During the very early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses or standard soft contact lenses can provide good vision . As the disease progresses, these simple forms of vision correction become 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 focus through, thus increasing the quality of vision in comparison to the vision through glasses. The back surface of the lens is designed to fit the contour of the protrusion, much like fitting a hat to your head. A contact lens is the most highly effective way to manage the visual needs of someone with keratoconus and 90% of all cases can be managed this way indefinitely. For many years, the only contact lens option to improve vision for keratoconus was hard contact lenses, now referred to as gas permeable contact lenses. With advancements in contact lens technology, there are now many different types of contact lens options available and our skilled optometrists will narrow down which one is right for you.
New specialized gas permeable lens designs and manufacturing techniques have greatly improve vision and comfort compared to older gas permeable designs. In addition, specialty soft, 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)
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.
Hybrid Contact Lenses for Keratoconus
Hybrid contact lenses have a gas permeable center surrounded bu 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. Synergeyes is a company that specializes in the development of hybrid contact lenses. As platinum Synergeyes fitters, our Optometrists have had very positive results using this lens technology to help numerous patients achieve clear vision, some of whom have been unsuccessful in other lens designs. Hybrid lenses are available in several different designs to benefit patients ranging from those with simple refractive error such as astigmatism or multifocal patients, to those with irregular corneas including keratoconus.
Our doctors are skilled at fitting hybrid contact lenses and have access to the latest hybrid contact lens technology.