For those patients that have had a difficult time finding lenses that provide good enough vision for their lifestyle, there are RGP or “hard” contacts. These lenses do provide better vision in most cases, but are usually a bit more diffcult to adjust to comfort wise. There are many patients in these lenses that are completely happy and unwilling to switch to soft contact lenses.
Silicone Hydrogel Lenses
Another category of lenses that are fairly new to the market are the silicone hydrogel lenses. These lenses can provide many times more oxygen to the eyes compared to other category of lenses. These lenses are actually providing some patients with a second chance to remain in soft contact lenses. If there is a significant risk of failing ocular health due to lack of oxygen to the cornea, then these lenses may provide the needed oxygen and therefore may extend a patient’s ability to remain in soft lenses.
Corneal Refractive Thearapy (CRT)
Corneal Reshaping with CRT Contact Lenses can be an ideal vision correction method for active children, especially those involved in sports, or children who are genetically prone to having their nearsightedness progress year after year. The principle is similar to the use of a dental retainer used by an orthodontist to realign crooked teeth. The vision retainers are similar to contact lenses and are only worn at night while sleeping. They are then removed upon awakening to provide clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses! The retainers are comfortable and very easy to care for. CRT does not work on everyone and needs to be performed in a very exact and meticulous manner.
Toric Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Toric contact lenses are designed to correct astigmatism and custom made to fit the eye of the patient. Rather than having a perfectly spherical surface like standard contact lenses, toric lenses have a more oblong shape made to accommodate the shape of the astigmatic eye. Toric lenses can be made of either soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) lens material, however the soft toric lenses are more common.
Toric contact lenses are also designed in such a way that the lenses stay in place on the eye to maintain proper vision. Sometimes as the eye moves or blinks the lens can rotate considerably on the eye. If this rotation continues with a soft toric lens, a rigid gas permeable lens might be more effective. Rigid gas permeable lenses have a longer initial adjustment time, but once this has passed they are usually just as comfortable as soft contact lenses and they are often easier to care for.
If you want to wear contact lenses but have had trouble wearing them in the past — or you’ve been told you are not a good candidate for contacts — scleral contact lenses may be the solution you are looking for. Because of their size, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye than conventional GP lenses — so they are less likely to accidentally dislodge from the eye. This stability also can make them more comfortable than conventional GP lenses; scleral lenses provide initial comfort similar to soft lenses, especially for sensitive eyes or irregularly shaped corneas.
Bifocal & Multifocal Contact Lenses
Just as the name indicates, bifocal lenses are divided into two distinct segments for different vision powers, the first for distance vision and the second for near vision. This enables you to clearly switch your focus from near to far as needed, but your vision will not necessarily be clear in between. The term multifocal lenses can refer to any lenses with multiple powers including bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses. Non-bifocal multifocal lenses have a range of powers that enable you to constantly adjust your focus to see clearly from up close to far and in between.
Hybrid contact lenses combine the visual clarity and therapeutic aspects of Gas Perm lenses with the comfort of Soft Lenses.
If the options above do not provide the vision or comfort levels needed to be a successful contact lens wearer, then we also have a hybrid lens called Synergeyes. This lens provides the good vision of a hard lens with comfort more similiar to that of a soft lens. It is design with a hard center to provide good vision, but has a soft skirt around it giving it more of a soft feel. This lens comes in a few designs, including Multifocals, Astigmatism, Keratoconus and Post Surgical lenses. To learn more you can visit their website at www.synergeyes.com.
Some of the most popular soft contact lens brands available today are:
- CooperVision (Biofinity, Frequency)
- CibaVision/Alcon (Air Optix, Air Optix Night and Day)
- Vistakon/Johnson & Johnson (Acuvue)
- Bausch + Lomb (Pure Vision, SofLens, Optima)