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Types of Contact Lenses at Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center-Valparaiso & Knox, IN

By Scott Buck, M.D.

At Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center our eye doctors Drs. Stephen Buck and Scott Carlson are Contact Lens Specialists who provide the fitting of all types of contact lenses for common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia as well as for the therapeutic treatment of certain eye diseases where an irregular corneal shape may blur vision such as in cases in Keratoconus or corneal scarring. Drs. Stephen Buck and Scott Carlson and staff offer the best possible lens materials and fitting techniques to allow patients to have a safe and comfortable contact lens wearing experience.

There are two major types of contact lenses: Soft Contact Lenses and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. Anyone considering contact lenses of any type requires a thorough eye examination and fitting-and a valid prescription. Within these two major categories are a number of types of lenses for solving different vision problems. These include:

Soft Daily Wear Contact Lenses, Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses, Contact Lenses for Astigmatism, Extended Wear Contact Lenses, Disposable or Planned Replacement Contact Lenses, Multifocal (Presbyopic) Contact Lenses, Specialty Contact Lenses, Decorative Non Prescription Contact Lenses. Soft Daily Wear Contact Lenses are made of soft water containing, flexible plastics, called “hydrogels”, that allow oxygen to pass to the cornea to maintain its health and clarity. Because they are soft, thin and flexible, Soft Contact Lenses are easier to adapt to and more comfortable than Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. A newer type of Soft Contact Lens is made of a “silicone hydrogel” material that allows an even greater amount of oxygen to reach the cornea than any previous soft contact lens, adding additional safety. Soft Daily Wear Contact Lenses require careful cleaning and disinfection, as they tend to attract deposits of protein from your tear film.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses

Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses (RGPs) are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup, and generally give clearer, crisper vision. They tend to be less expensive over the life of the lens since they last longer than soft contact lenses. They are easier to handle and less likely to tear. However, they are not as comfortable as soft contacts and it may take several weeks of adaptation in order to get used to wearing RGPs as compared to only a few days for soft contacts.Contact Lenses for Astigmatism-People who have astigmatism usually have an unequal curvature of their cornea so that it is shaped more like a football than a basketball. Contact Lenses that correct astigmatism are called “toric” lenses. Toric lenses are readily available in both soft contacts and rigid gas permeable contact lens prescriptions. Toric contact lenses require a greater degree of fitting expertise in order to obtain the most precise vision.

Extended Wear Contact Lenses

There are a number of Extended Wear Contact Lenses that are available and FDA approved to be worn overnight, 1 week, or even up to 30 days. Most Extended Wear Contact Lenses are Soft Contact Lenses although there are several Rigid Gas Permeable Contact lens materials that are FDA approved for extended wear. Soft Extended Wear Lenses are made of highly oxygen permeable hydrogel or “water containing” plastics that allow a great deal of oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Currently the highest degree of oxygen permeability is provided by silicone hydrogel materials. The Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear are typically made of “fluorosilicone” acrylic materials, which do not contain water, but due to the nature of the plastic, are quite permeable to oxygen. How long you are able to wear your contact lenses will depend on the lens type and the specific recommendations of Drs. Buck or Carlson and based on your contact lens examination, contact lens fitting and the evaluation of your tolerance for overnight wear. In general, it is important for your eyes to have a rest without lenses for at least one night following each scheduled removal. Thus, you must have a pair of backup eyeglasses even if you wear extended wear contact lenses or contact lenses of any type. Today, most daily wear and extended wear soft contact lenses are prescribed with a very specific “planned replacement schedule”. That is, the prescribing eye doctor will give you instructions on how frequently to replace your lenses based on your tear film, how often you may be removing the lenses and how quickly you soil the lenses, even after cleaning and disinfection. True “Disposable” Contact Lenses are worn only once and then discarded. In order to have a “daily wear disposable schedule”, a brand new pair of lenses is used each day. Patients need to be cautious if they do not have their contact lens prescriptions filled at Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center. Contact lens sellers refer to some soft contact lenses as “disposable”, but actually, they are for frequent/planned replacement. With Extended Wear lenses, the lenses may be worn continuously for the prescribed wearing period (for example, 7 days to 30 days) and then thrown away. If you are wearing your lenses on a planned replacement basis or even an extended wear basis, when you remove your lenses, ALWAYS make sure to clean and disinfect them properly before reinserting them. This is necessary in order to protect the health of your eyes and allow you to continue to wear your contacts comfortably and safely. Multifocal Contact Lenses have become increasingly popular as a greater number of patients enter their 40's and wish to continue enjoying the benefits of contact lens wear without being dependent on eyeglasses or reading glasses for close vision throughout their day. Multifocal Contact Lenses are available in a number of different designs, materials and prescriptions that are useful for successfully fitting a wide range of patients and their various far, intermediate and near vision correction needs. The key to success is a careful thorough examination and fitting along with helping each patient understand their actual vision correction needs.Specialty Contact Lenses at Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, while the majority of contact lenses prescribed fall into the categories described above, we do specialize in complex contact lens fitting for patients with various types of corneal disease such as Keratoconus, corneal scarring and irregularity secondary to disease and/or trauma or surgical complications and other complicated contact lens fitting for special purposes.

NOTE ABOUT DECORATIVE NON PRESCRIPTION CONTACT LENSES

A type of specialty lens contact lens that has become popular among people who don’t even have a need for vision correction are contacts that have the sole purpose of changing the appearance of your eyes. These are sometimes called “Plano”, “Zero-Powered” or “Non-Corrective” lenses. Wearers of these contact lenses can temporarily change brown eyes to blue and can even create different themes such as Halloween or Dracula by modifying the eye’s appearance.

EVEN THOUGH THESE DECORATIVE LENSES DO NOT CORRECT VISION, THEY ARE A MEDICAL DEVICE AND THE FDA STRICTLY REGULATES THEM

This is because, even without correction, they pose the identical risks to patients that “regular’ contact lenses pose. These include conjunctivitis or pink eye, corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers and vision impairment. Many patients are simply unaware of the need for proper fitting and prescription of these lenses and have purchased decorative contact lenses from beauty salons, record stores, video stores, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops and the Internet. Buying contact lenses without a prescription is dangerous!

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offers consultation, examination and fitting of all types of Contact Lenses including Soft Contact Lenses, Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses, Multifocal Contact Lenses, Contact Lenses for Astigmatism, Extended Wear Contact Lenses, Disposable or Planned Replacement Contact Lenses and Specialty Contact Lenses. Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center is conveniently located for patients wishing to schedule an eye exam for contact lenses in northern Indiana from La Porte, Mishawaka, South Bend, Michigan City, Crown Point, Merrillville, Chesterton, South Haven, Westville, Hebron, Lowell, Valparaiso and Walkerton as well as Chicago, Illinois suburban areas of Frankfurt, Calumet City, Monee and Crete. To schedule an appointment for Cataract examination, please call us at 219-464-8223.

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Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, P.C.
502 Marquette Street
Valparaiso, Indiana 46383
219-464-8223

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, P.C.
1001 S. Edgewood Drive, #5
Knox, Indiana 46534
574-772-2012

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Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center in Valparaiso and Knox, IN provides eye exams for adults & children,
eye surgery such as LASIK, cataract surgery & lens implants and eyelid surgery, diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma,
age related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and dry eye, as well as eye exams for cataracts, eyeglasses and contact lenses.