Have you been told that you can no longer wear soft contact lenses? For several different reasons, your eye doctor may recommend specialty contact lenses. Some common examples include keratoconus, corneal transplant, post-RK/LASIK/PRK, dry eye, or a high prescription. With each of these specialty lenses, people who are nearsighted, farsighted, and those with astigmatism can be corrected. Some of the specialty lenses also help those with presbyopia or difficulty seeing up close.
There are several types of specialty lenses including:
Corneal Gas-Permeable lenses (GP lenses)
The first of the specialty contact lenses to become available. Over time, the technology of these lenses has evolved allowing better comfort and fit. They are also known as GP lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, RGP lenses, and oxygen permeable lenses. The corneal GP lenses are smaller than soft contact lenses and sit directly on the eye. With each blink, the lens gives the wearers sharp and clear vision. This type of lens is also used in orthokeratology. With orthokeratology, the patient wears the lenses at nighttime while sleeping and does not need correction during the day.
Hybrid lenses combine a soft lens and a corneal GP lens. The corneal GP lens makes up the center of the hybrid lens allowing the patient to have excellent vision and it has a soft lens “skirt” or edge.
Scleral lenses are newer technology that allows wearers the same vision corneal GP and hybrid lenses provide, however sit on the eye differently. The scleral lens vaults over the cornea surface and sits on the white part of the eye, the sclera.
Specialty Prosthetic and Tinted Contact Lenses
Prosthetic and tinted contact lenses are soft lenses that can be custom made for that patient. Common reasons that these lenses are used are those with migraines, light sensitivity, or scarred or disfigured eyes.
If you are interested in trying a specialty contact lens, ask your optometrist about your options.