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Contact lenses can be divided into two categories: "soft" and "rigid." Rigid lenses are also known as gas-permeable or "GP" contact lenses. Both materials have advantages and disadvantages. The one that is best for you depends on your vision requirements, eye health status, and lifestyle. Routine patients, who don't have unusual glasses prescriptions or any complex vision requirements, can usually be fitted with off-the-rack soft contact lenses. Even patients with low or moderate astigmatism can wear these types of lenses. They offer excellent vision and comfort, along with a wide range of flexibility regarding replacement schedules. Some patients may prefer gas-permeable (GP) contact lenses if they require the sharpest vision, or if they have an eye condition that necessitates medical contact lenses. The material that is best for you depends on your specific situation.
Scleral contact lenses are larger than traditional corneal contact lenses, because they are fitted to the white part of the eye, instead of the cornea. In the past, scleral contact lenses were usually reserved for the most severely damaged or diseased corneas. Because of advancements in both material techology and design, normal patients are now being fitted in small scleral lenses because they offer some unique advantages over soft contacts and traditional gas-permeable (GP) lenses. First, because they are about the same size as soft contact lenses, they are large enought to extend beyond the eyelids, which allows for increadible lens comfort, even from the moment you first try them on. Second, because they are fitted to the white part of the eye, instead of the cornea, even the most complex prescriptions can be successfuly fitted into scleral lenses.
If you have been diagnosed with a corneal dystrophy, such as keratoconus, or if you have undergone a corneal transplant, obtaining a good contact lens fitting can be a challenge. Because of their unique lens design, which rests on the white part of the eye, instead of the cornea, scleral lenses can provide restoration of vision to patients with the most severe forms of corneal dystrophy, post lasik ectasia, and corneal transplant irregularity. Scleral lenses can also provide great relief for patients suffering from the most severe forms of dry eye syndrome, which can be debilitating.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Routine Contact Lenses
Surgical procedures, such as lasik, were the primary options for those who wished to be free from their glasses and contacts. Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) is a non-surgical, reversible procedure that gently reshapes the cornea while you sleep, providing crisp, clear vision during the day, without wearing any correction.
This process is similar to wearing braces on your teeth, only the "braces" are actually contact lenses you wear at night. Many patients are able to wear the lenses once every few days, and their vision stays clear during the day, without correction. One of the great benefits of CRT is that it is totally reversible, and does not involve weakening the corneal tissue, as does lasik.
Orthokeratology (Corneal Reshaping)
Multifocal and Bifocal Contact Lenses
Interested in ditching your reading glasses? If your glasses prescription requires a reading add, it does not mean that contact lenses are not an option. The technology involved in the design and manufacture of bifocal and multifocal contact lenses has improved dramatically, over the past 10 years. The options that are available today are too numerous to list, but most people can be fitted into contact lenses that will provide functional vision at all distances. This can be done in a number of different ways, including monovision, which is when we fit one for distance, and one eye to see up close, and mutlifocal contacts, which allow you to see clearly at all distances. Both lens types require an adaptation period, during which your brain has time to "learn" how to use the lenses.