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:
- Dry eyes
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
Astigmatism: Usually, the eye works like a magnifying glass to focus vision into one fine point in the eye. Astigmatism is a type of visual distortion caused by the front of the eye, the cornea, not being completely spherical in shape. Because the front of the eye is not perfectly shaped like a magnifying glass, the vision cannot be focused into a fine point and instead a person sees streaks around lights and blurriness in their vision. Astigmatism is typically is present at birth and believed to be hereditary
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 thinner and allows the eye to bulge forward. The bulge forms 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 higher-than-average amounts of astigmatism or keratoconus. A GP lens will sit comfortably in front of the cornea and the space between will be filled with artificial tears. Gas permeable lens designs will use this unique “tear lens” to correct for any irregular astigmatism or corneal shape caused by eye disease. With a remarkable ability to correct for irregular corneas, a person wearing a GP lens may potentially regain vision that has been lost for years or even decades!
Toric lenses are useful for correcting astigmatism. Since the lens needs to align with both the power and the direction of the astigmatism correction, the lenses must be made to not rotate on the eye. Toric lenses are much more specific than regular “spherical” lenses and for that reason may require more of the doctor’s time to fit properly and may cost more.
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.
Medicated eye drops can be an effective solution for dealing with dry eyes. They will lubricate eyes enough to make contact lenses more bearable, although a punctual occlusion also must be done to plug the ducts in some extreme cases. GPC symptoms can also be lessened through medicated eye drops. They flush out protein deposits and reduce inflammation.