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Our goal in contact lens fitting is to provide you with lenses that give you clear and comfortable vision, are safe, are easy to use and acquire. With the vast array of contact lenses on the market, who you select to obtain them does make a difference between reaching this goal and not.
Contact Lens Types
Soft Lenses: Soft or hydrogel lenses are soft lenses that are made of water containing plastics. Hydrogel lens materials have varying degrees of oxygen permeability. Newer silicone hydrogel materials allow even more oxygen to pass through these lenses, reducing the risk for chronic oxygen deprivation of the cornea.
Soft contact lenses are larger than the diameter of the cornea, draping over the entire cornea that make these lenses more comfortable. They can be used to correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness or presbyopia (loss of ability to focus at near over 40 years of age). But, because these lenses conform to the surface of the cornea, they do not correct for corneal optical considerations such as astigmatism. In such cases, special soft lenses called toric lenses are used. The comfort and versatility of soft lenses enables us to fit them not only for conventional daily wear but also for extended wear, multifocal use, cosmetic color, and special purposes post-surgical, and more.
Silicon Hydrogel Soft Lenses: Silicon hydrogel soft lenses are arguably one of the best developments ever in the history of contact lenses. Silicon is a material that has been used in RPG contact lenses for over the past 50 years to increase oxygen permeability. Since Silicon has great oxygen permeable properties, it has been incorporated into soft hydrogel contact lenses and now increase oxygen permeability to an over four fold increase over the standard hydrogel lenses.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses: Rigid gas permeable lenses are made of plastics without the water content that is present in soft contact lenses. These lenses are often used to correct irregularities in the corneal surface such as high astigmatism. They can also be used to mask the effects of corneal scarring, corneal distortion such as keratoconus or following surgery of the cornea such as corneal transplants. RGP lenses can also be used for multifocal corrections. They provide excellent optical correction and are do not dry out in the same way that soft contact lenses do.
Wearing Schedules and Disposal Intervals: Contact lenses are most commonly worn for day time use or daily wear. Some people wear their lenses overnight or extended wear. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain lenses for this type of wearing schedule. Not every eye is suited for extended wear and the risks for extended wear should be discussed with your practitioner.
Daily lenses are typically replaced on a regular interval for best eye health. The replacement schedule can vary from daily (single use lenses, good for patients with allergies and solution sensitivities) to the more common intervals: semimonthly (every 2 weeks) and monthly. Certain lenses are replaced quarterly to annually—although this replacement schedule is more typical for semi-custom or custom specialty lenses. Disposable lenses replaced on a regular basis do not develop the same types of contact lens deposits that could cause discomfort or irritation to the eye.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I start?
As part of our goal of providing our patients with clear, comfortable and healthy vision, we feel that it is important to have your eyes thoroughly examined within 6 months of your contact lens fitting. A contact lens fitting can be scheduled at the same time as your eye examination, or as a separate appointment with one of our optometric physicians.
Will they hurt?
We have all experienced an eyelash, or dust that irritates our eyes. Soft contact lenses are designed to be worn comfortably for long periods, and as such, are very comfortable to wear.
RGP contact lenses are less comfortable initially, but become more comfortable with adaptation over approximately two-four weeks. An appealing RGP contact lens alternative that corrects your vision during sleep and is removed during the day is the CRT contact lens. The discomfort associated with daytime RGP contact lens wear is eliminated with CRT contacts.
What is involved in being fit for contacts?
During your contact lens evaluation, one of our professional staff will discuss your lifestyle, occupational and visual needs. This will help to determine the contact lens option that best suits these needs. Measurements will be made to appropriately match the fit of the lens to your eye. A pair of trial lenses will enable you to test the contact lenses in your normal work and home environments. A staff member will train you on the proper insertion, removal and care of your new lenses. You will then be scheduled for a follow-up appointment to determine if the contact lenses are meeting your needs and our goals for clear, comfortable and safe wear.
What cost considerations should I be aware of for my contact lens fitting and follow up?
We offer an affordable one-time evaluation fee and also per visit evaluations, these fees vary by the complexity of the fit. This fee covers the fitting and all contact lens-related evaluations necessary within a set global period until our goals of successful contact lens wear is met. You will then be given a contact lens prescription valid for two years in the state of Washington.
Are contact lens prescriptions the same as a prescription for glasses?
A prescription for spectacle lenses or glasses describes the power of the lens needed to see clearly and comfortably, while a contact lens prescription contains additional specifications. Contact lens prescriptions often differ from spectacle lens prescriptions because the power is adjusted for the difference in the lens position in front of the eye. Contact lens prescriptions are valid for two years in the state of Washington.
Are all contact lenses essentially the same?
Contact lenses can be made of different materials and may also be treated with special coatings to make them more comfortable. Some of these lenses have special filters to provide ultraviolet protection. Some lenses are more breathable or wettable than others. There are specifications of the contact lenses that are necessarily to provide the most appropriate fit of the lens to your eye. Once the parameters of your contact lenses have been finalized, similar soft contact lenses may be ordered through any qualified contact lens distributor. Rigid gas permeable contact lenses may have unique characteristics depending on the lab that manufactured that particular lens design.
