Soft disposable contact lenses may be one of the most popular options available for visual correction, but many options beyond theses lenses exist. Traditional contact lens options, such as rigid gas permeable lenses, and newer lens technologies, like scleral lenses or hybrid lenses, have provided many people with improved vision and comfort. These specialty contact lenses may be a superior option for a wide variety of reasons, whether it’s for improved comfort, correcting for high amounts of astigmatism, or addressing dry eye symptoms. At Premier Eye Associates, we can fit you in the specialty contact lens that works best for you and your eyes. Continue reading to learn more about some of the specialty contact lenses we fit, and the benefits they can provide.
Gas permeable contact lenses, also known as GP lenses, are rigid lenses made from a biocompatible plastic that easily transmits oxygen to the front surface of the eye. These lenses are smaller in diameter than the typical soft contact lens and rest on the tear film in the center of the cornea. The designs and materials used in current rigid GP lenses are far superior than traditional hard contact lenses; GP lenses today are a comfortable, healthy option that provide exceptional optics and clear vision. Gas permeable contact lenses are a great option for those with high amounts of astigmatism who may struggle to achieve consistently clear vision with soft contact lenses. GP lenses can also be used in the treatment of a corneal condition known as keratoconus, where high amounts of irregular astigmatism are formed. Gas permeable lenses can be made with several options of multifocal designs, making them a popular option among presbyopes who may require additional help while reading. If properly cleaned and cared for, a single pair of gas permeable lenses can last a long time, even up to a year, making them a convenient and cost effective option for correcting vision.
Hybrid lenses are contact lenses with a rigid center, surrounded by a soft skirt. The rigid center of the lens is similar to a gas permeable contact lens, and can provide the benefits of GP lenses such as clear optics. The surrounding soft skirt is made of the same material as soft contact lenses, and can help improve comfort and stability. For those who find adapting to traditional GP lenses too difficult, hybrid lenses may be the perfect alternative.
Scleral lenses incorporate some of the newest available technology in contact lenses. These large diameter rigid lenses are filled with a nourishing liquid and then placed over the front surface of the eye, resting gently on the white part of the eye (called the sclera). They do not come in contact with the cornea; instead, the liquid inside the lens keeps the cornea comfortable and hydrated throughout the day. Scleral lenses are commonly used in many of the same instances as GP lenses, especially for those with high amounts of astigmatism. They are also useful options for people who suffer from severe dry eye disease or other conditions affecting the health of the front surface of their eye. Scleral lenses can require a brief adaptation period, but many people find the comfort and vision of these lenses to be far superior than soft contacts.