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Scleral lenses and Your Insurance Provider

When vision starts to become blurry, the immediate solution is to see an eye doctor and purchase a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. In some cases, a person may elect for LASIK surgery, which comes at a much higher price tag.

On rare occasions, a patient may not benefit from wearing standard eyeglasses or contact lenses and is not a candidate for LASIK. These “hard-to-fit’ patients require a more advanced form of treatment like scleral lenses in order to restore their vision to normal. When patients discover they require more advanced vision correction, they have to face new challenges like adjusting to their new eyewear and, more pressing, the additional costs. We’ve put together some brief tips below to help our scleral lens patients take advantage of their insurances to reduce the burden and achieve visual success.

Medical Insurances & Scleral Lenses Houston, Texas

While our vision is vital for daily activities, many medical insurances are very restrictive in how they cover any service related to eyewear. Although medical insurances are used for specific eye care services, purchasing eyewear is often not covered — not even partially. Our practice can review with you the specific details regarding your medical insurance, and whether or not you can expect coverage for a pair of scleral lenses. In general, medical insurances are best used towards the eye exams and diagnostic measurements.

Vision Insurances and Scleral Lenses in Bellaire, Texas

Contrary to medical insurance, vision insurance plans are meant to reduce the costs for eyewear purchases. For some of our patients who have vision insurance with a contact lens plan, such as through EyeMed or VSP, a large portion of their scleral lenses will be covered. Please keep in mind that vision insurance policies differ. How much vision insurance will cover a specialty contact lens like scleral lenses is never concrete. Also, the experience of one patient may be totally different from the outcome of another patient’s experience.

This is why we recommend patients to schedule a consultation at our practice. We’ve seen many patients benefit a lot from their vision insurance plans, and we’ve guided numerous patients on how to maximize their coverage. Ultimately, we want our patients to enjoy the best possible vision for their eyes, and scleral lenses are often the solution.

One of the major reasons keratoconus patients and others with corneal irregularities come to our practice is precisely for our knowledge, experience, and expertise. Each specialty contact lens consultation will assess what are your visual needs and budget to develop the perfect pair of contacts. If you’re looking for scleral lenses and want to learn how your insurances can provide you coverage, call us today or schedule a consult online.

Young Woman Smiling 1280×480

Where Do Scleral Lenses Fit In Your Dry Eye Treatment Protocol?

DES It is among the top drivers that lead patients to seek help from eye care professionals trained in treating dry eyes.

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a highly common condition that occurs when your tear glands don’t produce enough tears or when your tears evaporate too quickly. This condition can be temporary or chronic and is characterized by dry, itchy, stinging and irritated eyes.

Curiously, a recent survey revealed that out of the more than 30 million Americans who have symptoms of Dry Eye, only half of those are diagnosed, and an even smaller number receives the medical attention they need. These numbers are a concern since there are millions of people needlessly suffering from a treatable condition.

If you’re suffering from dry eye, contact Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center today. We offer effective and lasting treatments that are sure to improve your quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

Dry Eye can be caused by several factors, such as aging, medication, environmental changes, hormonal changes, allergies, among others. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Crusty eyelids
  • Dryness
  • Grittiness
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning
  • Intense eye pain
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Sensation of something stuck in the eye

How Can Scleral Lenses Help With Dry Eye?

Scleral lenses are customized rigid lenses that tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye.

Due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting, scleral lenses offer an excellent solution for dry eyes. They decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness in those with dry eyes.

While scleral lenses can provide relief to patients suffering from DES, the question is deciding on the right time to incorporate scleral lenses into a dry eye treatment plan.

Scleral lenses should not be the primary treatment method

Despite their countless benefits, scleral lenses should not be the primary therapy or treatment method for patients with mild to moderate dry eye syndrome. Eye practitioners often advise to try out prior treatment options first.

Additional Dry Eye treatment methods include:

  • Environment modifications
  • Improved eyelid hygiene
  • Nighttime goggles
  • Nighttime lubrication
  • Prescription dry eye medications
  • Preservative-free eyedrops

Scleral lenses as a tertiary therapy

Scleral lenses should only serve as tertiary therapy after overnight treatment options and prescription medications such as moisture goggles or ointment have been exhausted. That said, scleral lenses should be incorporated before the long-term use of steroids, surgical punctual occlusion, and amniotic membrane grafts.

