Contacts for Keratoconus: What Are My Options?
If you are struggling with keratoconus, then you are likely in need of an alternative to standard soft contact lenses. While soft lenses can provide a great deal of both comfort and visual acuity for people with a wide range of vision impairments, they are not ideal for keratoconus, a condition characterized by the thinning and deformation of the corneas in both eyes. As the corneas thin, they start to bulge or protrude outward in a cone-like shape. This conical shape affects how the cornea refracts light, which can result in blurred or distorted vision. Because regular soft contacts sit on the corneal surface itself, corneal irregularities make it difficult—and often impossible—to achieve optimal fit and adequate vision correction for keratoconus patients. Fortunately, if you have keratoconus, other options can deliver a far better visual correction for your condition.
Patient Struggled with Keratoconus Video
Option 1: RGP Lenses
In some cases, keratoconus patients can achieve effective results by wearing rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses. RGP lenses are hard contact plastic contact lenses that are better at retaining their shape and position in the eye than soft contact lenses. In virtually any patient, the result of this will be sharper vision correction than soft contact lenses can provide. Many people still prefer soft contact lenses, due mostly to the fact that they are more comfortable initially. However, for keratoconus or other conditions characterized by irregularly shaped corneas, soft lenses will mold to the same irregular shape as the cornea, rendering them unsuitable for treatment. RGP lenses can provide more stability in shape—though; they may still shift a bit when the patient blinks, especially in more severe cases of keratoconus.
Option 2: Scleral Lenses
While RGP lenses are a workable solution for some individuals who suffer from keratoconus, they are rarely our first recommendation at Weston Contact Lens Institute. When it comes to eyes that are difficult to fit with contact lenses—keratoconus included—our first strategy is almost always to try scleral lenses. Instead of sitting on the cornea itself, scleral lenses have a wider diameter and sit on the sclera, or the white of the eye. The design of the lenses then allows them to vault over the cornea, leaving a chamber of tears between the surface of the eye and the lens itself. The result is a much more comfortable fit for someone with keratoconus, not only because the lens isn’t touching or irritating the cornea but also because the reservoir of fluid helps hydrate the eye and keep it well-lubricated and healthy.
The other factor that sets scleral lenses apart for keratoconus treatment is that they can provide visual correction even in a very irregularly shaped cornea. Most contact lenses need to mimic the shape of the ocular surface exactly (or at least closely) to deliver an effective visual correction. Because scleral lenses vault over the entire cornea, they effectively render any irregularities in corneal shape irrelevant. These lenses can deliver sharper vision even for patients with relatively severe keratoconus.
Testimonial from Kyle:
Dr. Kramer made the entire process of getting scleral contact lenses fast and stress free. Her and her staff were nothing short of amazing. If you have keratoconus, SEE HER. You will not regret it one bit.
Schedule a Consultation
Because keratoconus is a progressive eye condition, no two patients are quite the same in the shape of their corneas. The best way to find your ideal treatment option for keratoconus is to consult with an eye care practitioner—preferably one with a lot of expertise and experience in the realm of specialty contact lenses. At Weston Contact Lens Institute, we have the background in specialty lenses and can help you make the right decision for your vision correction. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.