You may have “hard to fit” eyes if you have had problems wearing contact lenses or been advised you are not a good candidate for contacts. But do not panic; this does not rule out the possibility of wearing contact lenses. Be aware of your options and how to select an eye care practitioner (ECP) that specializes in contact lens fitting.
Are Your Eyes Considered Hard-to-fit?
Any of the following situations can make fitting contact lenses and using them comfortably more difficult:
- Dry eyes
- Refractive surgery after cataract surgery (such as LASIK)
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis
If you have any of these diseases and want to wear contacts, make an appointment with a contact lens specialist who welcomes hard-to-fit patients. A contact lens expert is more likely than a normal eye doctor to be up to date on the newest contact lens technology and solutions. Many also employ modern equipment to more precisely measure your cornea to obtain the most excellent possible contact lens fit.
Keratoconus Contact Lenses
If you have keratoconus and cannot see as well as you would like with glasses, you will probably see better with contact lenses explicitly developed for uneven corneas. Keratoconus contacts improve vision by replacing the irregular shape of the cornea with a smooth, uniform surface that allows light to focus more sharply on the retina.
Keratoconus-related visual issues can now be corrected using a variety of contact lenses such as rigid gas permeable contact lenses, piggybacking contact lenses, scleral contact lenses, hybrid contact lenses, and soft contact lenses.
Astigmatism Contact Lenses
Toric contact lenses are lenses that have been made specifically to correct astigmatism. Both soft and stiff gas permeable lens materials are available in toric designs. However, soft toric lenses are far more prevalent than GP lenses for astigmatism; this is because they are usually very comfy right away and do not require any “breaking-in” time.
Hybrid contact lenses are also a valuable option for astigmatism correction, particularly for those who want the clarity of GP lenses but prefer a soft lens feel.
Dry Eyes Contact Lenses
Dry eyes are a relatively common problem, and it can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable or difficult for some people. Soft contacts created exclusively for those with dry eyes are now available to avoid or lessen contact lens pain caused by dry eyes. For enhanced wearing comfort, these lenses retain moisture better than contacts made of other lens materials.
Many contact lens specialists prefer to fit persons with dry eyes with gas-permeable contact lenses. Because GP lenses are smaller and do not absorb moisture from your eyes like soft lenses, they may cause less discomfort from dryness.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis Contact Lenses
GPC is an inflammatory reaction triggered by proteins generated in your tears. Lid glands release substances that create filmy covering on contact lenses, making them unpleasant and causing vision issues as a result of the inflammatory reaction.
Practitioners can fit a person with GPC in a variety of ways. Soft daily disposable contact lenses can work in some cases. Protein deposits on disposable lenses do not have much time to accumulate because they are discarded after only one day of use.
Gas permeable lenses are also an excellent choice. Because proteins do not stick to gas permeable lenses as they do on soft lenses, they stay cleaner and are less prone to trigger an allergic reaction. A doctor may also prescribe antihistamine eye drops to help with the allergic reaction that produces GPC.
Contact Lenses After LASIK
Even considering contact lenses after corrective eye surgery may sound strange. After all, are not LASIK, and other surgeries meant to make wearing glasses or contacts obsolete?
Yes, theoretically. However, LASIK does not always result in perfect vision, and in some instances, a second surgery to improve vision is not possible. Contact lenses may be necessary for these situations.
If you have very high astigmatism before LASIK, for example, you may need toric lenses to correct a lesser degree of astigmatism that may persist following surgery. Soft lenses, as well as specially developed gas permeable and hybrid contact lenses, can be used for this.
If you had LASIK with monovision — one eye corrected for distance and the other for near — you may wish to use a contact lens on the “near eye” on occasion so that both eyes can see clearly in the distance for sports, night driving, and other activities that need the best vision possible.
Contact lenses can also help with LASIK issues like blurry vision caused by higher-order aberrations after surgery. For this situation, gas permeable or hybrid contact lenses are usually the best option.
Another issue that can arise after LASIK is excessive glare. GP contact lenses and hybrid contacts are usually the best options here as well. After surgery, these lenses frequently provide clearer night vision than soft contact lenses.
Remember that fitting contact lenses following refractive surgery may necessitate more trial lenses and a longer amount of time than appropriate contact lenses on an unaffected eye.
Presbyopia Contact Lenses
Bifocal and monovision contact lenses are solutions for patients who have trouble fitting contact lenses due to presbyopia.
Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses, like bifocal and progressive eyeglass lenses, have a more sophisticated design than ordinary lenses, and perfect fitting is required for optimum outcomes. As a result, choosing the ideal contact lenses to correct presbyopia takes longer and costs more than a conventional contact lens fitting.
Cost of Contact Lenses for Hard-to-fit Eyes
Expect to pay more when you see an eye doctor specializing in contact lenses for hard-to-fit eyes. You are paying for the extra time and expertise required to fit these lenses, as well as the sophisticated type of lenses you will receive.
Fitting fees of several hundred dollars are not uncommon, and they sometimes do not include the cost of your lenses. Health insurance or vision insurance may cover part of the associated expenditures in some circumstances, such as fitting contact lenses for keratoconus. For further information, consult your eye doctor or insurance agent.