A contact lens is a thin piece of plastic which floats on the cornea to provide vision correction. With advances in contact lenses, almost everyone can now wear contact lenses. Contact lenses can correct myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. Our practice offers all types of lenses and fits all of the major brands of contact lenses. There are two categories of contact lenses - soft and gas permeable.
Medical insurance plans do not consider contact lenses medically necessary, and will not cover contact lenses or lens fitting. Our fee for fitting a new patient with contact lenses or fitting an existing contact lens wearer with a different type of contact lens is $250. An annual exam is required for contact lens wearers, since a contact lens prescription is only good for one year. This annual exam would usually be covered by insurance. A refraction would also be necessary to see if the contact lens power needs to be adjusted. The refraction is covered by some, but not all insurance companies. However, if you have been wearing contact lenses, you would not be charged a contact lens fitting fee to just adjust the power in the same brand and type of lens you have been wearing.
Soft Contact Lenses
The majority of patients wear soft contact lenses. There are soft contact lenses for myopia and hyperopia, as well as toric lenses for astigmatism correction and multifocals for patients over 40 who are presbyopic. For some patients who are presbyopic and need a different power for distance compared to reading, we can fit the patient for monovision. This is where one contact lens, usually in the dominant eye, is fitted for distance and the other eye is fitted for reading. Soft contact lenses can be either Daily Wear Lenses that you take out each night or Extended Wear Lenses with which you can sleep.
Daily Wear Lenses
Daily Wear Lenses are made of a soft plastic polymer. They are put in each morning and taken out each night. When they are taken out, they are placed in a multi-purpose cleaning and disinfecting solution. This type of lens is usually worn for one to two months and then replaced.
Another type of Daily Wear Lens is the One Day Disposable. This lens is worn for one day and then discarded. Some patients like the convenience of not having to disinfect this lens overnight. The cost per lens of this type of lens is very low, but the overall cost per year is much higher than a regular daily wear lens, since the patient uses 365 pairs of lenses a year.
Extended Wear Lenses
Some soft contact lenses are more oxygen permeable and can be worn while you sleep. This type of lens is usually worn continuously for two weeks or four weeks (depending on the brand of lens) and then discarded prior to going to sleep. This would give the patient one night without the lens. Not everyone is a candidate for Extended Wear Lenses. Patients with dry eyes or other corneal problems are not candidates for Extended Wear Lenses. You should not sleep with a contact lens unless your doctor says you are a candidate for extended wear.
Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
Gas permeable contact lenses are made of a rigid oxygen permeable plastic. They are used primarily in patients with high myopia, a lot of astigmatism or keratoconus. This type of lens is harder to get used to and requires a gradual buildup of wearing time. It is smaller than a soft contact lens and is more likely to come out of the eye or slip off of the cornea with sports. These lenses are very durable and usually last one to two years.