Although it’s unlikely that demand for traditional glasses will ever disappear altogether (after all, they’re stylish, comfortable, and convenient), contact lenses have been popular for decades and continue to be a great choice for eyewear. From typical prescription options, to ones that change the color of the eye, to futuristic “smart” lenses—contacts have come a long way since 1888!

Contact lenses are a great alternative to wearing glasses for many people because they offer a lot of flexibility. You can wear your non-prescription sunglasses, goggles, helmets, headbands, or other kinds of eyewear over your contacts. People with contact lenses don’t have to worry about glasses slipping off or getting knocked off with physical activity. Plus, contacts don’t fog up and won’t produce a glare in photos. Unless you’re up close to someone, you can’t even tell they’re wearing them.

There is a wide variety of contact lenses available to fit most people. Advances in recent years have created many options to suit a range of prescription types and eyewear needs.

Toric lenses are used for people with astigmatism (irregular curvature of the eye). The way that toric contacts work is they have different powers at various places on the lens and they stay in place on the eye with a weighted section so that they don’t rotate. Unlike a regular prescription contact lens that can rotate and give consistently clear vision, the toric lenses have to stay in one position. Most wearers will never notice the weighted section. Usually the “weight” is just a tiny

line in the lens, adding a small amount of material to orient the lens. With the lens on your fingertip held up to a light, you may be able to see the line, but it is imperceptible when the contact lens is in place on your eye.

Gas permeable lenses are not soft and flexible like the ones most people imagine when they think of contact lenses. The rigid lenses still have breathability for air to reach your eye, but they are rigid. By keeping their perfectly rounded shape, the lenses can help give clear vision to people with astigmatism. The downside is that some people find them hard to become accustomed to wearing because they feel the lens more than they feel soft lenses.

People who need reading glasses or progressive lenses can benefit from bifocal and multifocal lenses. These are designed for those who require more than one prescription in the same lens—a common need among people over forty due to common age-related vision loss known as presbyopia.

We also fit scleral contact lenses at Valley Vision Clinic. These lenses are an excellent option for patients who have irregular corneas (keratoconus, [irregular] astigmatism, post-corneal surgery, etc.), patients with dry eye disease, current contact lens wearers who suffer from discomfort/blur/dryness, or simply patients who haven’t found a contact lens that works for them.

We’ve already had great success in providing improved all day comfort, as well as vision that hasn’t been this good for these patients for years, or ever! In short, they are larger, more comfortable/less dry, and may provide better vision that other options for patients with the above or similar conditions.

Conditions such as keratoconus, dry eyes, giant papillary conjunctivitis, post- refractive surgery (such as LASIK), and presbyopia can make contact lens fitting more difficult, but most people are able to find contact lenses to comfortably fit their eyes and needs. We fit many specialty contact lenses at Valley Vision Clinic. If you want to try contact lenses, we can help you find the lenses that are best for you. Call the clinic to set up an evaluation/fitting at 920-725.1566.