Specialty Contact Lens

Rebecca Emiah, OD
Boris Severinsky, OD, FAAO, FBCLA, FSLS

The Specialty Contact Lens Service evaluates patients of all ages (including infants) who have a variety of ocular conditions that require contact lens correction. We use the most advanced contact le>ns technology and instrumentation, and can fit patients for every type of contact lens from basic disposable soft lenses to the most specialized and complex of all types.

Specialty contact lenses allow people with a wide range of medical conditions to have normal vision and function. This includes patients who have:
• Keratoconus, corneal ectasia, and Intacs corneal implants
• Post-corneal transplantation and corneal cross-linking
• Complex cataract surgery
• Irregular or scarred corneas from trauma
• Severe dry eye syndrome, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), Sjögren’s syndrome, neurotrophic keratitis, or Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Our specialists also treat infants and young children with ocular conditions that require a contact lens so their vision system can develop normally. These conditions might include:
• Aphakia after congenital cataract surgery
• Trauma or corneal scarring resulting in poor vision
• High or unequal eyeglasses prescription

We offer every type of contact lens, including:
• Gas-permeable corneal and scleral lenses
• Specialized keratoconus lenses (custom soft, hybrid, and scleral)
• Extended-wear contact lenses for aphakia
• Colored lenses and tinted lenses for light-sensitive eyes
• Disposable lenses and daily-wear soft lenses
• Lifestyle contact lenses (such as multifocal and bifocal) to provide independence from reading glasses

Customized Contact Lenses

Customized specialty lenses are created specifically for your situation. Emory Eye Center offers the most current lenses and our providers are able to individualize them for you.

Scleral Contact Lenses
A scleral lens is a large contact lens that rests on the sclera (the white outer layer of the eye) and creates a tear-filled vault over the cornea. Scleral lenses are designed to treat a variety of eye conditions, many of which do not respond to other forms of treatment. They offer clarity and comfort for patients who have been previously told they were not good candidates for contacts or who have been unsuccessful with other types of contact lenses. All scleral lenses we fit are custom made to address the patient’s individual needs.

Sophisticated curves in the design create a protective reservoir, or tear layer, between the eye and the lens. This layer continuously hydrates the eye and protects the eye from contact with the lens and from conditions in the environment such as wind, dust, and allergens.How do scleral lenses work?
Sophisticated curves in the design create a protective reservoir, or tear layer, between the eye and the lens. This layer continuously hydrates the eye and protects the eye from contact with the lens and from conditions in the environment such as wind, dust, and allergens.

Scleral cover shell lenses are prosthetic contact lenses. Like a scleral lens, the weight rests on the sclera and vaults over the cornea. It can provide clear vision and high levels of comfort to patients with irregularly shaped corneas and patients with severe ocular dryness.

Scleral lenses can improve vision and reduce pain and light sensitivity for people with a number of disorders or injuries to the eye: keratoconus, corneal ectasia, dry eye syndrome, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), Sjögren’s syndrome, neurotrophic keratopathy/keratitis (anesthetic corneas), and many others. Patients who cannot close their eyes completely can experience improved comfort with the use of scleral lenses.

Scleral lenses have been highly successful for patients with complications following LASIK / RK / PRK, corneal transplant, and PMD (pellucid marginal degeneration) surgery. Injuries to the eye due to surgical complications or chemical and burn injuries also may be corrected with scleral lenses.

Each lens is completely unique, designed and manufactured to provide an exact match for the shape of each individual eye. The lenses are oxygen-permeable. They are treated with a special coating to reduce friction and help patients adapt to them more easily. The coating also reduces protein and lipid deposits. These characteristics combine for increased comfort, eye health, and vision quality.

Scleral cover shell lenses are designed to provide better vision and quality of life for people who are extremely visually impaired and have struggled to find effective solutions. They have been used to treat conditions such as keratoconus, ocular surface disease (including dry eye), trauma, extreme cases of deformed eyes, chemical burns, post-surgical corneas (including corneal transplants and post LASIK), and limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD).


Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
Gas permeable contact lenses are made of rigid, durable plastic that transmits oxygen. They also are known as GP lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, RGP lenses, and oxygen permeable lenses.

Gas permeable lenses are made from a firm plastic material that retains its shape. The rigidity helps provide sharper vision than what most patients have with soft lenses. RGP lenses also are extremely durable. They can last for up to two years with proper care if you don’t require a prescription change.One potential drawback of RGP lenses is that they have a longer adjustment period than soft contact lenses. It might take 2 to 4 weeks before you’re comfortable wearing them

Gas permeable contacts can be the best choice for many patients. You might consider them if:
• You are willing to go through a longer period of adjusting to contact lenses in order to have the sharpest vision possible
• You have astigmatism and haven’t been able to reach the level of visual acuity you want with soft lenses
• You’ve had age-related changes in your nearby focus (RGP lenses come in numerous bifocal and multifocal designs)
• You have keratoconus or need contact lenses after refractive surgery


Hybrid Contact Lenses
Hybrid contact lenses are a combination of RGP and soft lenses. The center of the contact is made of rigid gas permeable lens material, and the outer area is made of soft lens material (either silicone or regular hydrogel).

These lenses can be an excellent choice for patients who want the sharpness of vision they get with an RGP lens along with the comfort similar to a soft lens. A variety of hybrid lenses are available, including progressive and multifocal options to correct presbyopia and designs to correct keratoconus and other corneal problems.

Specialty Prosthetic and Tinted Contact Lenses
Many factors (such as trauma to the eye, a disease process, or a congenital condition) can cause a person’s eyes to look different from normal. Prosthetic and soft tinted (or painted) contact lenses can offer cosmetic, therapeutic, and psychological benefits for these patients.

Prosthetic contact lenses improve the appearance of scarred or disfigured eyes by covering a cloudy or opaque cornea, helping that eye better match the undamaged eye. These lenses not only improve cosmetic appearance, they also provide psychological benefits by helping improve the patient’s self-image and interpersonal relationships.

Conditions such as aniridia (being born without an iris) or achromatopsia (partial or total absence of color vision) can make a person very sensitive to light. Special contact lenses that are tinted red or brown in the center can improve vision and make the patient more comfortable by blocking the light and reducing glare.

Special lenses also can reduce or eliminate double vision when regular eyeglasses or conventional contacts do not help.

multicolored contact lenses
Emory Eye Center’s specialty contact lens service is led by Boris Severinsky. Dr. Severinsky is an internationally recognized leader in the field and is active in contact lens research, development, and education.

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