There are some key differences when comparing the wear and care of GP contact lenses to that of soft contact lenses. It is important to make sure that patients are properly educated in these differences, especially patients who are transitioning from soft contact lenses to GP lenses. Following are a few things that you should convey to these patients.
1) All Solutions Are Not Equal
GP lens solutions have unique preservatives, higher viscosity, and different cleaning agents that are often not compatible with soft lenses. While it won’t generally harm a GP lens to use a soft lens solution on it, most soft lens care solutions are not approved for this. They also don’t provide the “conditioning” effect that the high-viscosity GP solutions do to produce a wettable lens surface.
2) Naps and Overnight Wear
Extended wear of GP lenses is less common, but some GP patients do enjoy this benefit. Of course, overnight orthokeratology is designed for wearing the lenses while sleeping. For all of these patients, we recommend rewetting the lens upon awakening and gently nudging the lens with the eyelid until the lens is moving freely. A bound lens worn during the day prevents tear exchange and can lead to corneal inflammation. Removing a bound lens could also cause an abrasion. Any overnight wear increases the risk of microbial keratitis, so keep educating patients about this risk.
3) Lens Repositioning
GP lenses can sometimes mislocate onto the sclera, which is an uncomfortable situation. Instruct patients to first locate the lens. Then, with one finger on the lens, look away from the lens. Next, gradually move the lens onto the cornea and shift the eye to look toward the direction of the lens.
Patients could also attempt to remove and reapply the lens, though this is more challenging (see below). In any case, you can prevent panicked patients by educating them about how to do this during their training.
4) Removing GP Lenses
GP lens removal can be daunting for new wearers. The key to success is teaching patients how to manipulate the lids. The lid margin should be gently compressed against the globe, or the lens will slip behind the lid. Patients can use a finger on each lid to push the lids together, or they could pull at the lateral canthus. They could also use a suction cup remover. This is especially useful for a lens that has moved onto the sclera. Some ortho-k practitioners prefer removers to minimize lens warpage from squeezing the lens over time with the lid method.
5) A Little Extra Time
Adaptation to GP lens wear takes more time. It can take 10 to 14 days in most cases and potentially as long as one month. Gradually building wear time is critical to promote success. We recommend starting with one to two hours on the first day and building gradually from there. Consistency in wearing the lenses each day is key to success; skipping a day will usually set the patient back a bit in building wear time.
What Works for You?
Following these steps will help your patients achieve great success with GP lenses. Contact us if you have other suggestions for your GP patients, and we may share them in a future article. CLS