What Type of Contact Lens Should I Wear for Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a serious eye condition characterized by the thinning of the corneal surface in both eyes. As the corneas thin, they gradually deform, typically bulging outward in a conical shape (hence the name “keratoconus”). This cone-like shape, in turn, compromises the cornea’s ability to do its job of refracting light properly onto the lens of the eye, resulting in significantly distorted or blurred vision.
The Challenges of Keratoconus for Fitting Standard Contact Lenses
Vision issues are just part of the problem with keratoconus. The other major challenge posed by this condition is how the protrusion of the corneal lens creates an irregular eye shape that is very difficult to fit for standard soft contact lenses. In many cases, patients with keratoconus simply cannot wear regular contacts, because getting a contact lens to the fit the irregularly shaped ocular surface proves impossible.
Related post: Contacts for Keratoconus: What Are My Options?
A Much-Needed Fix: Scleral Lenses
The good news is that there are other types of contact lenses that are better suited to the challenges that keratoconus creates. By far, the best option for most keratoconus patients is to use scleral lenses instead. Scleral lenses are unique in that they do not sit on the surface of the cornea. Rather, these types of lenses have a broader design that allows them to sit on the white of the eye (the sclera). The lenses themselves then vault over the entire cornea, creating a space or chamber between the surface of the eye and the lens filled with a saline solution.
The design of scleral lenses is ideal for a range of eye conditions, especially those (including keratoconus) that involved irregularities in the corneal surface. Because the lens neither touches nor rests upon the surface of cornea itself, the shape of the corneal surface ultimately does not compromise either the fit of the lens or the ability of the lens to provide adequate vision correction. The tear-filled chamber that remains between the eye and the lens, meanwhile, helps keep the eye well-lubricated and hydrated and reduces much of the irritation and discomfort that contact lens wearers sometimes experience.
What About corneal RGP Lenses?
While scleral lenses are our go-to option for treating keratoconus patients at Weston Contact Lens Institute, they are not necessarily the only possible treatment for this condition. Some patients have found success by going from standard soft contact lenses to rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses. The hard plastic design of RGP lenses allows them to retain their shape better than soft lenses, which can make them more adequate for providing vision correction in cases where the corneas are irregularly shaped. These lenses are not necessarily ideal: they are less comfortable than scleral lenses and can shift position more on the eye, resulting in unstable or fluctuating vision. Still, compared to soft contact lenses, RGP lenses will deliver markedly sharper vision correction for keratoconus cases.
Related post: What is it like Living with Keratoconus?
Learn More by Scheduling an Appointment at Our Clinic Today
Keratoconus and other conditions that result in irregularities in the corneal surface should not mean a life sentence of uncomfortable, ineffectual contact lenses or cumbersome eyeglasses. Standard-type contact lenses are not the only options available to you, and at Weston Contact Lens Institute, we specialize in alternative, specialized contact lenses that are ideal for people with unique eye conditions. The bottom line is that you can achieve optimal vision correction with keratoconus provided you have the correct contact lenses for you. Schedule an appointment at our office today for professional guidance on whether scleral lenses or RGP lenses are the best solution for your keratoconus.