During the very early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses can correct myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism that develop and provide good vision. As the disease progresses, the best vision correction provided by glasses becomes inadequate and special contact lenses for keratoconus are required to achieve clear vision. The contact lenses function to “mask” the irregularity of the corneal surface by covering the irregular protrusion on the cornea and creating a new, smooth surface for light to bend through, thus increasing the quality of vision in comparison to the vision through glasses. For many years, the only contact lens option to improve vision for keratoconus was with the use of hard contact lenses, now referred to as gas permeable contact lenses.
A contact lens is the most highly effective way to manage keratoconus and 90% of all cases can be managed this way indefinitely. In many cases, a special design must be used. The back surface of the lens is designed to fit the contour of the protrusion, much like fitting a hat to your head. However, new specialized designs have been developed that greatly improve vision and comfort compared to older designs. In addition, customized soft lenses, hybrid, and scleral lenses are available, providing excellent visual results and improved comfort for patients intolerant to gas permeable lenses. Some of the highly customized designs used by the contact lens specialists at Chicago Cornea Consultants include among many others:
- Rose-K designs (gas perm)
- Dyna-Cone designs (gas perm)
- Comfort Kone design (gas perm)
- McGuire designs (gas perm)
- Soper designs (gas perm)
- Intra-Limbal design (large diameter gas perm)
- HydroKone (soft lens)
- Kerasoft IC (soft lens)
- Synergeyes KC, Clear Kone, UltraHealth and UltraHealthFC designs (hybrid soft and gas perm combination)
- ZenlensRC and Zenlens designs (scleral)
- Onefit (scleral)
- Onefit MED (scleral)
- MSD (scleral)
- Ampleye (scleral)
- Jupiter (scleral)
- BostonSight Scleral
- “Piggy-back” lens systems (combinations of a soft lens with gas permeable
lens fit over it to improve comfort and fit)
In many instances, contact lenses are an excellent way to delay the need for surgical intervention. It is important for a patient with keratoconus to follow-up with his/her eye doctor in 6-12 month intervals or as recommended. Contact lenses are medical devices and the prescription is good for 12 months from the date prescribed.
SynergEyes hybrid lens for keratoconus
SynergEyes specializes in the development of hybrid contact lenses with a gas permeable central portion surrounded by a soft lens periphery. The goal is to provide the crisp optics of a rigid gas permeable lens with the added comfort and positioning similar to a soft contact lens. The result is a lens that vaults the central cornea and rests evenly on the sclera or white part of the eye. The lens has excellent centration, movement, and comfort characteristics. As platinum Synergeyes fitters, our Optometrists have had very positive results and have found that this lens technology has helped a number of patients with keratoconus or irregular corneas who have failed with many other lens designs.