Some of the other tertiary therapies that can be recommended alongside scleral lenses include:

  • Autologous/allogeneic serum eye drops
  • Oral secretagogues
  • Soft bandage contact lenses

Like scleral lenses, these treatment procedures are highly effective, but should only be used if the primary and secondary therapies fail to improve the patient’s Dry Eye condition.

If you experience any eye pain or discomfort, book your appointment with Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center today.

Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center serves patients from Houston, Bellaire, Hunters Creek Village, Piney Point Village, and throughout Texas .

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Helping Keratoconus Patients From All Over Houston, Texas

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disorder that causes the cornea to lose thickness, changing from its natural round shape to a cone-like shape. Keratoconus occurs when the collagen fibers inside the cornea become too weak to support the round shape. This abnormality makes it difficult for light to enter the eye, resulting in vision problems such as blurriness and sensitivity to light. This, in turn, makes certain tasks like driving or reading extremely difficult. The condition typically affects both eyes, but it is possible to have varying degrees of vision problems between the two, which can change over time.

A Number Of Medical Professionals Believe That

Why the cornea begins to thin is a matter of some debate. A number of medical professionals believe that certain people are genetically predisposed to this condition, while others believe it is the result of an eye injury or disease, or caused by behaviors like excessively rubbing your eyes.

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Children with keratoconus playing

Who Is At Risk For Developing Keratoconus?

According to the National Eye Institute, Keratoconus is one of the most common eye disorders in the US. Nearly 1 in 2,000 Americans have the condition. Newer reseach shows even 1 in 375. Keratoconus most often affects children from adolescence through their early 20s. Sometimes, it can occur in people in their 30s and 40s, but these cases are unusual.

There are number of studies showing the likelihood of developing Keratoconus based on ethnicity and gender. The commonly accepted belief is that it is more prevalent in Asians, who are 4 times more likely to develop the condition than other ethnic groups.

More Information About Keratoconus

There are a number of risk factors that are more likely to cause Keratoconus to develop. These include behaviors and conditions such as:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Down Syndrome
  • Genetics/family history
  • Hay Fever
  • Floppy Lid Syndrome, a type of chronic conjunctivitis
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Sleep Apnea, a condition that causes someone to stop breathing during sleep

Someone who has - or is beginning to experience - Keratoconus may notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Blurriness
  • Cloudy vision
  • Eye strain from squinting to read
  • Halos around bright lights
  • Headaches
  • Night vision problems
  • Persistent changes to eye prescriptions
  • Sensitivity to glares or strong lights

If you have any one or more of these symptoms, especially if there is a family history of Keratoconus, speak with your eye doctor right away. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the earlier that treatment and management of the condition can begin, so you can start to experience improved vision.

To check if you are a good candidate for scleral lenses, contact Dr. Randy Charrier at Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center in Houston or Bellaire in Texas . Our eye doctors and professional, courteous staff will be more than glad to help you with scleral lenses as soon as possible.

Keratoconus is typically diagnosed by performing a number of eye exams and tests to determine the size and shape of your cornea. Dr. Randy Charrier will begin by conducting a routine eye exam to check for overall eye health and visual acuity. The doctor will speak with you about your medical and family history, including any existing symptoms or complaints you may have about your vision and how it affects your everyday activities.

The surface of your cornea may be measured with a special computerized system. This process, known as corneal mapping (or corneal tomography), is exactly what it sounds like: it maps your cornea so that Dr. Randy Charrier can obtain exact measurements and details about its shape and size. The curvature is measured with a keratometer, a device containing prisms that guarantee accuracy and stability of the corneal images.

At Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center, we have the most advanced equipment and modern tools to ensure that our patients receive the highest standard of care that they deserve. If you have questions during the exam or would like to discuss your diagnoses in detail, just ask - we’re here for you.

Like most physical conditions, ignoring the signs and not seeking treatment won’t make it disappear. If Keratoconus is left untreated, the condition will gradually deteriorate. This can lead to increased blurriness, corneal scarring or swelling, or significant vision loss. If the vision loss is severe enough, it may even be categorized as a physical disability.

