Specialty Contact Lenses: A Deep Dive into Toric, Multifocal, and Orthokeratology Lenses

Contact lenses have come a long way since their inception. From being mere vision correctors, they have evolved into specialized tools catering to a variety of eye conditions.

This evolution has been a boon for those with specific vision needs, as they can now opt for lenses tailored to their requirements.

Among the myriad of options available, three types stand out for their unique functionalities: toric lenses for astigmatism, multifocal lenses for presbyopia, and orthokeratology lenses that work their magic overnight.

container for soft contact lenses with one contact laying on top

Specialty Contact Lenses

Let’s delve deeper into these specialty lenses.

1. Toric Lenses for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or lens inside the eye. This irregularity leads to blurred or distorted vision at all distances.

Enter toric lenses. Some of the well-known ones include Biofinity Toric, Air Optix for Astigmatism, and Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism .

Unlike regular spherical lenses that have the same power throughout, toric lenses have two different powers in one lens: one for astigmatism and another for either myopia (short-sightedness) or hyperopia (long-sightedness).

Design and Functionality: Toric lenses are designed with a particular orientation, ensuring they remain stable on the eye. They often have a slightly heavier bottom, allowing them to sit correctly and not rotate, ensuring consistent vision.

Benefits: For those with astigmatism, toric lenses provide clearer vision than regular spherical lenses. They are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) forms, catering to individual comfort preferences.

2. Multifocal Lenses for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is an age-related condition where the eye’s lens loses its flexibility, making it difficult to focus on close objects. It usually starts to manifest around the age of 40. Multifocal contact lenses are the answer to this challenge.

Design and Functionality: Multifocal lenses incorporate multiple prescriptions in one lens, allowing for clear vision at different distances.

They can be compared to bifocal or progressive eyeglasses. The lens has different zones of power, facilitating a seamless transition from near to intermediate to distant vision.

Benefits: These lenses eliminate the need for carrying separate reading glasses. They are available in both soft and RGP forms, and some designs even offer a blended visual field, reducing the abrupt change between prescriptions.

3. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) Lenses

Orthokeratology, often referred to as Ortho-K, is a non-surgical procedure that uses specially designed contact lenses to temporarily reshape the cornea, correcting refractive errors.

Design and Functionality: Ortho-K lenses are rigid and are worn overnight. As you sleep, these lenses apply a controlled shape to the cornea. Upon waking up and removing the lenses, the wearer can experience clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses throughout the day.

Benefits: Ortho-K is particularly popular among those who are not suitable candidates for LASIK surgery or those who engage in sports and prefer not to wear lenses during the day. Additionally, some studies suggest that Ortho-K can slow the progression of myopia in children.

Our Final Thoughts

The world of contact lenses is vast and ever-evolving, with innovations continually pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

Whether it’s the precision of toric lenses, the convenience of multifocal lenses, or the transformative power of Ortho-K, specialty contact lenses have revolutionized the way we address unique vision needs.

As technology advances, we can only anticipate even more groundbreaking solutions in the realm of eye care.

For now, those with specific visual challenges can rejoice in the knowledge that there’s likely a specialty lens out there tailored just for them.