Contact lenses are not an easy solution for every person suffering with vision problems. Some eye conditions make wearing contacts a difficult proposition. However, it does not rule out wearing contact lenses altogether. It just means patients need to discuss options with their eye care provider and obtain specialized hard to fit contacts for their specific vision problems.
Reasons for Hard to Fit Contacts
Finding contact lenses that fit and wearing contact lenses in general can be made more challenging when these conditions affect your eyes: astigmatism, dry eyes, giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC), keratoconus, presbyopia
Astigmatism: Astigmatism develops when the front of the eye curves into a bulge or oval shape. It causes blurred vision and can be difficult to correct because regular contacts cannot account for the bulging.
Dry Eyes: When eyes become excessively dry, it leads to irritation, burning, redness and blurred vision. Contact lenses can exacerbate these conditions by making it feel like a foreign object is stuck in your eye.
GPC: This form of conjunctivitis is caused by inflammation on the inner surface of the eyelid. Protein buildup on contact lenses can make this condition worse.
Keratoconus: This is an uncommon condition that causes major discomfort when wearing contacts. Keratoconus happens when the cornea becomes progressively thinner and allows the eye to bulge forward into a cone shape.
Presbyopia: Eyes tend to have a tougher time focusing on close objects as they age. This condition is known as presbyopia. It typically affects people aged 40 or older.
Solutions for Hard to Fit Contacts
Wearing contacts is not impossible if you suffer from one of the above conditions. You do need to meet with an eye care professional, however, and get prescribed contact lenses that are tailored to deal with your specific vision condition.
Gas permeable lenses are a good solution for patients who suffer from GPC or Keratoconus. A GP lens will limit protein deposits from accumulating which will reduce GPC symptoms. It is also effective in containing corneal bulging and relieving pressure on the tissue for a Keratoconus sufferer.
Use of medicated eye drops can be an effective solution for dealing with dry eyes. GPC symptoms can also be lessened through medicated eye drops. They flush out protein deposits and reduce inflammation.
Toric lenses are useful for correcting astigmatism. Since the lens needs to align with the bulge it is correcting, toric lenses must not rotate in order to fit on the eye. They are typically custom made to correct a specific astigmatism. For that reason, this type of lens takes longer to make and costs more than a traditional spherical contact lens.
Bifocal and multifocal lenses can help remedy presbyopia. Monovision lenses are another option for presbyopia. This type of lenses can have one fitted for distance vision and the other for seeing close objects.
Who could potentially benefit from scleral lenses?
Patients with irregular corneas, patients with conditions that affect the tear film (such as dry eye), and patients with refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) who are unable to wear other forms of correction could benefit from scleral lenses.
Conditions such as keratoconus and pellucid marginal corneal degeneration cause irregularity in the surface of the eye. Surgery (keratoplasty, refractive surgery) can also lead to corneal irregularity. If the cornea is not smooth, vision will not be easily correctable with spectacles or most soft contact lenses. Scleral lenses mask this irregularity and allow for clearer vision by providing a smooth front surface through which light can enter the eye.