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Are Your Contact Lenses Uncomfortable?

Most people are familiar with the traditional soft lenses which provide clear vision for those with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism. In certain cases, particularly for those with corneal irregularities or astigmatism, Gas Permeable (GP), Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) or Scleral Lenses are recommended.

Some people experience discomfort when wearing gas permeable lenses. For those patients, scleral lenses may be a more successful alternative.

What Are Gas Permeable Contact Lenses?

Modern-day hard contact lenses often provide sharper vision than eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. Gas permeable lenses are made of hard plastic materials and are called ‘permeable’ because they transmit oxygen to the cornea, thus keeping it healthy. GP lenses are ideal for individuals with astigmatism that may have been told that they cannot wear soft contact lenses.

The rigid nature of the lens holds its shape on the eye, which allows for more clear and stable vision correction. Though it takes a little bit of time to get used to wearing GP contacts, the clarity of vision and durability that these lenses provide make it worthwhile. Gas permeable lenses are uniquely fitted to each patient and take about a week to manufacture.

What are Scleral Contact Lenses?

Custom designed scleral lenses help patients with sensitive eyes or corneal irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera instead. This creates a new optical surface and prevents discomfort by minimizing irritation to the cornea. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment – making it optimal for health and comfort. This unique design makes scleral lenses the ideal lens for comfort, sharp vision and healthy eyes.

We recommend scleral lenses for the-hard-to-fit eyes, those with keratoconus, or astigmatism, or for people with a medium-high astigmatism that other contacts can’t comfortably correct. Scleral lenses are also perfect for anyone wanting to wear comfortable lenses while keeping eyes hydrated all day.

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of wearing GP lenses. This information can better assist you in making a better decision with regards to whether to choose one over the other.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Wearing Gas Permeable Lenses?

Advantages of Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas permeable contact lenses have a number of distinct advantages over typical soft contact lenses. In many instances of various eye conditions, a GP contact is required as soft contacts will not be comfortable or deliver the vision correction required. Here are some advantages.

Health & Hygiene

close eye with scleral lenseBecause these lenses are oxygen permeable, they provide the wearer with better comfort and a healthy cornea. Their ability to transmit oxygen reduces eye problems, such as dry eyes, which is caused by diminished oxygen transmission to the cornea – common among most soft lens’ brands or hard (non-GP) lenses.

GP lenses are made from a firm plastic material and retain their shape when you blink. This tends to provide sharper vision than pliable soft lenses and are extremely durable; unlike soft contact lenses, they don’t tear easily. They are easy to clean and disinfect, and when properly cared for, a pair can last a year or more.

Gas permeable lenses are made of materials that do not contain water and thus don’t absorb water from your eyes. Moreover, they harbor fewer protein and lipid deposits from your tear film than other contact lenses do, which renders these lenses a more hygienic and healthier alternative for your eyes.

Enhanced Comfort With Scleral Lenses

GP lenses have a smaller diameter than soft contacts, meaning that they cover less of the surface of your eye. While this may take some time to get used to initially, ultimately, many wearers may find that these lenses become comfortable over time.

Improved Visual Clarity

Due to their rigid material, GP lenses have a smooth surface and maintain their shape, moving along with the eye to hold their place. This provides sharp and stable vision. Furthermore, because they do not dehydrate, they don’t cause reduced vision, which is usually the case with traditional contact lenses. GP lenses can be worn on all eyes, but are particularly fitting for those with astigmatism or bifocal needs.

Cost of Gas Permeable Lenses

GP lenses are durable and long-lasting. Though costs are initially higher than traditional contact lenses, in the long term they are more cost-effective, and unlike disposable lenses, they don’t require ongoing replacement.

So why doesn’t everyone wear gas permeable lenses? Primarily because soft lenses are instantly comfortable, whereas GP lenses require an adaptation period before they reach the same level of comfort.

Disadvantages of Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Sometimes, whether due to sensitivity, corneal irregularities, or various eye conditions, a gas permeable contact lens isn’t the ideal solution and scleral lenses may be required or preferred.

Requires an adaptation period

To achieve maximum comfort with GP lenses, you need to wear them regularly. If not worn for a week, you’ll require a few days to adapt and get comfortable wearing them again. This distinguishes them from soft contact lenses, which, even if not worn for a long period of time, are comfortable upon insertion.

