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Contact Lenses

Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are a great alternative to glasses for patients to achieve clear vision. It is estimated that there are about 40 million contact lens wearers in the United States, and with the increasing market for contacts there are many different designs and lens materials well suited for different refractive errors and the needs of the patient. Most commonly, soft contacts are made for daily, two week or monthly replacement. Daily contacts lenses are for a single day’s use and discarded thereafter, while extended wear lenses can be worn multiple times following a cleaning regimen and a two week or monthly replacement schedule. There are some extended wear contacts that are FDA approved for continuous or overnight wear. Most of the newer contact lenses are made of a silicone hydrogel material that allows for better oxygen permeability to the eye. Contact lenses can correct for common refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and can even address the needs of presbyopic patients. Based on your individual ocular health, visual demands and needs as a patient, your eye doctor will select the correct contact lens for you. It is important to remember that while contacts are relatively safe, they are considered a medical device and proper initial training on insertion and removal of the lenses as well as following a specific cleaning regimen are needed to ensure a patient maintains good ocular health.

Toric contact lenses
Toric contact lenses are worn by patients who have an astigmatism. It was once difficult to correct for an astigmastim with a soft contact lens but technology has drastically improved the lens designs making disposable soft toric lenses readily available. Toric lenses have two different powers in two different axes to correct the astigmatism. Many patients may have heard that toric lenses are weighted lenses and worry about the thickness of the lens itself as well as having a fluctuation in vision if the contact is not sitting properly. While these are valid concerns, the newer designs of the toric lenses and multiple brands of toric lenses address these issues.

Multifocal or monovision contact lenses
For patients who have entered presbyopia, a monovision contact fit or multifocal contact lenses can be a way to avoid wearing reading glasses. Everyone has a dominant and non-dominant eye and monovision involves fitting the dominant eye with the distance correction and fitting the non-dominant eye with the near correction. Although many people are skeptical to try this fit, about 80 percent of people adjust well to monovision. Multifocal contacts are another alternative for presbyopic patients. The common multifocal contact design has the near correction in the center, surrounded by the distance correction in a concentric ring pattern. Until a patient has a contact lens fitting, it is difficult to know if they will be successful in monovision or multifocal contacts. Although, these two methods don’t work for everyone, our highly adadptable visual system is able to compensate for the adjustment in vision quite well, and many presbyopic patients are able to enjoy an active lifestyle without having to depend on reading glasses.

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