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 doctor and obtain specialized contacts for their specific vision problems. These specialized contact lenses can be challenging to fit, and in many cases require multiple visits to get the comfort, vision and wear ability we are trying to achieve.
As technology improves, so do the numbers of specialty contact lenses available. Even if we find that current technology isn't satisfying the comfort or visual needs required, new additions to the contact lenses market become available every year, and newer solutions may achieve the results we are looking for.
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:
- Dry eyes
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
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 spherical contacts cannot account for the different corneal curvatures. Toric contact lenses and gas permeable contact lenses are two of the solutions we can use to help correct for astigmatism.
When and eye becomes 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. All soft contact lenses evaporate some of the moisture that exists in the matrix of the lens. The only source the contact lens has to reabsorb the moisture is our eye's tear film. If the eyes suffer from dry eye syndrome/disease, the lower volume and/or lower quality of tears present creates issues when the contact lens absorbs those tears. In some cases, the eyes are only dry when wearing contact lenses, in other cases the contact lenses make already dry eyes worse.
Sometimes changing the contact lens material or solutions used can help resolve dry eye symptoms. In other cases, dry eye therapy can improve symptoms. In severe cases, contact lens wear may need to be discontinued.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivits (GPC)
This form of conjunctivitis is caused by inflammation on the inner surface of the eyelid. Protein buildup on contact lenses and certain contact lens materials can make this condition worse. The upper and lower lid conjunctival tissue continually rub against the surface of the contact lens during all wearing hours. GPC is a developed allergic reaction of the conjunctiva to the protein or contact lens material. Changing the contact lens cleaning and disinfection method, contact lens replacement cycle, and/or changing the contact lens material may help alleviate GPC. In other cases, medication may be prescribed to help control the allergic reaction.
Keratoconus happens when the cornea becomes thinner and allows the corneal surface to bulge forward. The bulge forms into a cone shape. In early cases, clear vision may be attained with glasses and soft contact lenses. As the condition progresses, gas permeable contact lenses become necessary to obtain clear vision. Keratoconus is a progressive condition that can lead to loss of vision if it is not detected and controlled early. Corneal Collagen Crosslinking (CXL) is a procedure that can help strengthen the cornea and slow or reverse the progression of keratoconus.
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. Vision correction for presbyopia is relatively straight forward with spectacle lenses. Progressive lenses or bifocal lenses have different zones you look through for vision in various distances; distance vision, intermediate vision and reading vision. Contact lenses are a little more complicated than that. Partly because the contact lens sits on the eye, and you aren't able to look into different portions of the contact lens. When your eye moves so do your contact lenses. There are three different options to correct for presbyopia with contact lenses. Distance contact lenses with glasses over the contacts for intermediate and reading vision, multifocal contact lenses, and monovision. Each of these options have pros and cons, and part of the contact lens evaluation process is determining which option is best for each individual person, because you are unique and you use your eyes differently than every other person, we work to create a contact lens prescription unique to you to help you see distance, computer and read to the best of your ability.
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.