Contact lenses are not an easy solution for every person suffering with vision problems. Some eye conditions make wearing contacts a difficult, but not impossible, proposition. If you suffer from one of the below conditions, we recommend you to meet with an eye care professional to discuss your options and obtain specialized hard to fit contacts for your specific vision problems.
Reasons for Hard to Fit Contacts
Finding contact lenses that fit and wearing contact lenses in general can be made more challenging when these conditions affect your eyes:
- Dry eyes
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
- Keratoconus or Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
- Post Penetrating Keratoplasty (corneal transplant)
Astigmatism: Astigmatism develops when the front of the eye curves into a bulge or oval shape. It causes blurred vision and can be difficult to correct because regular contacts cannot account for the bulging. Toric lenses are useful for correcting astigmatism in order to obtain sharper, clearer vision. Since the lens needs to align with the bulge it is correcting, toric lenses must not rotate in order to fit on the eye. They are typically custom made to correct a specific astigmatism. For that reason, this type of lens takes longer to make and costs more than a traditional contact lens. In cases of high astigmatism, a rigid gas permeable lens may provide better fit and vision.
Presbyopia: Eyes tend to have a tougher time focusing on close objects as they age. This condition is known as presbyopia. It typically affects people aged 40 or older. Bifocal and multifocal lenses can help remedy presbyopia. Monovision lenses are another option for presbyopia. This type of lenses can have one fitted for distance vision and the other for seeing close objects.
Dry Eyes: When eyes become excessively dry, it leads to irritation, burning, redness and blurred vision. Additional symptoms include excessive tearing/watering or feeling something in your eyes. Contact lenses can exacerbate these conditions. Medicated eye drops can be an effective solution for dealing with dry eyes as they will lubricate eyes enough to make contact lenses more bearable. Daily disposable contact lenses are another option for dry eye sufferers. In some extreme cases, a punctual occlusion also must be done to plug the ducts.
GPC: This form of conjunctivitis is caused by inflammation on the inner surface of the eyelid and may make contact lens wear uncomfortable. Protein buildup on contact lenses can make this condition worse. GPC symptoms can be lessened through medicated eye drops they flush out protein deposits and reduce inflammation. Daily disposable contact lenses also work great because you discard these lenses after just a single day of wear; there's not much time for protein deposits to accumulate on disposable lenses. Another option are gas permeable (GP) lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses because protein doesn't adhere to these lenses as easily, which will reduce GPC symptoms.
Keratoconus/Pellucid Marginal Degeneration: These are uncommon conditions that cause major discomfort when wearing contacts. Keratoconus happens when the cornea becomes thinner and allows the eye to bulge forward. The bulge forms into a cone shape. RGPs are effective in containing corneal bulging and relieving pressure on the tissue for a keratoconus sufferer. These lenses not only typically provide better vision but also can help prevent progression of the condition. Another option for keratoconus is hybrid contact lenses. These advanced lenses have a gas permeable optical center with a soft ring around it. Hybrid contacts offer the clarity of GP lenses with the comfort of soft lenses. Another contact lens option for keratoconus is scleral GP lenses. These large gas permeable lenses vault over the irregular surface of the cornea and rest on the white sclera of the eye. The large diameter of scleral lenses provides a more stable fit than regular gas permeable lenses on highly irregular corneas with keratoconus.
Post Penetrating Keratoplasty: A corneal transplant, also known as a penetrating keratoplasty, involves the removal of the central portion (called a button) of the diseased cornea and replacing it with a matched donor button of cornea. Corneal grafts are performed on patients with damaged or scarred corneas that prevent acceptable vision. Most transplants have significant astigmatism and often some distortion requiring correction with contact lenses made of rigid materials. Rigid gas permeable or scleral lenses are viable options.