Dr. Ernest Kornmehl is a respected ophthalmologist offering a range of sophisticated vision correction treatments. In addition to being regarded as a leading Boston LASIK surgeon, he is also acknowledged as a leading Boston contact lens expert. In the paragraphs below, Dr. Kornmehl provides information about contacts and how to choose the most appropriate lenses.
About Contact Lenses
Over the last decades, advancements in contact lens technology have made these vision correction devices more popular than ever. Due to their small size, contact lenses are virtually invisible, making them an excellent choice for people who need vision correction but do not want to wear glasses. In addition, today’s contact lenses are made of gel-like plastics, making them more comfortable and less irritating for the eye. As a highly experienced Boston contact lens specialist, Dr. Kornmehl conducts thorough evaluations to determine the best type of contact lenses for each patient.
Types of Contact Lenses
Monovision With Contact Lenses
Monovision is a solution for presbyopia, or the age-related decline of the eye’s focusing power. With age, the eye’s lens loses its flexibility and can no longer change shape to focus on both near and distant objects. Monovision involves wearing one contact lens that corrects for near vision and another that corrects for distance vision. The eyes then work together to clearly and comfortably see objects far away and up close.
Toric Contact Lenses
Toric contacts are intended to correct for astigmatism, which is a condition in which the curvature of the cornea is abnormally shaped. A normal cornea is spherical, whereas a cornea with astigmatism has a more oval or oblong shape. This abnormal curvature causes blurry vision at any distance, and standard spherical contacts cannot provide the necessary vision correction. Toric contacts are shaped to compensate for the abnormal curvature, with different focusing powers on different portions of the lens. This allows the eyes to see clearly no matter where they are looking.
Prosthetic Contact Lenses
Prosthetic contacts conceal scarring or eye disfigurements due to trauma or congenital defects. In cases where the eye does not function correctly due to the disfigurement, prosthetic lenses can also provide protection from excess light to reduce glare. Prosthetic lenses are custom designed to match the appearance of the unaffected eye.
Disposable Contact Lenses
Disposable contacts have a very short lifespan compared to traditional lenses. Some are worn and discarded every two weeks, and others, called daily disposable contacts, are discarded at the end of every day. Because disposable contacts are designed to be worn for only a short time, they require much less care and cleaning than traditional contacts. They also acquire less buildup, scratches and signs of wear. Daily disposable contacts are the best option because there is minimal contact lens hygiene required, and they provide the freshest and cleanest lenses possible.
Custom Contact Lenses
Custom contacts are recommended for individuals who cannot wear regular contacts. They are available in gas permeable and soft materials.
Finding the Right Contact Lens
In order to obtain the best vision correction results possible, it is important to choose your contact lenses very carefully. During your contact lens consultation, Dr. Kornmehl will evaluate your vision to determine what type of correction you need for your myopia, hyperopia and/or astigmatism and presbyopia. He will measure your eye to choose a lens that fits your eye’s diameter and curvature. The result of this process is a contact lens prescription that provides both excellent vision correction and also complements your lifestyle.
Wearing and Taking Care of Contact Lenses
Contact lenses should be removed each night before you go to bed. Always wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses; use contact solution rather than tap water to disinfect and soak your lenses when not in use. By keeping your contact case clean, you can prevent bacteria growth on the lenses.
Putting In Contact Lenses
Once your hands are clean, rinse your contact lens with contact solution. Gently set the rounded side of your lens on your fingertip (preferably your index or middle finger). Check the lens for chips, cracks and scratches by holding it up to a light. If it is undamaged, then it should be safe to put in your eye.
Looking at a mirror, use your free hand to hold open the eyelids. Look either forward or slightly upward as you use your fingertip to press the lens against the colored portion of your eye (AKA the iris). Blinking repeatedly is the best approach for checking that the lens is secure. If the lens feels uncomfortable or loose, remove the lens and begin again.
Repeat these same steps to put the lens in your other eye.
Taking Off Contact Lenses
Start by washing and drying your hands. Use the middle finger on your dominant hand to pull the lower lid downward while having your non-dominant hand hold open the upper lid. Then, while looking in a mirror, use your index finger and thumb on the dominant hand to gently pinch the lens, carefully pulling it away from the eye. If gripping the lens poses a problem, try putting contact solution on your fingers. You may also try to slide the lens (if it is soft) to the corner of the eye where it should then fall out.
Repeat the same steps to remove the lens in the other eye.
Contact Lens FAQs
Is it safe to wear contact lenses?
Contact lenses are considered safe when used correctly. Your risk of infection or injury is higher if you fail to clean and store your contact lenses as instructed. If you feel that you may not want to put forth the effort to take care of your contacts, you are probably a better candidate for eyeglasses to overcome your refractive errors. Daily wear disposable contact lenses have the lowest risk of infection.
Is a contact prescription the same as my glasses prescription?
No, different measurements are usually required for contact lenses and glasses, primarily because these lenses sit at different distances from the eye. The higher your prescription is, the more disparate they are likely to be. When having an eye exam, make sure to specify whether you are interested in glasses, contacts or both.
Is it okay if I switch between contact lenses and glasses?
It is fine to alternate between using eyeglasses and contacts if that is your preference. It can even provide your eyes some rest and relief if you occasionally wear glasses instead of your contacts. You may also choose to wear contacts only when doing certain activities like playing sports or going on dates. Dr. Kornmehl recommends that you have a pair of glasses as a backup in case your contact lens breaks or you suffer an eye injury that makes contact lens use unrealistic.