Corneal Disease and Contact Lenses

If you have read some of the previous contact lens blogs, you know that one possible sign of corneal disease is a difficulty with regular contact lenses and high astigmatism. Also included among the symptoms listed in those blogs are glasses that are never quite clear and frequent changes in your vision. These symptoms are likely pointing to a specific corneal condition called keratoconus. This disease is a progressive thinning of the cornea such that it becomes deformed and distorts the light that reaches the eye.

If you have these symptoms, does that mean it is just something you have to live with? Well, yes and no. There is no “magic pill” to make keratoconus go away, but that does not mean you have to deal with blurry vision for the rest of your life. Glasses, however, are not going to be a lot of help to you from now on. This is where specialty contact lenses come in.

When the cornea is irregular in shape and light is getting distorted as it enters the eye, the best solution is to give the front of the eye a new front surface that is nice, smooth, and round. This usually means that your eye will be fit with some sort of rigid contact lens. Rigid lenses hold their shape, unlike soft lenses, and therefore can provide a much clearer image to the eye. Said another way, because it is rigid, it hide the fact that the cornea is distorted.

Have you heard that hard lenses are uncomfortable and fall out a lot? This is absolutely untrue. In general terms, lenses are not comfortable because they are hard or soft, they are comfortable because they are big or small. Historically, soft lenses have been bigger and hard lenses have been small so they have gotten a bad rep for being uncomfortable. However in the last few years, companies have started making large, hard lenses that provide excellent clear vision and are very comfortable.

I learned how to fit these types of specialty lenses for deformed and diseased corneas during my residency. I have had a lot of success with the large, hard lenses called scleral lenses. If you are having trouble finding clear, comfortable vision, please contact me about specialty lenses. For many, it is life-changing. It may be life-changing for you.

Dr. Seth




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