Contact Lens Assessments
The contact lens landscape has changed over the past decade. Many now treat lenses, not as optical medical devices but as a commodity. Unfortunately this has led to some practitioners taking a one-size fits all approach when prescribing contact lenses. If lenses are improperly fitted vision can be blurred and the eyes uncomfortable.
Optometrists at Hawera Eyecare are Contact Lens Specialists. We strive to find tailored solutions that meet your individual requirements.
We are experts in all types of contact lenses, including soft, hard, custom-made lenses and those used for myopia control. We accommodate all wearers; from those who wish to be free from the restrictions of glasses, to those with corneal diseases such as keratoconics who require specialised fits.
Should you meet certain criteria, you may receive a subsidy towards your lenses through The Ministry of Health. We are registered practitioners for this.
What do we consider when fitting contact lenses?
To find the best regime for you we take a number of factors into account:
- Your eye health
- Your eye history
- Your goals, environment and your lifestyle
- How often you want to change your lenses
- How long you want to wear your lenses
What types of contact lenses are there?
Generally speaking there are two primary types of contact lenses:
Hard contact lenses were the first contact lenses developed. These are made out of semi-firm materials that allow oxygen to pass through. Hard contact lenses are robust and regularly last two years or more.
Soft contact lenses are a more recent development. They are made of flexible materials including plastic polymers, and are also permeable to oxygen. Soft lenses are usually more comfortable than hard lenses. They come in numerous modalities, including daily disposable lenses, fortnightly replacement lenses, monthly replacement lenses and extended wear lenses.
- Daily disposable lenses are convenient and hygienic. After a single use they are disposed of, and require no storage or cleaning.
- Monthly / Fortnightly lenses are cleaned every night and stored in a multipurpose disinfecting and hydrating solution. The FDA has approved certain types of monthly lenses for extended wear; meaning you can wear them for longer without removal. If you wear contact lenses every single day, monthly lenses tend to be more economical than daily disposable lenses.
Will contact lenses work with my prescription?
Contact lenses cater for a large variety of prescriptions, and can give sharper focus at more than one distance. Below is a list of non-standard contact lenses:
These lenses are designed for those who have astigmatism. Contrary to popular belief, astigmatism is very normal and very common. It occurs when the front surface of the eye named the cornea, is flatter in one direction and steeper in another. While a non-astigmatic cornea is spherically shaped, an astigmatic cornea is shaped more like a rugby ball or an egg. Without correcting lenses, those with astigmatism may get headaches and have distorted vision.
In glasses, the spectacle lens is held in a fixed position by the frame to correct for astigmatism. However, a standard contact lens rotates on the eye while a person blinks. This makes contact lenses slightly trickier for those with astigmatism.
Fortunately, Toric contact lenses have a weight in them. This means they remain in one position and don’t rotate when you blink or move your eyes. In this way, those with astigmatism can wear contact lenses that give them clear and stable vision.
Lenses to help with reading
- Blended Vision is useful for those who have age-related trouble with close work. For most of us, this starts at around mid-40; we might have to stretch out our arms to see our phone or have difficulty reading clearly in dim environments.
In a blended or social vision approach, we focus one eye for close viewing and one eye for far viewing. Your surgeon may suggest this very approach if you are aged 40 years or over and consider laser eye surgery.
A blended approach can suit both hard and soft lens wearers. Sometimes it is combined with another approach such as multifocal lenses.
- Multifocal Lenses aim to give sharp vision at every distance. Most lenses have a zone profile, where far, intermediate and close vision are accounted for. Lighting is very important for those who wear multifocal lenses, the size of your pupil directly effects the clarity of your sight. Over the past decade multifocals have become significantly more advanced. Many of our patients are now very successfully wearing multifocal lenses.
- Bifocal Contact Lenses come in both soft and hard materials, but are much more common for Hard (RGP) Lens Wearers. These are very useful in those who have astigmatic corneas, and require help with both near and far vision. Bi is the Latin derivative of two, so bifocals give clear vision for two distances.
Those with corneal disease or a complex eye history may require custom made lenses. Custom lenses may be soft lenses, but are more commonly made from Hard (RGP) materials.
- Extended Range Soft Lenses are suitable for those who have high prescriptions, or with highly toric corneas. They also come in a number of contours, so we can find the shape that best fits your eye.
- Keratoconic Lenses are for those with Keratoconus, where the cornea progressively becomes thinner and vision more indistinct. Those with moderate to advanced Keratoconus can have trouble seeing through conventional glasses.
These lenses are usually made from hard (RGP) materials. The firmly shaped RGP lies over the underlying irregular cornea. The lens acts as a reservoir, where tears flow between the lens and irregular cornea to form a more ‘regular’ corneal shape. In this way Keratoconics can enjoy a much sharper level of vision than that provided through glasses alone.
- Kerasoft© Lenses are a new modality for those with irregular corneas, including early keratoconics. Made from a soft silicon hydrogel material, these lenses can provide great vision and comfort.
- Post Graft / Post Refractive Lenses are designed for those who have had corneal grafts, or laser procedures which have altered the corneal shape.
- Scleral Lenses are useful for those with moderate to severe dry eye. Because the lens is large in diameter, it retains a reservoir of fluid between the cornea and the eye. This aims to retard tear evaporation and keep the cornea hydrated.
If you would like to be fit in contact lenses for the first time, you can download our brochure below to see how it all works. This has more detail on the procedure, fees and the technology we use.
For existing contact lens wearers, you can download a brochure for information on the procedure and fees.