daily basis. Better yet, you can opt for daily disposable contacts, which save you a lot of headache, as they do not require any solution. These lenses are disposed on a daily basis and new ones are worn every day.
For any further questions or if you would like to book your contact lens fit and consultation today at one of our 360 Eyecare offices in Toronto please call or email us at your convenience.