Patients who wear specialist contact lenses are typically managed within the Hospital Eye Service, as most high street opticians do not have the appropriate equipment or expertise. This can be a long and frustrating process due to the limited resources our already stretched NHS is under.
To give patients an alternative route to the NHS, we have developed our Specialist Contact Lens Clinic run by our head Optometrist Stephen Carr.
We are able to offer our patients:
- Reduced waiting times
- Longer appointments, at a time convenient to you
- Continuity of care
- Increased choice of lens types available
Stephen has significant experience in fitting specialist contact lenses to complex eyes, having trained and worked in both the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, and the Eye Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
What Conditions can Specialist Contact Lenses treat?
Specialist contact lenses can be used to improve the vision in patients with more complex conditions, these include:
Irregular shaped eyes
For patients with irregular curvature of the cornea, spectacles and conventional contact lenses often provide inadequate vision. A specialist contact lens provides an artificial regular surface to the eye, enabling the patient to achieve good vision. Conditions we can treat include:
Corneal ectasia: The most common conditions for which specialist contact lenses are used are: keratoconus, keratoglobus, and pellucid marginal degeneration.
Corneal scarring: Sometimes an irregular corneal shape may occur due to a corneal scar resulting from either injury, infection or surgery
Corneal Graft Surgery (Penetrating Keratoplasty): Many patients who undergo a corneal graft will require a specialist contact lens due to the resultant corneal distortion.
Laser Eye Surgery LASIK/LASEK/PRK ectasia: Unfortunately, laser eye surgery can occasionally cause complications that result in poor vision due to irregular corneal curvature.
For patients with complex prescriptions, specialist contact lenses frequently provide better vision than traditional contacts lenses or spectacle lenses; we can offer treatment to patients with:
High Prescriptions: Many patients with very high spectacle prescriptions will achieve better vision through a contact lens when compared to spectacle lenses.
Anisometropia: When a significant difference in the spectacle prescription in each eye creates an imbalance, spectacles can be very difficult to tolerate. Specialist contact lenses can provide much more balanced and tolerable vision.
Aphakia: Where the natural crystalline lens of the eye is absent due to either complicated cataract surgery, injury, or congenital abnormalities. The absence of the natural lens will result in a very high prescription that is often better suited to specialist contact lenses.
Glare: Patients with very large pupils can suffer with glare from bright lights. Large pupils can result from the congenital absence of an iris such as aniridia, or where an iris no longer responds to light due to injury or disease. In these examples a contact lens can be fitted with an artificially small pupil to restrict the amount of light entering the eye to reduce the glare.
We are also able to treat patients for therapeutic purposes, specifically those with recurrent corneal erosions. This occurs when an area of skin on the corneal surface repeatedly tears off resulting in a very painful eye, this is typically caused by a corneal scratch, corneal dystrophies, or sometimes dry eye. A soft contact lens can act as a bandage and help the weak area of skin to heal reducing the risk of further episodes.
Certain conditions can affect the appearance of the eye, for example, a white pupil (leukocoria) can result from eye disease, failed surgery, or retinal detachment. A contact lens can be fitted to simulate a black pupil and improve the cosmetic appearance of the eye.
What is the Specialist Contact Lens Consultation and Fitting Process?
If you have previously been seen within the NHS, or have a condition listed above, and would like to find out more about the specialist contact lenses we offer, please contact us for further information or to book your Specialist Contact Lens Consultation.
Your Specialist Contact Lens Consultation costs £150 and includes all of the following:
1. Your initial consultation appointment
A detailed discussion with your Optometrist will be followed by a thorough examination of your eyes, and a full assessment of your vision and eye health, including topography and a trial lens assessment.
For patients with irregular curvature of the cornea, this will include the curvature of your cornea being mapped in intricate detail using our corneal topographer. This will allow us to custom design the most suitable contact lens for you.
2. Your Contact Lens Collection appointment
Once your contact lenses are ready to collect, a further appointment will be arranged, your Optometrist will complete a further assessment to ensure the safest and most comfortable fit is achieved. Once the fit has been assessed, you will be shown the correct way to insert, remove, and clean your lenses.
3. Contact Lens Follow Up Appointment
We will arrange a follow up appointment, typically 2 to 3 weeks after your initial fitting appointment, to allow your Optometrist to check your progress. If required further follow up appointments will be arranged to finalise your contact lens specification.