Comfort, convenience and unobstructed vision are among the many benefits you have come to expect from your contact lenses. Whether you’re working at a computer, driving a car, reading a book or exercising, your contacts should provide seamless transitions between activities and sustained, clear vision—while keeping your eyes feeling and looking great.
For many people, this list of demands is easy enough for most eye doctors to fulfill. However, if you have astigmatism, keratoconus or presbyopia, or if you have high performance vision needs or have had refractive surgery, soft contact lens designs may not provide the quality of vision you’re hoping to achieve.
Feeling Shortchanged with Soft Contact Lens Options?
No matter how comfortable, convenient or relatively inexpensive a contact lens may be, there’s one main feature that’s hard to compromise on—namely, good optics. After all, when you go to the eye doctor, the number one thing you expect is better vision. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for some eye doctors, especially if they prescribe mostly “commodity” lens designs and don’t try prescribing a custom specialty lens for patients who are looking for better, more stable vision throughout the day.
In some cases, it’s easy for the doctor to decide that a standard out-of-the-box, soft lens won’t do. For instance, if you have keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, or a history of RK, specialty lenses are a definite first choice. But, deciding to recommend a specialty lens to patients with less demanding ocular conditions can be a harder decision for your doctor—one that will require more communication about your expectations and about what you’re dissatisfied with. But make no mistake: your doctor needs to hear these details so you can be prescribed the most appropriate vision correction device.
Even if you have no astigmatism or corneal irregularity at all, but just want to see more clearly, your doctor can likely help thanks to the availability of newer custom-made lenses. There are specialty lenses that can benefit athletes, hobbyists, people who have astigmatism, or anyone who is just a little more visually sensitive.
Common Struggles with Soft Contact Lenses
There are lots of times when soft conventional contact lenses can fall short in providing the vision or comfort you want—especially if you have astigmatism.
The reason soft lenses are a challenge for people with astigmatism is because the irregularity on your eye usually means you cannot wear a standard spherical lens design. Instead, you will most likely need a toric lens, since these lenses have two powers in them—one for astigmatism and the other for either nearsightedness or farsightedness. The challenge with torics is that the lens needs to stay in place. If it rotates at all, your vision can become distorted until the lens moves back to where it should be. This lens rotation can be very disconcerting, especially when you’re driving or are trying to perform some other critical activity.
But people with astigmatism aren’t the only ones who struggle with standard soft lens designs. If you play sports or are passionate about certain visually demanding hobbies, you also know how important good, stable vision is. In fact, premium vision correction is one of the most vital pieces of equipment an athlete can have.
Besides playing sports, there are many other instances when people are a little more visually discriminating. For instance, if you like to read, drive at night, or enjoy woodworking, finding a contact lens that doesn’t get in the way might substantially improve your quality of life.
Understanding Your Contact Lens Options
Until recently, if you weren’t happy with your soft lenses, your only other contact lens choice was rigid or “hard” lenses (also known as gas permeable, or GP, lenses). GP lenses have a reputation for offering better optical quality compared to soft lenses. However, they’re not always as comfortable and user-friendly as a soft lens. Plus they can fall out more often—which is neither convenient nor cheap. Soft lenses, on the other hand, have a reputation for comfort and value, but often fall short when it comes to optics.
Fortunately, a third category of advanced technology lenses has been introduced. These new lenses are both “hard” and soft, providing the best of both worlds. Known as hybrid contact lenses, these advanced designs, made by SynergEyes, combine a GP center (so that the optics are crisp and consistent) with a soft lens skirt (so that you also can enjoy the benefits of comfort and ease-of-wear). As an added bonus, the soft lens skirt helps to prevent dirt and debris from getting under the lens, which can be especially important for athletes.
The SynergEyes Duette hybrid lens is custom made for all types of people —whether you have astigmatism, presbyopia, neither or both. Duette delivers great vision that is not dependent on the position of the lens, so your vision stays consistently clear and won’t go in and out of focus.
Believe it or not, doctors often think “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, it’s likely that the only way your doctor will know that you’re not satisfied with your current contact lenses is if you make it a point to say so. Don’t ever worry about being perceived as picky. On the contrary, doctors want you to be honest about your needs and expectations. So, if your contact lenses are not providing a stellar experience, speak up. It’s OK to expect more—no matter what ocular condition you may or may not have.