Many people who need refractive correction choose to wear contact lenses in addition to or instead of eyeglasses. While some refractive errors cannot be adequately addressed with contacts and some people are unable to tolerate them, the majority of contact lens wearers are very satisfied with the fit and function of their lenses.
The most common types of contacts are either soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP). Soft contact lenses are categorized by how long they may be worn, how often they should be replaced, and the type of refractive error they are designed to correct. Dr. Shin recommends removing contact lenses every day and advises against wearing them while sleeping due to the high risk of damage to the cornea. Most contact lenses prescribed today are disposable lenses that are changed every day, every two weeks, or every month. Spherical lenses correct for myopia and hyperopia. Toric lenses are designed to correct for astigmatism, in addition to myopia and hyperopia. Presbyopic patients can wear multifocal lenses, or thanks to recent advances, toric multifocal lenses.
A contact lens fitting is required to discern the best lens option and to determine that the chosen lens sits comfortably on the eye. Contact lenses that are not fit properly can cause serious and in some cases irreversible damage to the eye(s). We offer a wide range of soft contact lens options to our patients but will refer to a qualified optometrist if a more complex fitting, for example on a previous refractive surgery patient with an abnormally-shaped cornea is required.
Dr. Shin also uses contact lenses in her medical practice to help patients. For example, bandage contact lenses alleviate discomfort caused by certain corneal conditions or can be placed over a corneal amniotic membrane while the cornea heals. Likewise, high-power contact lenses can help combat amblyopia for children with a significant prescription difference between the eyes or can eliminate intolerable aniseikonia, i.e. size difference between the images seen with each eye.