Unfortunately, Keratoconus is not curable at this time. Once diagnosed, it is a lifelong eye disease. Thankfully, there are treatments that can be successfully managed. That’s why it’s critical to seek the expertise of an eye doctor like Dr. Randy Charrier, who can look at the whole ‘you’ and create a customized treatment plan for your vision and lifestyle needs. The sooner, the better.

The most common forms of treatment for Keratoconus include Collagen Cross-Linking, scleral lenses, Intacs, and in more serious cases, a corneal transplant.

Collagen Cross-Linking (also known as CXL) is a procedure using special eye drops together with an ultraviolet (UV) light. Through this process, the cornea becomes flatter, its tissue becomes stronger, and it stops progressing into a cone-like shape. However, the procedure is intended for more acute cases, and along with some mild pain, recovery time can take up to 2 weeks.

Intacs is a device that flattens the cornea and gently reshapes it into its natural form. It is inserted surgically into a thick section of the cornea and is the only FDA-approved one of its kind. Many patients with Intacs find that their case of Keratoconus improves to the point where a corneal transplant is no longer needed.

In addition to the above, there are a number of other surgical procedures for the most serious cases of Keratoconus. These can include a partial or complete corneal transplant, which involves the removal of a damaged cornea, replaced with a donor cornea which is round-shaped and healthy.

However, for the majority of patients, the most effective way to treat Keratoconus is with scleral lenses.

young woman holding eyeglasses

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are special types of contact lenses used to treat a number of eye diseases, including Keratoconus. Scleral lenses contain a small section that holds artificial tears, which coat the misshapen areas of the cornea, helping to keep them moist, restore vision clarity, and sharpen the patient’s focus.

They Cover A Larger Area Of The Eye

Unlike basic soft contacts, scleral lenses have a larger diameter and therefore, they can cover a larger area of the eye without actually touching the cornea. This larger size results in a more comfortable fit.

Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses (RGPs)

In its early stage, Keratoconus is often treated with glasses or traditional soft contact lenses. As the condition progresses, rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs) are used instead of soft ones. This is because RGPs can naturally conform to the shape of the cornea, counteracting its effects. However, they may also increase the risk of corneal scarring, and many patients find them uncomfortable to wear for more than a few hours at a time.

More Comfortable And Efficient Alternative

When other types of lenses or eye treatments have been unsuccessful at sufficiently treating Keratoconus, scleral lenses are recommended. For example, after a patient has undergone LASIK surgery, scleral lenses may be needed to help stabilize the patient’s vision or to simply provide basic vision correction assistance if the LASIK wasn’t successful. When a patient's cornea has a high level of sensitivity to a basic soft lens, the doctor will prescribe scleral lenses as a more comfortable and efficient alternative. Studies show that wearing scleral lenses can even reduce the need for a corneal transplant in patients with severe Keratoconus.

Cross Linking For Keratoconus & Why Scleral Lenses Are A Better Option For Early Stages

While cross-linking is most effective for repairing early-stage Keratoconus, Scleral lenses are also recommended for vision correction, even for later stages of keratoconus. Since they have a built-in area for artificial tears, a patient doesn’t need to constantly manually administer them throughout the day. Scleral lenses can also be used by children under 14, although the exact age that is most appropriate for contact lens wear varies among different eye doctors.

If you are in the earlier stages of Keratoconus and interested in scleral lenses, consult with one of our eye doctors. At Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center, we have helped patients from all over Houston, Texas . Dr. Randy Charrier will do a thorough, comprehensive work up and our staff will make you feel right at home.

girl in the grass, wearing scleral lens

Scleral Lenses For Children

How Young Is Too Young For Lenses?

When it comes to basic soft contacts, there is a difference of opinion among eye doctors. The American Optometric Association surveyed over 4,000 optometrists and found that over 50% believe children aged 10-12 may wear contacts, 12% said 8-9 years old was age appropriate, and 11% stated under age 8 was acceptable.

However, when it comes to cases of Keratoconus, many optometrists will go even lower. Studies show that from infancy up to puberty-aged kids can experience positive results from scleral lenses.

