Soft daily disposable contact lens accessibility has led the soft lens charge by providing our patients with not only spherical designs, but also advances in toric and multifocal designs. Additionally, recent advancements in monthly replacement lens designs have provided patients with additional opportunities for comfort and vision.
Customized contact lenses for high prescriptions that may not be readily available in more frequently replaced modalities offer high prescription options in soft materials. Soft lens designs for irregular corneas also are available for patients who have keratoconus or other corneal irregularities. With all of these options, it may seem unnecessary for GP lenses to exist. Let’s see whether this is in fact the case.
Orthokeratology has received a lot of attention over the last several years as a strategy for myopia control. The literature has established this as a viable mechanism to alter the speed of myopia progression over time. However, we sometimes forget the opportunity that it offers to provide patients with a non-surgical option for vision correction. Many adults currently wearing refractive correction may be able to wear orthokeratology lens designs. Patients are often interested in this option when it is presented to them.
Often, much of the initial hesitancy in considering a GP lens design is the initial lens awareness that patients experience. Fortunately, we have strategies that allow small-diameter GP lenses to feel much more similar to the initial comfort of a soft contact lens. Hybrid lenses provide this option.
Hybrids work remarkably well for individuals who have corneal astigmatism, presbyopia, irregular corneas, and also for those individuals who simply demand GP-quality optics but have a difficult time with the comfort offered by a traditional small-diameter GP lens.
Multifocal Contact Lenses
Small-diameter GP lenses have been long known to provide high-quality optics. This is true for GP multifocal designs as well. With aspheric designs, the distance optics are often located in the center of the lens, while the near optics slowly progress from the center toward the periphery of the lens. For both aspheric and alternating multifocal GP designs, the translation of the lens on the eye provides the near power to help presbyopes achieve the appropriate near correction.
Other Advanced Designs
For more advanced ocular surface conditions, a variety of designs have allowed us to fit even the most complex corneas. For example, specific designs for keratoconus have provided practitioners with the opportunity to fit a number of corneal conditions. Additionally, for those patients who have a history of refractive surgery but who now require contact lenses, reverse geometry designs are available to help these individuals.
Significant advancements have occurred in scleral lenses over the last several years. With our increased understanding of the fitting process, manufacturers have created lenses that incorporate a number of design enhancements to improve the fitting process and ultimately improve the outcomes for patients being fit with these lens design.
With the advances in materials and designs of GPs, the game has changed when it comes to contact lenses. If the death of GPs is the new norm, we don’t want to be normal. CLS