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Evaluation and Fitting of Contact Lenses

The Eye and Vision Center at MCPHS University is a multi-specialty optometry service providing patient-centered eye care to the central and western Massachusetts community. Our services range from comprehensive eye examinations to the treatment and management of corneal diseases with specialty contact lenses. Learn more about our contact lens services below. 

Soft Contact Lens

A soft contact lens is a flexible, soft, thin, oxygen permeable plastic material which can be produced in an ophthalmic prescription which allows for the correction of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), distance and near vision in the form of a multifocal (bifocal), and for the correction of astigmatism. Soft contact lenses have different chemical agents which in combination with each other- such as plastic, water, sometimes silicone, wetting agents, and surface coatings - provide comfort, quality of vision, durability, deposit resistance, oxygen transmission, and wettability to each lens.

Soft contact lenses are available for several types of contact lens wearing schedules, all of which are approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Soft contact lenses are available as single use daily wear disposable, 2 week daily wear disposable, and 1 month daily wear disposable lenses.

Rigid Gas Permeable Corneal Contact Lenses

As the name suggests, RGP corneal contact lenses are non flexible, rigid, thin, oxygen permeable plastic material which can be produced in an ophthalmic prescription which allows for the correction of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), distance and near vision in the form of a multifocal (bifocal), and for the correction of astigmatism. These lenses are ideally suited for the correction of astigmatism and provide crisp, unsurpassed quality of vision at both distance and near. There is a short period of adjustment to contact lens awareness on the eye. These lenses are durable and do not have to be replaced as often as soft contact lenses. RGP corneal contact lenses are often indicated in the presence of dry eye disease or other corneal disorders such as Keratoconus.

Scleral Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Scleral contact lenses are large diameter rigid gas permeable lenses which usually range in size between 14 mm and 22 mm. Scleral contact lenses completely vault over (do not make contact with) the cornea and come to rest upon the clear conjunctival tissue above the sclera (the white of your eye). Since there are no nerves in the conjunctiva, scleral contact lenses are often very comfortable to wear. The area between the inside surface of a scleral contact lens and the front surface of the cornea is filled in by a supply of unpreserved unit dose saline. This creates an optically improved tear lens and patients with ocular surface disease or ectatic corneal disease such as Keratoconus often experience significant improvement in their vision while wearing their scleral contact lenses. Scleral contact lenses can be used by patients with severe dry eye conditions as well, often resulting in relief of discomfort and a reduced need for artificial tears.

The comfort of scleral contact lenses along with the high quality of vision correction provided by these contact lenses make them a wonderful option as a cosmetic contact lens for the correction of vision.

Scleral gas permeable contact lenses require an expertise and clinical experience only found with a limited number of contact lens practitioners and you may choose to be referred to the nearest scleral contact lens specialist within reach of your community.

Astigmatism

How often have you been told by your eye doctor that you cannot be fit with contact lenses because you have too much astigmatism? While there may have been some truth to this comment in years past, today there is a contact lens for you. It may require a special soft toric contact lens design, a GP rigid corneal contact lens or perhaps a scleral rigid GP contact lens. Advances in contact lens manufacturing and design have made it possible to provide the patient with astigmatism with crisp correction of vision. Many eye care practices are not equipped with sufficient contact lens options for the patient with astigmatism and you should request referral to a contact lens specialty practice which can provide for your contact lens needs. Astigmatism is not an eye disease. It is merely an indication of a non- spherical curvature on the surface of the front of the eye (the cornea) or on the surface of the internal lens of the eye (crystalline lens).

Presbyopia

As people approach the age of 40, they begin to lose the ability to focus their eyes on reading print and close objects. This is a result of age related changes in the protein content of the crystalline lens (located just behind the pupil) along with a reduction in the efficiency of the eye muscles controlling the fibers connected to this lens. If you are interested in wearing contact lenses for the first time or if you have worn contact lenses for years and now find yourself unable to read when wearing your contact lenses, do not despair. There are a number of different types of multifocal (bifocal) contact lenses available to you in both soft and rigid lens designs. The adjustment to multifocal contact lenses takes longer than contact lenses worn for distance vision only, perhaps a month or longer of lens wear until the brain adapts to the images presented to the brain from this type of contact lens. Considerable skill is required of the vision provider fitting and evaluating multifocal contact lenses as well.

Dry Eye Disease

A significant percentage of people develop symptoms and/or signs of dry eye disease as a consequence of aging. There are several generations of contact lens wearers who now find themselves staring into the screens of computers, iphones, or tablets for hours each day. People experience a reduced blink rate when using these devices which can result in the development of eyelid disorders, tear layer disruption and corneal irritation. The surfaces of contact lenses dehydrate (dry out) creating fluctuations in vision. We also live in an era with hundreds of different kinds of prescription medications, many of which produce side effects of dry eye disease. All of these factors can significantly reduce the hours of comfortable contact lens wear each day and are noted to be responsible for between a 15 and 25% contact lens dropout rate.

Fortunately, it is an issue which is being aggressively studied/researched. The pharmaceutical as well as the contact lens industry is active in developing new contact lens materials with improved surface wettability and comfort. One should not assume that the contact lens of even 5 years ago is the same lens as today. You can ask your vision practitioner to evaluate your dry eye condition with the latest contact lens technology.


Appointments


Eye & Vision Center
MCPHS University
Worcester Campus
10 Lincoln Square
Worcester, MA

Open Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Appointments: 508.373.5830

 

10 Optical Retail Store
MCPHS University
Worcester Campus
10 Lincoln Square
Worcester, MA 01608

Open Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Phone: 508.373.5820