Unstable on the eye

GP lenses are smaller in size than soft lenses, which means that they are sometimes prone to shifting or popping out. If stability is essential, scleral lenses are a better bet.

Dust and debris

Happy Girl Fingers Near Eyes 1280x853Because gas permeable lenses move on the eye with every blink, there is a higher risk of dust and debris getting lodged under the lenses. This can lead to discomfort and potential corneal abrasion.

If you’ve tried gas permeable lenses and have experienced any of the above, or if you’re seeking a more comfortable alternative to wear all day, it’s worth looking into scleral lenses.

Visit us to find out how scleral lenses can be a better option for you. At the Belill Eye Care, PLC, our eye doctors specialize in fitting custom contact lenses, including sclerals, which provide excellent, effective vision correction for many hard-to-fit eye conditions, such as keratoconus and irregular corneas. We also recommend scleral lenses for astigmatism, when other types of contacts don’t work well.

We fit sclerals for patients from the Clio area, as well as Flint,Flushing, Mt. Morris and throughout Michigan.

What are the Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses provide the very best level of comfort, visual acuity and stability.

Stable Vision

With scleral lenses, you’ll experience consistently clear vision. Their large diameter ensures that they stay centered and stable on your eye. Their size also prevents scleral lenses from popping out easily, even if you play sports or lead a very active lifestyle.

Long-Lasting Lenses

Constructed from high quality, durable materials, these gas permeable lenses typically last for the long haul. Therefore, while the initial cost of scleral lenses may be higher than standard contacts, you’ll benefit from the maximum value for your money.

Safe and Easy-to-Use

The large size and rigid material make scleral lenses much easier to insert and remove from your eyes. These features also reduce the risk of accidentally injuring your cornea while you handle your lenses.

Comfort for Dry Eyes

While the scleral lenses vault over your cornea, they contain a pocket filled with moisturizing tears. This wet, lubricating cushion offers a very comfortable wearing experience, as well as healthier eyes. In addition, because sclerals don’t touch your corneal surface, rubbing is [minimized] and your risk of corneal abrasions is drastically diminished.

Wide Visual Field

The wide optic zone provides wearers with a wider, more precise peripheral vision. They also reduce sensitivity to glare and light.

Cost-effective

Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each eye. Though the fees for fitting sclerals and the cost of the lenses are higher than standard lenses, their life span and benefits make the cost worthwhile.

Though coverage rates and restrictions vary among providers, if considered a medical necessary, most insurance companies will reimburse the cost of scleral lenses. Consult with our eye care team at the Belill Eye Care, PLC to discuss your specific payment options and cost of scleral lenses.

Are Scleral Lenses Better Than Gas Permeable Lenses?

In terms of comfort, visual clarity and stability, scleral lenses are superior to gas permeable lenses. In cases of corneal irregularity or severe sensitivity, scleral lenses are often the only viable option. However, they are more costly than GP lenses as well.

The question of which contact lens is best for you should ultimately be decided in conversation with us. Trained in fitting specialty contact lenses of various types, from the simple near-sighted first-time wearer to the complex astigmatic, bifocal or distorted cornea patient, Dr. Nicholas Belill will consult with you about your best options.

Our practice serves patients from Clio, Flint, Flushing, and Mt. Morris, Michigan and surrounding communities.
Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 810-775-5100

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Choosing an Optometrist vs. an Ophthalmologist for Contact Lenses

If you need new contact lenses or are thinking of trying them out for the first time, who do you turn to? An optometrist or an ophthalmologist? To know with whom to set up an appointment, it’s important to understand the differences in eye care professionals.

The Difference Between Ophthalmologists and Optometrists

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who examines eyes and performs vision-related surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists generally complete 4 years of college, 4-5 years of medical school, one year of internship, and at least three years of residency in ophthalmology. Their advanced medical training provides them with the expertise to diagnose eye diseases, offer treatments, conduct scientific research on vision disorders, and prescribe medication.

Though ophthalmologists can fit patients with eyeglasses and contact lenses, they often refer their patients to an optometrist on their team to correct any refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia (farsightedness related to aging). Optometrists are usually the ones to screen patients for LASIK and work alongside LASIK surgeons to coordinate the surgery.

