Our practice has a full range of contact lens services. Ask the doctor if you're curious about contact lenses and which ones might be right for you. We'll be happy to answer all of your questions and help you try contacts so that you can have the added functionality and flexibility that they offer.
Read on for more information on all of our contact lens services!
Contact Lens Exam
Just like one shoe size doesn't fit all, one contact lens size doesn't fit all. If the curvature of a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your eye's shape, you could experience discomfort or even eye damage. Because of this, the contact lens exam includes elements besides those of the 10 Point Comprehensive Examination. Additional portions of a contact lens fitting may include:
Measurement of your eye's surface and curvature: An instrument called a keratometer will be used to measure the curvature of your eye's clear front surface (cornea). These measurements help Dr. Ellerbrock determine the proper curve and size for your contact lenses.
Tear film evaluation: Contact lens fittings may also include a tear film evaluation. Your eye's moisture content may be evaluated by placing fluorescein dye in your eye through eye drops, and then evaluating how long it takes for the dye to be washed away by your eye's tears. If your eyes don't produce enough moisture and you have severe dry eye, contact lenses may not be right for you. Additionally, certain contact lenses such as those made of silicone hydrogel material may work better for eyes that are dry.
Evaluation of your eye's surface and contact lens fit: The health of your cornea will also be evaluated using a biomicroscope. This lighted instrument with magnification will provide detailed information about your eye's surface as a baseline for Dr. Ellerbrock to evaluate any future changes to your eyes related to contact lens wear. The biomicroscope can also be used to evaluate the fit of a diagnostic pair of lenses, because it allows the doctor to observe alignment of the lens as it rests on the surface of your eye and how much the lens moves after each blink to make sure that the fit is correct.
After finding a contact lens that fits properly, is comfortable for you, and provides good vision, Dr. Ellerbrock will write a contact lens prescription. This prescription will designate contact lens power and a shape matching the curvature of your eye (base curve).
It typically takes about two office visits to complete the contact lens fitting. After that, your eyes will need to be examined once annually so that Dr. Ellerbrock can monitor the health of your eyes. A few patients may need contact lens progress evaluations prior to the annual visit.
Dailey Disposable Contacts
The more frequently you replace your contact lenses, the healthier and more comfortable your eyes can be!
Protein, calcium, lipids and other substances found naturally in your tears can build up on your lenses. These deposits make your contacts less comfortable than when they were new, and can also make your eyes more prone to infection.
Of course, lenses can be cleaned, but cleaning is not 100% effective. Some deposits will remain and increase over time.
The Ultimate in Health and Convenience: Daily Disposables
There are two ways to avoid just about all contact lens care. One is to sleep in your lenses, and then replace your lenses periodically. Unfortunately, sleeping in lenses is not a good idea for everyone, and sleeping in contact lenses increases your risk of eye problems.
The other alternative is daily disposables, also called one-day disposables: contacts that you discard every night and replace in the morning with new ones. Many eye care professionals and contact lens wearers feel that this option offers the best of both worlds. It's convenient because there is no lens cleaning at all. It's healthy because there is no day-to-day lens deposit buildup, and because there is no increased risk of eye problems due to sleeping in lenses.
Daily disposable contact lenses are a great option for kids and teenagers! Because the lenses are thrown in the trash at the end of the day, parents know that their child is getting a clean, healthy lens each day rather than possibly sleeping in their contact lenses or neglecting to clean the lenses properly.
Daily disposable contacts are a special case, because they don't require any cleaning supplies or containers. It depends on the brand and the manufacturer of the lenses, but daily disposables usually cost about $1-2 per day, making them affordable for most people.
Because daily disposables come in boxes of 30 or 90 lenses, they are also a great option for a part-time contact lens wearer. Some people choose to wear contact lenses only for sports or special occasions, daily disposables are safe, healthy, economical way to do this!
Multi Focal Contact Lenses
Once we reach our mid-40s, presbyopia - the normal, age-related loss of flexibility of the lens inside our eye - makes it difficult for us to focus on near objects. In the past, reading glasses were the only option available to contact lens wearers who wanted to read a menu or do other everyday tasks that require good near vision.
But today, a number of multifocal contact lens options are available for you to consider. Multifocal contact lenses offer the best of both worlds: no glasses, along with good near and distance vision.
Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses
A new generation of "super-permeable" contact lenses can transmit unprecedented amounts of oxygen to your cornea and, in some cases, enable 30 consecutive days of wear without removal.
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses represent a breakthrough over traditional hydrogel soft contact lenses, because silicone lets so much oxygen pass through the lens. These lenses allow six to seven times more oxygen through than previous lenses.
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses have caught on with both wearers and eye care practitioners. By 2009, silicone hydrogel lenses were expected to account for 60 percent of U.S. soft contact lens sales.
How Silicone Hydrogel Lenses Work
Traditional soft contact lenses are made from hydrogel polymers (soft, water-containing plastics). The plastic itself is not oxygen permeable, so the water content performs the job of carrying oxygen through the lens to the eye. But water can carry only so much oxygen - and the more water a lens contains, the greater its tendency to dehydrate after long periods of wear.
Silicone is oxygen permeable. So silicone hydrogel lenses use both their water and polymer content to transmit oxygen to the eye.
The benefits to wearers include comfort and convenience:
- Silicone hydrogel contact lenses contain less water than traditional hydrogel lenses. As a result, they aren't as prone to dehydration while you're wearing them. For some people who wear their lenses for long days, this can mean better end-of-day comfort.
