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 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: Astigmatism is present when the front of the eye (cornea) is not perfectly shaped (with the same curvature in all directions), but instead has a variable curvature (different curvature horizontally than vertically). This creates a special type of blurred vision which standard soft contact lenses don't correct well.
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 where the cornea becomes thinner and loses its normal shape. It can develop a more "cone-like" shape and requires special contact lenses to fit on the eye properly and give good vision.
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.
High Refractive Error: Most soft contact lenses are made in a limited range of parameters, and may not be available in the strength needed for those with high amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
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.
Toric soft lenses have a correction for astigmatism built into the optics of the lens, and will typically provide sharper vision and better physical fit when significant astigmatism is present.
Some soft contacts are made from materials which retain moisture more than typical lenses, and can be helpful with dry eyes.
Keratoconus will usually require a specially designed lens to match the unusual shape of the cornea. These lenses are typically made of rigid gas permeable materials, and can be smaller, to fit on the cornea itself, or larger (scleral lenses) so that they completely vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera (white of the eye).
Bifocal and multifocal contacts can help with presbyopia. Some presbyopes go with monovision, which means that one eye is corrected for near and one for far vision.
For those with high refractive error, special order lenses are available in soft or rigid designs to match any prescription.