What is an Optometrist?

optometrist caucasian od bigAn optometrist is a healthcare professional who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists have to complete a four-year college degree program in the sciences coupled with four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school.

Optometrists examine eyes for vision and health problems, diagnose and treat certain eye diseases and conditions, and prescribe and fit patients with glasses or contacts for common refractive errors. Certain optometrists provide alternative services, such as vision therapy, low vision care, dry eye treatment and myopia control. Optometrists can also provide pre- and post-surgery care, such as LASIK, PRK, corneal transplant, among others.

Optometrists in the United States are licensed to prescribe medications for certain eye conditions and diseases, though the scope of medical care that they can provide varies from state to state.

Why Choose an Optometrist?

If your eyes are healthy and don’t require specialized surgical treatment, visiting an optometrist is the obvious choice. Moreover, beyond performing routine eye exams, optometrists can detect, diagnose and manage eye diseases that require medical and non-medical treatment.

These treatments include, but are not limited to:

Dry Eye Treatment, Vision Therapy, Low Vision Management, Myopia Control, Specialty Contact Lens Fitting, Management and/or treatment of various corneal conditions and irregularities.

Think of your optometrist as a primary care physician for your eyes. When in need of a routine eye check-up, or if you’re dealing with an eye condition or notice your vision changing, it’s time to visit the optometrist.

If you’re interested in fitting specialty or traditional contact lenses to aid with specific eye conditions or misshapen corneas, Dr. Nicholas Belill at the Belill Eye Care, PLC can help.

Fitting Contact Lenses

Girl Putting in Contact 1280×853Whether you’re a first-time lens wearer or you’ve recently had a prescription change, it’s essential to ensure a proper fit. When lenses are not properly fitted, it can prove to be uncomfortable and can lead to vision problems, infections, or scarring. That’s where we come in.

To ensure a proper contact lens fitting, Dr. Nicholas Belill will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your level of refractive error and will also check for any conditions that could interfere with wearing contact lenses. The shape of your eye and personal lifestyle are also important factors in determining the right lens for you. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors or lead an active lifestyle, that may require a different lens type. Following a proper assessment, the doctor will ensure the best fit for your eyes and overall vision health.

Moreover, your optometrist will show you how to insert and remove lenses, and generally, how to properly care for them. Additional follow-up appointments may be needed in order to monitor and assess the fitting and overall comfort level.

Specialized in fitting traditional and specialty contact lenses, Dr. Nicholas Belill find the proper fit for all patients, from the simple near-sighted first-time wearer to the complex astigmatic, bifocal or diseased cornea patient. Visit us at the Belill Eye Care, PLC for a contact lens fitting.

Our practice serves patients from Clio, Flint, Flushing, and Mt. Morris, Michigan and surrounding communities.
Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 810-775-5100

how Fits Specialty Contact Lenses

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Who Fits Specialty Contact Lenses?

If you have been told that contact lenses are not an option, speak with an optometrist trained in fitting specialty contact lenses. Dr. Nicholas Belill at Belill Eye Care, PLC can offer several alternative high-quality options for rare or severe eye conditions.

How Is an Optometrist Trained in Fitting Specialty Contact Lenses Unique?

Every optometrist can fit conventional contact lenses. However, specialty contacts are another story, and few optometrists have undergone the necessary training in fitting specialty lenses, such as scleral lenses, hybrid lenses, or custom rigid gas permeable lenses.

Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each patient’s individual cornea. This requires the optometrist to acquire more in-depth knowledge in areas traditionally belonging in the field of a corneal specialist.

Moreover, special equipment is needed to fit specialty lenses. The optometrist uses different devices to assess whether a particular specialty lens is a good fit and to precisely measure a cornea’s unique shape.

When Should You See an Eye Doctor for Specialty Lenses?

Many of our patients have experienced discomfort or complications when using traditional soft contact lenses. In these cases, wearing scleral lenses offer more comfort yet provide the same visual acuity or better.

If you have an eye condition that prevents you from wearing regular contact lenses, such as corneal irregularities (i.e. keratoconus), post corneal transplant, severe dry-eye, or an unusually high refractive error, scleral contact lenses may be a good fit.