Because our youngest patients need extra care and special attention, we make sure they get the proper eyecare that their still-growing bodies require. When it comes to Keratoconus, this is even more important. Vision difficulties can have a serious impact on a child’s education, extra-curricular activities, and social life. As essential as an early diagnosis and treatment is for adult patients, it’s even more critical for kids in early childhood.

Young children can also benefit from scleral lenses. Since the large diameter of these lenses allows them to cover more of the eye, they can be particularly effective on pediatric patients. This is because the smaller sizes of a child’s eyes allow for an even larger coverage area.

african american woman with pretty eyes, wearing scleral lenses
Common Questions

Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to gradually see improvements in clarity, sharper color, and detailed contrast between multiple images and objects in your visual field. The level of comfort you’ll experience means that you’ll be able to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long, so you can keep doing the things you love, but with better, clearer vision.

Watch these testimonials to learn how others have experienced a huge difference wearing scleral lenses for the first time and how easy and comfortable they are to put in, take out, and wear all day.

Once you’ve decided to get scleral lenses for your Keratoconus, be sure that the eye doctor you visit has the knowledge and experience required to correctly fit you for the lenses. Not every eye doctor does. That’s because scleral lenses require precise customization, and every patient's Keratoconus case is different with varying degrees of severity.

Dr. Randy Charrier has this expertise, and the entire staff at Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center will ensure that you receive the top quality eye care and custom-made scleral lenses that will help improve your Keratoconus condition, and ultimately, your quality of life.

Most health insurance plans cover healthcare services which are either routine or deemed medically necessary. However, each insurance company has a slightly different version of what is considered medically necessary versus something that is an elective procedure or benefit.

In the case of scleral lenses, every insurance company is different. Some cover the examination and custom fitting, but not the actual lenses. Other providers cover a portion of the cost, while another may cover 100% of the cost, but only if other treatment methods have been completely exhausted. It’s important that you check with your specific insurance provider to find out the particular details of your scleral lens coverage.

Some of the latest Keratoconus research involves a variety of scientific studies and clinical trials aimed at understanding more about the condition and developing more advanced and effective treatments.

The Keratoconus Genetics Research Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is running a study to identify specific genes which may be a factor in the development of Keratoconus. The center also offers a number of clinical trials for the research and advancement of Keratoconus treatments. One such study involves the use of phakic intraocular lenses, which are FDA-approved to treat vision problems in Keratoconus patients.

iVeena Delivery Systems has developed a pharmaceutical eye drop named IVMED-80. This drug is intended to treat Keratoconus by flattening the cornea in as little as 6 weeks, making more invasive treatments unnecessary. The FDA has already granted IVMED-80 orphan drug status, and human clinical trials are expected to begin soon.

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Other Specialty Contact Lens Fittings In Houston

Our practice specializes in custom contact lens fittings for a wide range of specialty contact lenses. This includes:

  • Gas permeable (GP) and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses
  • Multifocal contact lens fitting for presbyopia and myopia
  • Soft daily lenses for moderate dry eye, discomfort, and eye allergies
  • Scleral lenses for patients with keratoconus, corneal scarring, severe dry eyes, corneal transplants, and irregular astigmatism.

Our optometrists, Dr. Randy Charrier, have successfully helped many patients come from all over Texas
including Houston, Bellaire, Hunters Creek Village, Piney Point Village

Eye care, eye exam for keratoconus in Houston, TX

Corneal Collagen Cross Linking In Houston, Texas

There’s a new treatment in town, and it could very well help with your Keratoconus symptoms. But first, let’s talk about what Keratoconus is and how it can affect your daily activities.

What Is Keratoconus?

The cornea of the eye is usually shaped like a dome. This allows light to pass through it and hit the pupil. Keratoconus is a type of corneal ectasia, a condition that causes the cornea’s tissue to become thinner than normal, which makes the cornea into a cone-like shape. This causes light to be refracted incorrectly, resulting in blurry vision, which in turn, makes everyday activities like reading or driving difficult.