How do I order contact lenses?
You may easily order contact lenses online with your valid contact lens prescription.
We invite you to experience the standard we set in Issaquah for expertise and selection in ophthalmic lenses. Each of our opticians personally tests advancements in lens brands and features for meaningful innovations that best suit your expectations of lens functionality, and durability.
Anti-reflective: (AR) coatings improve your vision by significantly reducing annoying reflections on the surface of your lenses. They enhance your appearance by eliminating glare and bright spots in the lenses. Anti-reflective coatings decrease unwanted reflections from overhead office lights, sunshine, and car headlights. AR coatings smooth the surface of the lens and allow more light to be transmitted through the lens, resulting in sharper images. High quality AR coatings are more scratch resistant and easier to clean. At Issaquah Vision, we have selected Alizé non-glare lenses due to their excellence in function and durability.
Aspheric Lenses: Aspheric lenses permit thinner designs through advanced computer design technology. The result is a thinner lens design and decreased weight of the lens. Aspheric lenses can offer outstanding comfort, plus cosmetic and optical benefits.
Bifocal and Reading Glasses: Bifocal and reading only glasses are commonly used for certain activities such as computer use in cubicle settings, reading in bed or reading while doing other activities requiring clear distance vision e.g. TV watching. Bifocal and reading glasses give a wide area for reading with minimal distortion.
Computer Lenses: Computer lenses are advanced progressive addition lenses which enable you to comfortably view your monitor in a proper ergonomic head posture, and allow you to read at closer distances at the same time. Proper focus, head angle, and correct ergonomic placement of your computer monitor will decrease eyestrain, neckache, backache and decrease stress headaches.
High Index: High index lenses can efficiently focus light while decreasing the weight of higher powered prescriptions. There are many high index lenses available. Our opticians will help you to determine if high index lenses are appropriate for you, and if so, which type would be best for your prescription and frame size choice.
While many high index lenses are also aspheric, not everyone is suited to wear them due to bothersome blur when looking away from the center of the lenses. Our licensed opticians are trained to diagnose such problems and are able to customize high index lens designs to exclude asphericity when indicated.
Impact resistant lenses: Trivex/Polycarbonate. Trivex lenses are plastic lenses that are extremely light and strong. This lens material can replace older polycarbonate lenses due to its superior scratch resistance and optical quality. Approximately ten times more impact- resistant than conventional plastic lenses, Trivex lenses are also thinner than conventional plastic and are attractively priced. We recommend Trivex lenses for those with moderate prescriptions seeking lightweight lenses.
Photochromic: Photochromic lenses change from light to dark and back again depending upon their exposure to ultraviolet or UV light. Photochromic lenses are available in a wide array of plastic materials that turn grey or brown. These lenses are also 100% UV absorptive and are available with polarization to cut out glare in windows, from roads, and on water. A clip-on sunglass may be needed over photochromic lenses while you are driving since car windows typically block the ultraviolet light needed to darken photochromic lenses. A newer lens technology, the Drivewear lens by Younger Optics, is both a polarized and photochromic lens that can respond to changes in lighting even behind car windows.
Polarized: Polarized sunglasses filter out glare and reflections off of flat surfaces, making them an attractive lens feature for virtually everyone who treks outdoors on sunny days. Driving, fishing, golf, and skiing are a few of the activities where polarized lenses add significant visual comfort over conventional sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses can be worn easily in lower light situations, forests, tunnels and in the low light levels late in the day. We recommend polarized lenses with antireflective coating to further enhance optical quality.
Progressive Add Lenses (PALs): No line bifocal lenses allow you to focus in the distance, mid-range (computer), and closer for reading. As you naturally look from the distance to reading material up close, the lenses adjust your focus for you. There is a gradual change in power from top distance to the lower reading area of the lens. This provides focusing power for multiple focal points over an extended range of distances compared to bifocal or trifocal lenses. Newer advanced designs incorporate high-definition digitally surfaced lens technology, which widens the usable reading area, and enhances overall visual comfort by reducing the peripheral distortion and blur inherent to older PALs. We have had tremendous success with Vision Source’s proprietary TruClear HD PAL. Our opticians will guide you in the best choice for your prescription and visual needs.
Scratch Resistance: Plastic lenses are highly susceptible to scratches. Special coatings can be applied to any plastic lenses that make the lenses more resistant to scratches resulting from normal use. At Issaquah Vision, we feel that scratch resistant coatings are so important that this coating is included in even our basic lens package.
UV Protection: Ultraviolet protection is an important feature of your spectacle lenses, blocking radiation that can increase the risk for certain eye conditions such as cataract, macular degeneration and eyelid cancers with chronic exposure. Certain lenses such as photochromic lenses and traditional sunglass lenses provide ultraviolet protection due to the filtering effects of the tinted lens. Clear lenses can have an ultraviolet protective treatment applied as well. We recommend ultraviolet protection as a general eye health benefit especially if you are active outdoors.