New Contact Lens Wearers
Even those patients who have never worn contact lenses can most often leave with a sample pair of contact lenses at the first appointment. As long as the patient has demonstrated to the optometrist that the new wearer can comfortably insert and remove the lenses, the doctor may provide a pair to take home. The doctor or technician will show the new wearer how to insert and remove the lenses. The patient then comes back in approximately a week to describe the comfort and vision of the lenses once they have tried them. The optometrist will then give the patient a new pair to try if the vision is not as expected or the comfort is not within an appropriate range.
If you are a current contact lens wearer and you order a supply of contact lenses, we are able to provide an in-stock contact lens until the full supply of contacts arrives at our office. Contact lens exams are most often performed on a same-day service and patients can leave with contacts as long as the office has them in stock.
Types of Lenses
A contact lens exam is separate from a routine eye exam with special tests that are performed specific to the contact lens wearer. A contact lens exam is performed to make sure your eyes are healthy to wear contacts or continue to wear lenses. If you are a previous wearer of lenses it is even more important to have your eyes examined yearly for contact lens related eye disorders since there can be detrimental side effects from wearing contact lenses. The optometrist will make sure that the contacts are still a safe fit for the patient since this can change over time as the physiology of the tear film and cornea can change. Most importantly, the optometrist makes sure the cornea is getting enough oxygen.
Make sure to let the office know that you are planning on both an eye exam and a contact lens fitting if you are in need of contact lenses, since the doctor needs to set aside additional time. A contact lens prescription is valid for one year, giving the opportunity for optometrists to make sure the eyes are healthy and the lenses are fitting properly.
Specialty Contact Lenses
Hybrid contact lenses combine a gas permeable (RGP or “hard lens”) center with a soft skirt (like most standard soft contact lenses) to provide you with the clear, crisp vision of a hard contact lens and the comfort and ease of a soft lens. The silicone hydrogel material of the soft skirt provides a high oxygen transmission for excellent corneal health and comfort. The new custom contact lens is designed to allow for continuous flow of tears underneath the lens; thus, allowing for all-day comfort.
Scleral lenses are special rigid gas-permeable contacts lenses that are used to manage rare corneal conditions/ectasias (i.e. keratoconus, keratoglobus, pellucid marginal degeneration), post-surgical transplants (i.e.penetrating keratoplasty and post-refractive surgery), as well as advanced ocular surface diseases. Unlike traditional soft contact lenses and RGPs that sit on the corneas, scleral lenses have larger diameters and vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera. This allows for optimum visual optics that would otherwise not be corrected with glasses or soft contacts alone. Each ordered scleral lense is individually customized to each patients’ eyes and thus may require many fitting to maximize comfort, fit, and vision.
Our doctors are trained to diagnose and assist patients with any contact lens fitting issues that might arise. Many patients come into our offices with an array of vision problems that previously could have been obstacles for contact lens fittings. Issues such as high prescriptions, astigmatism, multi-focal prescriptions, keratoconus, and irregular cornea have always presented a certain struggle to correct with regular prescription glasses and with soft contact lenses. Often, even with corrected vision, we often feel as if our vision “should be better,” and often with a custom hybrid contact lens, it can.
Disposable / Conventional Contact Lenses
Millions of people wear contact lenses to help them see clearly. We’ve seen many advancements in lens materials and designs over the years. If you have tried contacts in the past but stopped due to discomfort or poor quality, it may be time to try again. Harvard Square can help select the best option for your eyes! We have a variety of options for your specific type of prescription correction, tear production, lifestyle, and more. At Harvard Square Eye Care we do not cut any corners in fitting our patients for contact lenses. We know how important it is for you to be able to wear contact lenses comfortably with good vision throughout your day. We are happy to take the time with you on multiple days to make sure that we are giving you the best possible care for your particular eyes.
Spherical Contact Lens
A soft contact lens fitting takes into account your eyeglass prescription, the curvature of your cornea and tear film quality. One difference in the prescription between glasses and contacts is the distance from the glasses to the eye is about 12 millimeters versus a contact lens that sits right on the eye. The doctor needs to account for that difference in the prescription. Oftentimes your contact lens prescription will have more plus in the numbers or account for a small amount of astigmatism in your eye. The reason a contact lens prescription includes the brand is that each brand is made of a different plastic material that interacts with your tear film in a unique manner. For example, some brands are made to help with dry eye symptoms or help with symptoms of patients who are high depositors. Both problems need to be addressed by the doctor to help the contact lens wearer continue to use lenses safely. Each unique brand has a different curvature, diameter, and type of lens material that must work properly for the patient. That is why a contact lens prescription always includes a brand and prescription and it is not readily substituted without an optometrist’s contact lens exam.
Toric (Astigmatism) Contact Lens
A patient with astigmatism needs to have the same factors taken into account as the spherical contact lens patient along with additional care. Astigmatism on the eye must be corrected taking into account the lens rotation. The contact lens prescription will often not match an eyeglass prescription since each contact lens brand rotates differently on the eye.
It is important to give the opportunity for patients to try different lenses in their own environments and over time so that we can know if the lenses will continue to be comfortable and the vision remain stable. For example, work environments can offer obstacles such as computer use which always increases the incidence of dry eye.
Bifocal and Monovision Contact Lens Fit
As we age, we are often in need of both a prescription for far and up close. Bifocal lenses are specifically designed to shift on the eye to allow for vision at two different distances. Bifocal contacts can often eliminate the need for patients to put glasses on over their contact lenses to see the computer or read.
Sometimes monovision is a better fit for your daily needs than bifocal contacts. Monovision is the use of one eye more for distance and one eye more for near. Oftentimes patients will see better at both distances with this form of correction. We use this form of correction to reduce the need to take out glasses to see at all distances.
Rigid Contact Lens Fit (RGP’s)
Rigid lenses were the first type of lenses to be used widely. They are still often worn with lenses when patients were fit as children. They can offer clarity of vision that supersedes soft contacts but is not usually prescribed now because of adaptability issues that new wearers must withstand. Rigid lenses are still often prescribed for corneal problems such as Keratoconus because they help to shape the cornea and offer a smoother surface for vision quality. Hybrid lenses are the latest version of contact lenses for patients who have corneal problems they combine the vision clarity rigid lenses offer, but the advanced adaptability of soft lenses problems.