Special lenses may also help patients cope with complications following surgery or improve remaining refractive errors. Dr. Nicholas Belill can help you evaluate your alternatives.

young man thinkingConditions Special Lenses Can Treat

  • Keratoconus
  • Astigmatism
  • Dry Eye
  • Post-Refractive Surgery (LASIK, RK, PRK)
  • Corneal Dystrophy and Other Chronic Eye Diseases
  • High Refractive Errors

Fitting Specialty Lenses

Specialty lenses require specific diagnostic equipment. Only a precise image of the cornea’s surface can ensure optimal fitting of the individual lens for perfect vision.

At Belill Eye Care, PLC, we use an advanced digital topographer to measure your cornea during your initial eye exam. This digital device produces high-resolution corneal imagery and provides the parameters to design your customized lenses. Your specifications are then sent to a contact lens lab, which produces a set of lenses designed specifically for your eyes.

After ensuring the lenses are a perfect fit, Dr. Nicholas Belill will instruct you on how to insert, remove and take care of specialty contact lenses, since handling them calls for a little more precision and caution than traditional lenses.

Interested in Specialty Contact Lenses?

At Belill Eye Care, PLC, we can provide accurate and current information about specialty contact lenses as well as a broad scope of general contact lens products. We have the equipment needed to assess suitability and fit every type of lens.

Optometrists, such as Dr. Nicholas Belill, are experienced in fitting specialty contact lenses for rare eye conditions. For us, these are not exceptions, but our every-day profession.

Contact us today to find out which contact lens alternatives are most suitable for your specific condition. Belill Eye Care, PLC will make sure you receive individual consultation and care.

Our practice serves patients from Clio, Flint, Flushing, and Mt. Morris, Michigan and surrounding communities.

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Are There Other Contact Lens Alternatives?

Several eye conditions and diseases can make it hard, even impossible, to wear standard contact lenses. For patients who suffer from these conditions, achieving clear vision can be difficult. That’s where scleral contact lenses and other specialty contact lenses come in.

Below you’ll find information about some of the other contact lenses we offer that are suitable for hard-to-fit eyes. Please contact us if you think any of these options would be suitable for you, or if your current lenses are giving you any trouble.

Our practice serves patients from Clio, Flint, Flushing, and Mt. Morris, Michigan and surrounding communities.
Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 810-775-5100
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When Gas Permeable Lenses Fail, Scleral Lenses Can Help

When it comes to contact lenses, most people are familiar with soft lenses to help give them a clear vision for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism. In some cases, Gas Permeable (GP) or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses are recommended. In other cases, they’re less efficient for long-lasting wear.

When this happens, scleral lenses can be a better option. At The Belill Eye Care, PLC Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, we help patients throughout Michigan.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages is important and can make a big difference in comfortable – and superior – vision.

Close-up of woman's hazel eyeWhat Are Gas Permeable Contact Lenses?

Gas permeable contacts are lenses which are made from hard plastic materials. They’re called ‘permeable’ because they allow oxygen to pass through and reach the front of your eye for a more breathable feel.

Unlike soft lenses, GP lenses don’t contain any water. Because of this, many patients find that their GP contacts dehydrate less often. They’re also more durable because the firm materials make it hard for the lenses to tear.

The Advantages Of Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas permeable lenses give our patients some great benefits. In addition to giving you good vision correction for common vision problems, they also offer:

Breathability

More oxygen means that air can reach the cornea, letting your eye “breathe”. This gives you better comfort for all-day wear.

Affordability

GP lenses are tailor-made for each patient. Although there is an initial higher cost, over time, they’re actually more cost effective since you won’t need to replace them often. Similar to a custom-designed outfit, GP lenses may be priced higher at first, but they provide greater long-term value.

Reduced Likelihood Of Attracting Bacteria

Since they don’t hold water, gas permeable lenses are less likely to have bacteria and harmful buildup. This makes them more hygienic and a healthier choice for your eyes.

However, gas permeable lenses may not be for everyone.

The Disadvantages Of Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

While gas permeable lenses offer benefits to patients with vision correction needs, there are some disadvantages you should know about.

It Takes Time To Get Used To Them

Patients who are used to soft contacts find that it takes a while to get used to GP lenses. That’s because of something called ‘lens awareness’. When you blink, you can feel the edge of the lens in your eye. Lens awareness doesn’t hurt or cause discomfort, but patients report feeling something odd in their eye or sensing a sudden physical reminder that the lens is there.

