If you have keratoconus, you can skip the next paragraph and move right down to the lens styles available that can improve your life. Because if you have any form of keratoconus you already know how it affects your vision and life. You know that eyeglasses do not work; you know that your corneas are constantly dry and sensitive, and you know that without contact lenses, you would not be able to see.
For those of you that do not have or know what it is; Keratoconus is a degenerative disease of the cornea that leaves the front of the eye cone-like in shape. As far as vision is concerned, eyeglasses do not work. Contact lenses are the best and, in many cases, the only option for functional eyesight.
The challenge usually lies within balancing comfort, vision, and ocular health. Fitting a keratoconic cornea with contact lenses requires skill, experience, and patience. Recently the first ever global keratoconus symposium was held. Contact lens specialists from around the world gathered to discuss techniques, lenses, and study findings in regards to fitting keratoconus patients with lenses. Everybody left this meeting with a ton of new insight and ideas, yet the bottom line remains; There are no rules when it comes to fitting irregular corneas. It takes a qualified specialist and good toolbox of contact lens designs.
Five of the latest contact lens designs that may improve the health, vision, and comfort of any keratoconus patient:
•Synergeyes KC – This lens is the latest breakthrough in hybrid technology. The center of the lens is a high oxygen permeable rigid material, while the outer skirt is a soft lens. The KC design merges the optics of a gas permeable lens with the comfort of a soft contact.
•Rose K2 IC – Rose K has long been the most widely used keratoconus GP design. This new version is available in larger diameters for improved comfort. The IC refers to irregular cornea.
•Wave Custom Contacts – Wave contact lenses are individually designed lenses based on topography readings. It takes a real computer geek/contact lens specialist to fit these, however the results can be phenomenal.
•Semi Scleral Lenses – Large diameter gas permeable contact lenses that rest out on the white of the eye. What is surprising to many is that these lenses are incredibly comfortable. The reason soft lenses are comfortable is not because they are soft, it is because they are larger and move less. They are simply easier to fit because of the loose modulus. A large diameter GP lens can be an incredibly comfortable route to go.
•Piggy Back Contact Lens System – Wearing two lenses on one eye is more pleasant than it may sound. With the available materials we have today in both soft and GP lenses, piggy back systems are incredibly healthy and comfortable. The soft lens actually protects the sensative cornea.
Keratoconus patients, if you are looking for an update, it is a great time to revisit your contact lens specialist. Keep in mind all the designs listed below will not work on every type of cone, but as you can see a qualified fitter will have enough lenses in their toolbox to handle just about any lens fitting.
And for those of you that do not have keratoconus, just imagine the lens designs we have for you.
Steve Cogger is a contact lens specialist in private practice in New York. He specializes in the contact lens care of patients with keratoconus and other hard to fit cases. Visit his practice at obrigcontactlenses for more information.