- Silicone hydrogels also have made 30-day contact lens wear - sometimes called "continuous wear" - available once again.
30-Day Contact Lens Wear
The initial heyday of 30-day wear was in the 1980s, but that ended due to health and safety concerns.
Want to wear your contact lenses for up to 30 days without removing them? Silicone hydrogel contact lenses could make that possible, if you're a good candidate.
Today's new silicone hydrogel contact lenses provide much more oxygen to the eye than most conventional soft contact lenses, making 30-day extended wear a safer option than before. As well, the lenses are discarded and replaced monthly, preventing long-term buildup of deposits on the lens surface.
Different Flavors of Silicone Hydrogel
Because silicone hydrogel lenses provide increased oxygen to your eyes, 30-day wear isn't the only reason to consider using them.
And in fact, not all silicone hydrogel brands are approved for 30 days of wear. Currently two brands - Night & Day by CIBA Vision, and PureVision from Bausch & Lomb - can be worn for 30 days.
Four other silicone hydrogels - Acuvue Oasys from Johnson and Johnson, O2Optix and AirOptix from CIBA Vision, and CooperVision's Biofinity - are approved for overnight wear of six nights consecutively. Acuvue Advance and CooperVision's Avaira are approved for daily wear only.
Silicone hydrogel lenses generally have a replacement schedule of two to four weeks. But daily disposable silicone hydrogel contact lenses are on the horizon: 1-Day Acuvue TruEye was launched in the UK in 2008.
Should Everyone Be Wearing Silicone Hydrogels?
If you regularly sleep in your lenses, the case for silicone hydrogels is compelling. For daily wear, it's less so. In terms of comfort, some people will find that silicone hydrogel lenses address their dryness and discomfort issues, and others won't see a difference.
30-Day Wear: Not for Everyone
Do you like the idea of dealing with your contact lenses only once a month? Before you become too attached to that thought, it's good to be evaluated by an eye care practitioner. Today just about everyone is a candidate for daytime contact lens wear, but not everyone's eyes can adapt to sleeping in contacts. Further, your eyes may be suited for some overnight wear, but perhaps not for 30 consecutive nights. For example, people who have had previous problems with contacts may not be good candidates for 30-day wear.
Dr. Ellerbrock can help you evaluate the opportunities and risks of 30-day wear, and extended wear in general. If it's not for you, silicone hydrogel lenses for daily wear may be a good option, or you might consider other ultra-convenient options such as daily disposables.
Toric Contact Lenses
Have you been told you can't wear soft contact lenses because you have astigmatism? Or were you told that contact lenses for astigmatism - called "toric" contacts - didn't come in soft disposable materials?
All that was once true, but not today. Unless you have an especially complex prescription, your astigmatism can probably be corrected with soft contacts, and you have many options.
What Are Toric Contact Lenses?
Toric contact lenses are made from the same materials as regular ("spherical") contact lenses, so they can be either soft or gas permeable. The difference is in the design of the lens.
Toric lenses have two powers in them, created with curvatures at different angles. There's also a mechanism to keep the contact lens relatively stable on the eye when you blink or look around. To provide crisp vision, toric contact lenses cannot rotate on your eye.
Toric Contact Lens Cost
Properly fitting a toric lens takes more of your Dr. Ellerbrock's time and requires more expertise than regular contacts. Consequently you can expect that a fitting for torics will cost slightly more than a regular contact lens fitting. The lenses themselves also cost slightly more than spherical lenses.
Soft or Rigid Gas Permeable?
A small percentage of patients will find that they prefer rigid gas permeable lenses over soft contacts. Because rigid lenses retain their shape on the cornea better than soft lenses, they tend to provide crisper vision to people who have astigmatism. However, this degree of difference in crispness is not noticeable for most contact lens wearers.
Many brands of soft toric lenses are available today, so your eyecare practitioner can choose the brand with the best characteristics for your particular eyes. Torics are available as frequent replacement, disposable and even daily disposable lenses. Talk with Dr. Ellerbrock to see if toric contact lenses are right for you!
Contact Lens Fitting Policy
Fitting and Evaluation Period
Our fees for contact lenses include all progress visits and materials provided to you during the fitting period. There will be no additional charges for changes in lens type or power during this period unless you have a special request not covered by this policy. The fitting period includes all progress visits until the doctor is satisfied you have a proper fit. Thereafter you will need either annual or semiannual examinations that are not included in the fitting fee.
The Patient's Responsibility
It is important to periodically evaluate your contact lenses after they have been worn. Depending on the type of lens, this evaluation period may be several days, weeks, or months from the initial fitting. Failure to return for a progress examination may jeopardize the health of your eyes as well as cause unnecessary discomfort. If you cannot keep an appointment, please advise our office as soon as possible in advance of the appointments so that we may schedule another patient at your time. It is yourresponsibility to reschedule any progress examinations that have been cancelled.
Contact Lens Fitting Fees
Only the fees for the professional fitting of the contact lenses are due at the time of the fitting. The fee for your supply of contact lenses is not due until the contact lenses are purchased. If you or the doctor decide that contact lenses prove to be unsatisfactory for you and a decision is made to terminate the fitting procedure, you will pay only for the professional time spent in examinations and fittings.
Fitting fees are determined by the type of contact lens being and the complexity of the fitting process, as some types of lenses have a more difficult and time-consuming fitting process and may require more diagnostic lenses.