They Move Around Your Eye

Gas permeable lenses are known to slip off the center of your eye. This usually lasts for mere seconds, but when it happens multiple times throughout the day, it can become irritating very quickly.

Tiny Particles Can Get Underneath

You know that feeling when something is stuck in your eye? This can happen with GP lenses. Tiny pieces of debris can get lodged underneath the lenses, causing pain or discomfort.

If you’ve tried gas permeable lenses and have had any of these experiences, or you’re simply looking for something more comfortable for all-day wear, it’s time to try scleral lenses.

Asian female with finger circling eye, smilingHow Long Do Gas Permeable Contact Lenses Last?

Assuming that your prescription doesn’t change, gas permeable contact lenses typically last up to 1 year. Scleral lenses usually last for up to 3 years, but as with all types of contact lenses, make sure you use the lens case, contact solution and any other materials as instructed by your eye doctor. This will make sure you enjoy continued clear, comfortable vision and make your lenses last longer.

Can You Sleep With Gas Permeable Contact Lenses?

Not surprisingly, according to Dr. Nicholas Belill, it is ill advised to do so. Wearing contacts overnight prevents oxygen from entering the cornea and can increase the risk of developing corneal infections or ulcers. Always take them out before going to sleep, clean and store them safely.

Can You Sleep With Scleral Lenses?

In most cases, it isn’t recommended. Only sleep in scleral lenses if specifically instructed to by your doctor.

Why Do My Gas Permeable Contacts Get Cloudy?

When gas permeable contacts become cloudy, it’s usually due to tiny particles of dirt or debris that get stuck inside or around the lens. This can also be caused by protein buildup, which can usually be cleaned off, but if that doesn’t work, it may be the quality of GP lenses themselves.

Scleral lenses rarely become cloudy, unless due to a phenomenon called “midday fogging”. This is when tiny debris cause the lenses to fog up. If this should happen, simply remove the lenses and gently rinse them with artificial tears. This usually resolves the issue quickly. You can always contact our office for help, too.

Are Scleral Lenses Better Than Gas Permeable Lenses?

Some patients with misshapen corneas find that scleral lenses give them clear vision for longer periods of time. This happens because of their ability to cover a larger area of the eye without touching the cornea directly. In fact, a recent study from the London South Bank University confirmed that scleral lenses were particularly effective in treating eye diseases due to irregularly shaped corneas.

How Much Do Gas Permeable Contacts Cost?

The cost of gas permeable lenses depends on each patient’s condition and prescription needs. For example, if your eye doctor recommends disposable bifocal contact lenses, an estimated per-box cost for these lenses is $50 to $70 (similar to the cost of disposable toric contacts). GP lenses usually average around $200 a pair.

Scleral lenses are custom-made for each patient. This is because every patient’s cornea has a unique shape, so each scleral lens must fit the eye exactly. Because of this personalized fit, the cost of scleral lenses is usually higher than standard contact lenses, which are mass produced. However, sclerals last up to 3 years, so they’re more cost-effective in the long term.

If you have a corneal disease, your insurance coverage may pay for scleral lenses. For specific insurance questions, contact The Belill Eye Care, PLC Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center.

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Most People Prefer Scleral Lenses Over Gas Permeable Lenses

Like gas permeable lenses, scleral lenses are also made from rigid materials, but that’s where the similarities end. Scleral lenses are specially-designed contact lenses with 2 unique features: a large diameter and a tiny, built-in reservoir of water.

Scleral lenses have a larger diameter than traditional lenses, giving them the ability to rest over the entire area of the sclera (the white part of your eye), but without directly touching the cornea. They also contain a tiny pool of artificial tears, which is built in to the lens. This constantly lubricates your eyes for superior comfort all day long.

Speak with Dr. Nicholas Belill to see if you’re a candidate for scleral lenses.

So if you have dry eyes, keratoconus, or other corneal conditions and your GP lenses aren’t cutting it, or you’re ready for an upgrade of comfort and long-term value, it’s time to try scleral lenses. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Nicholas Belill today.

Our practice serves patients from Clio, Flint, Flushing, and Mt. Morris, Michigan and surrounding communities.
Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 810-775-5100