Types of Contact Lenses

Soft lenses

Advances in this category of contacts are represented in the new silicone hydrogel materials and in the daily disposable lens. This new material allows for a greater transmission of oxygen which results in a healthier, whiter looking eye. The greater amount of oxygen also allows your corneal endothelium to function properly and maintain the overall clarity of the cornea.

Traditionally, the planned replacement for soft lenses was either at 2 weeks, 1 month, or quarterly. The advent of the daily disposable contact lens lets the patient have a new, clean, fresh feeling lens every day. A new lens every day helps to reduce the risk for infection, irritation, and allergies. This is the healthiest soft lens option on the market today.


Toric soft lenses (For astigmatism)

These lenses are used to help correct a prescription that contains astigmatism. Regular spherical soft contacts contain the same power throughout the lens and can thus can rotate on the eye and not affect your vision. However, toric lenses place more power at a specific location, or axis, on the lens which corresponds to the patient’s astigmatism and corrects their vision. Since the powers vary in the lens, toric lenses cannot rotate or they will alter your vision. Newer toric designs have vastly improved the stability of these type of lenses to help minimize rotation and maximize crisp vision.


Contact lens options for presbyopic patients:

Presbyopia is the condition in which the natural lens of the eye begins to lose its focusing ability for up-close tasks. This is a natural occurrence and begins to affect most patients around the age of 40.

1. Distance contact lenses with reading glasses.

In this set-up distance contact lenses are worn in both eyes and reading glasses are worn over top when focusing on close-up objects.

  • Pros- The best distance vision possible in both eyes while maintaining your usual contrast and depth perception. The best reading vision while using your readers over the contacts.
  • Cons- Not the best option if you have a lot of computer or near tasks throughout the day due to the need for always carrying around reading glasses with you.

2. Monovision contacts

In this set-up the patient wears a distance powered contact lens on their dominant eye and a reading powered contact lens on the other eye.

  • Pros- This allows for the patient to have one eye that sees for distance and the other eye that sees for reading. Once the powers are adjusted correctly the dependency on reading glasses is reduced or removed.
  • Cons- This is the most difficult set-up for the patient’s brain to adapt to. Since one eye is used for distance and the other eye for reading, the patient’s depth perception and contrast is reduced. This in turn can sometimes decrease a patients night driving abilities.

3. Multifocal contacts

In this set-up the patient wears contacts in each eye that contain powers for distance, computer (arms length), and close reading.

  • Pros- This allows for the patient to have the best range of vision without the use of an additional pair of glasses while at the computer or reading.
  • Cons- There is a 1-2 week brain adaptation period needed with these lenses. During this time frame some patients will describe an increase in glare and halos while night driving.

Soft multifocals work the best in patients with less than 1 diopter of astigmatism in their eyes. If you have 1 or more diopters of astigmatism in your eyes, you may need to go to a rigid multifocal contact or a soft monovision set-up.


Rigid Gas Permeable lenses

Rigid lenses were the original type of contact available before the introduction of soft lenses. Rigid lenses are “stiff” lenses that float on the tear layer of your eye. Since these lenses maintain their shape as compared to soft lenses they are optically superior and usually give the sharpest vision of any contact. This is especially true for patients with large amounts of astigmatism. Rigid lenses are smaller and allow for more oxygen and a better tear exchange to the cornea which aids in removal of metabolic waste. Once the patient adapts to the initial comfort factor, rigid lenses make a great option for many people.


Hybrid lenses

Hybrid lenses are a combination of a rigid contact lens in the center with an attached soft contact lens skirt. These lenses are designed to give the better optics associated with a rigid lens while maintaining the comfort of a soft lens. This is a good option for patients that have a higher amount of astigmatism who could not adapt to the initial comfort of a normal rigid contact. Coastal Vision currently fits the Synergeyes version of this lens.


Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT)

NON-Surgical Vision Correction, WHILE YOU SLEEP!

CRT is a non-surgical way to correct your vision while you sleep. These are special contact lenses that gently reshape the front surface of your cornea while you wear them overnight. Once the process is complete, your need for glasses or contact lenses during the day is eliminated. This is a great option for anyone who is tired of glasses and/or daytime contact lens wear. Also if you have ever considered Lasik surgery but have been told you are not a good candidate, are still too young, or if you are just apprehensive about undergoing Lasik then this may be a good choice for you. CRT is FDA approved for patients of all ages with low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness with or without mild corneal astigmatism. Coastal Vision currently fits Paragon CRT lenses.

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Specialty lenses

Even with all the of new advances in material and manufacturing abilities, there are still some patients who cannot be fit into regular lenses. These could be patients with extremely dry eyes, keratoconus (thinning disease of the cornea), irregular cornea following Lasik surgery, etc. We specialize in fitting contact lenses on these difficult to fit patients. Keratoconic lenses, scleral lenses, and several other types of specialty lenses may allow certain patients that were told they cannot wear contacts a better chance for improved vision and comfort.

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