contact lenses as therapeutic devices


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Therapeutic Contact Lenses

Contact lenses have been used to treat things other than poor vision since the early seventies. Today contact lenses are used for many treatment purposes. From the patient’s perspective the primary treatment is pain relief. Contact lenses can be used for corneal epithelial healing, particularly in the case of lacerations, holes in the cornea, and bullous keratopothy. They can be used to prevent corneal edema. Contact lenses can be used to prevent secondary infection (if care is used) and corneal vascularization. They can be used for non-surgical treatment of corneal epithelial disease

There are many non-surgical uses for bandage contact lens therapy. Recurrent corneal erosions occurring in such conditions as posthypertic keratitis, calcific band keratopathy, epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, and abrasive trauma are cured through bandage contact lens therapy. In these cases, symptoms such as pain/discomfort, haziness, and photophobia are completely relieved.

Bandage contact lens therapy provides pain relief and improved visual activity in many other cases. These include but are not limited to trichias, filamentary keratitis and infectious or neutrophic keratopothy. This therapy also provides pain relief in other disorders such as superior limbic keratitis, and Thygson’s superficial punctuates keratitis.

Bandage contact lenses are also used to treat corneal ulcers that are infectious, trophic, or auto immune related. In this case to enhance stromal vascularization, a hydrophilic, thick, low water content lenses with high oxygen permeability is best.

Post operatively, bandage contact lenses are beneficial in reducing subepithelial scars and haze formation. The contact lens shields the bare stroma from trauma from the eyelid. The lenses are used to prevent pain reduce bleb enlargement, and seal leaks, after glaucoma surgery.

The course of bandage contact lens therapy has changed since its beginnings and changes still. Advances in contact lens development have led to an experimental process revealing different healing qualities of different contact lenses. Initially hydrophilic soft contact lenses, which were thick, with low water content and oxygen permeability, were used in bandage therapy. They successfully decreased pain and aided epithelial healing. But they were not successful enough. With improved hydration and better design the success rate reached 71%, and improved greater still with the use of hydrogel disposable lenses. The advance of the extra thin gylceryl methacrylate lens decreased the occurrence of papillary conjunctivitis. Corneal vascularization was reduced with the use of silicone elastometer lenses, as they have very high oxygen permeability. The silicone hydrogel lens, with high oxygen permeability and a stabile post lens tear film results in decrease deposit formation, tight lens syndrome and infection. As mentioned earlier hydrophilic, thick, low water content lenses treat infectious ulcers best.

It becomes apparent that different lenses are used to treat different diagnosis. Talk to your doctor about which Bandage Contact Lens Therapy is best for you and your particular diagnosis.

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