A contact lens exam is a separate examination from the comprehensive or routine eye examination. For this type of exam, special measurements and images of the front of the eye are taken in order to determine the best curvature of lens to fit an individual’s eye. Once these images are taken and a spectacle prescription is obtained, the doctor will use this information to determine the best contact lens for your eyes. Once the initial contact lenses are fit, follow up visits are needed, in most cases, in order to ensure the best visual results and safest, most comfortable fit of the contact lenses in the wearer’s environment before the contact lens prescription can be finalized.
Soft lenses are very comfortable to wear and are replaced on either a daily, biweekly, or monthly basis depending on the type of contact lens you and your doctor decides is the most appropriate. Not only does the doctor have to consider the prescription of the eye, but she will also base her decision about the best contact lens type depending on the overall health and curvature of the front of the eye. Soft lenses can correct most prescriptions including astigmatism and even work for those who need both distance and near correction within their lenses such as those wearing bifocal or progressive spectacles. Soft lenses are often recommended for those who play sports as they fit closer to the eye and are difficult to dislodge. Today, with the introduction of newer technology and materials, such as silicone hydrogel, patients can wear their lenses longer while still maintaining good comfort and eye health. Soft contact lenses are also available in colored options for patients with certain parameters, however, they are not yet available for those requiring astigmatism correction and/or multifocal powers.
Made of moderately flexible plastics, GP lenses offer sharp optics and can correct most vision problems. They are more durable than soft contact lenses and can be easier to handle and care for, but require a longer adaptation period and consistent wear to maintain this adaptation. Some of our patients with higher astigmatism powers outside of the parameters that soft contact lenses offer as well as patients who need distance and near correction, such as those wearing bifocal or progressive spectacles, can benefit from GP lenses.
In both soft and GP designs, multifocal lenses offer patients both distance and near vision correction just like a pair of bifocal or progressive spectacles. Multifocal contact lenses are also available for those with astigmatism correction which can allow for reading without the use of readers over the contact lenses as many patients with astigmatism correction contact lenses previously had to utilize.
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Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error of the eye which often comes with an increased risk of ocular pathologies such as earlier cataracts, glaucoma, myopic macular degeneration, retinal detachment, etc. These pathologies can often be sight threatening; therefore, prevention of progression is key. Myopia has been found to often progress very quickly in children, therefore, certain contact lens treatments can be implemented to slow down or potentially even halt this progression. Options range depending on the child’s prescription, but range from orthokeratology/corneal refractive therapy (CRT), or a GP lens that is custom designed to be worn at night while sleeping, to the use of a soft or GP multifocal contact lens that is worn during the day.