Contacts

We have contacts available to target specific eye problems like dry eyes, astigmatism, difficulty reading, and eye diseases like keratoconus. We are focused on taking the time to give you the best comfort and vision, not just adequate comfort and vision. Contact lenses are constantly being improved for more comfort and better vision.

Types of Contact Lenses

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are made of soft, flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Soft contact lenses may be easier to adjust to and are more comfortable than rigid gas permeable lenses. Newer soft lens materials include silicone-hydrogels to provide more oxygen to your eye while you wear your lenses.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGPs) are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup. They tend to be less expensive over the life of the lens since they last longer than soft contact lenses. They are easier to handle and less likely to tear. However, they are not as comfortable initially as soft contacts and it may take a few days to get used to wearing RGPs, compared to just several hours for soft contacts.  The biggest advantage to RGP lenses is they offer sharper vision and better correction especially for astigmatism and multifocal lens wearers.

Disposable (Replacement Schedule) Contact Lenses

“Disposable,” as defined by the FDA, means used once and discarded. With a true daily wear disposable schedule, a brand new pair of lenses is used each day.  Disposable contact lenses are soft lenses designed to be discarded on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. By replacing lenses on a regular basis, long-term protein deposits (which can affect vision, comfort, and the health of the eyes) do not build up. They are convenient and require less maintenance than traditional soft lenses. It is important that disposable contacts be replaced at their designated time to avoid eye infection. Disposable lenses are available in most prescriptions.

Extended Wear Contact Lenses

Extended wear contact lenses are available for overnight or continuous wear ranging from one to six nights or up to 30 days. Extended wear contact lenses are usually soft contact lenses. They are made of flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. There are also a very few rigid gas permeable lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear. Length of continuous wear depends on lens type and your eye care professional’s evaluation of your tolerance for overnight wear. It is important for the eyes to have a rest without lenses for at least one night following each scheduled removal.

Tinted/Colored Contacts or Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Tinted contact lenses are soft lenses that enable most patients to change the color of their iris (the colored portion of their eye). These lenses are available in many exciting colors and can provide a subtle or dramatic change in the appearance of your eyes.  They are not available for all prescriptions.

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses are designed to correct for astigmatism. They are available in both soft and gas permeable designs. These lenses have one power vertically and another horizontally and are weighted at the bottom, allowing the lenses to center correctly on the eye. Toric lenses are more difficult to fit and generally require more time from the patient and doctor for fitting and adaptation.

Bifocal Contact Lenses

Bifocal contact lenses, similar to bifocal glasses have more than one power to allow an individual to have clear vision, near and far. They are available in both soft lens and gas permeable lens designs. Another alternative to bifocal contacts is monovision correction. With these lenses, one eye is used for distance and the other eye for near or reading vision. Both of these lens types require more time from the doctor for fitting. They also require more time for the patient to adapt to.

The Right Age for Contacts

While some children enjoy the fashion statement of eyeglasses, others prefer their appearance without them. For young children or teens who refuse to wear their glasses, many parents are left with the plaguing question, “Is my child old enough to wear contact lenses?”

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. Physically, the eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age. In rare cases, some babies are fitted with contact lenses at birth. Similarly, in a recent study that involved fitting nearsighted children ages 8 to 11 with one-day disposable contact lenses, 90 percent had no trouble applying or removing the contacts without the assistance from their parents.* The decision of whether a child is ready to wear contact lenses is directly related to their maturity, and should be determined by the parent, child and your eye care professional.

If you’re considering contact lenses for your child, take a look at how they handle other responsibilities. If your child requires frequent reminders to do their everyday chores, they may not be ready for the responsibility of wearing and caring for contact lenses. On the contrary, children who dutifully handle their responsibilities may be great candidates for contact lenses.

On average, many eye care professionals begin to encourage contact lens wear between the ages of 10 to 14. Compared to adults, children develop fewer complications with contact lenses, have stronger immune systems and usually heal faster. In addition, children who want contacts instead of glasses are often more willing to adapt their schedules and follow the instructions to properly care for their lenses.

In addition to being great self-esteem builders, contact lenses are also great for student athletes. Contact lenses are not a complete substitute for sports that require protective eyewear. However, some contact lenses used for recreational use can provide better optics than eyeglasses. Compared with eyeglasses, contact lenses provide better peripheral vision, which may improve your child’s athletic performance.

It’s important to establish a dialogue with the parents when determining if a child is ready for contact lenses, and to remember the decision to switch from glasses to contact lenses does not need to be a permanent one. If a child does not adjust well, or is not able to handle the added responsibility of wearing and caring for their lenses, it is no problem to recommend glasses as an alternative for vision correction. Contact lenses can always be tried again when the child is older.

To determine if contact lenses are right for your child or teen, please call us to schedule an appointment! Our doctors will help you and your child make this important decision.

*”Daily disposable contact lens wear in myopic children.” Optometry and Vision Science. Vol. 81, No. 4 (April 2004); pp. 255-259.

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