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senior woman with glasses for keratoconus treatment with eye doctor

Typical Keratoconus Treatment Methods in Houston

Usually, an eye doctor will treat Keratoconus with a number of methods, including:

Corneal Transplant

A surgical procedure involving the removal of a damaged cornea, which is replaced with a healthy donor one. Depending on the severity of the condition, an ophthalmologist may perform a partial transplant, only replacing the unhealthy section of the cornea instead of the entire thing.

Intacs®

An FDA-approved device designed to restore proper vision. Intacs are surgically inserted into the patient’s corneal stroma (a thick section of the cornea). They gently flatten the cornea, helping to reshape it into the correct dome-like form. In many cases, Intacs can repair the Keratoconus condition to a degree that a Corneal Transplant may be unnecessary.

Collagen Cross-Linking

A procedure which involves special eye drops and an ultraviolet (UV) light, which are used to strengthen the corneal tissue. This can make the cornea flatter and prevent it from further developing into a cone shape.

Scleral Lenses

 

Scleral lenses are specialized custom contact lenses that allow patients with keratoconus to achieve their ideal vision comfortably and easily.

Collagen Isn’t Only For Lip Enhancement

Most people know about collagen as a material used in cosmetic surgery, like making the lips appear fuller. Just Google the word ‘collagen’ and you’ll find a plethora of celebrity before and after photos. What many people don’t know is that it’s actually a naturally-made protein developed inside the human body. Collagen can be found in the skin, muscles, and various ligaments.

The cornea of the eye also contains collagen. It is made up of tiny collagen fibers that lie in an intertwined fashion, ensuring that the cornea is kept clear. As mentioned above, Collagen Cross-Linking can be used to treat Keratoconus for improved vision. The procedure is called ‘cross linking’ due to the placement of bonds in between the collagen fibers. These bonds provide support to stabilize the cornea.

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eye doctor, keratoconus patient smiling

How Does Collagen Cross-Linking Help My Keratoconus?

Collagen Cross-Linking, or CXL, is considered an ideal treatment for Keratoconus because the procedure flattens and strengthens the cornea, helping to reverse its misshapen form back to its correct one. Once the cornea returns to its original dome-like shape, light can once again hit the pupil correctly, allowing the individual to have improved vision.

CXL is most effective in patients who have been recently diagnosed with Keratoconus. That is because the more condition advances, the more difficult it is to manage. While it does not reverse the corneal shape completely, it can slow down the Keratoconus progression. In most cases, the patient will still need some type of vision correction assistance, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses.

The Collagen Cross-Linking Procedure

When a patient is a good candidate for Collagen Cross-Linking, an ophthalmologist will perform the minimally invasive procedure, which typically lasts between 30-60 minutes. CXL is done in the office, so there is no need for a hospital visit.

First, The Doctor Will Numb The Eye

First, the doctor will numb the eye, so the patient shouldn’t feel any pain during the process. Then, eye drops containing riboflavin (vitamin B2) will be administered. These drops let the cornea absorb light and prepare the eye for the UV light application. The patent sits in a reclining position and looks at the UV light for approximately 30 minutes. The UV light causes an oxygen reaction, which then causes the development of new bonds in between the collagen fibers.

There are actually two types of CXL procedures. One is called Epithelium-off, and the other is called Epithelium-on. The difference between them has to do with the epithelium, also called “epi”, which is a tissue located on the outside layer of the cornea.

Epi-Off

During the Epi-off procedure, the epi is gently removed. This lets the riboflavin drops to be absorbed into the eye more efficiently.

Epi-On

During the Epi-on procedure, the epi stays in place. It is not removed at all. However, it can take more time for absorption of the riboflavin drops.

Knowing which version of the CXL treatment is right for your condition is something each patient should discuss with their ophthalmologist. Each one has benefits and risks in terms of procedure and recovery time. Talk to your doctor about which procedure is best for you.

What Are The Advantages Of Scleral Lenses? It’s All In The Shape!

Scleral Lenses Are More Wearable And Protect Your Eyes Better

The vaulted dome design of scleral lenses offers unique advantages over traditional contact lens design. Scleral lenses move around much less than regular contacts, making them superior for physical activity, with far less irritation.

The vaulted dome shape of a scleral lens provides a smooth replacement corneal surface, improving vision for people with corneal scarring or corneal irregularities due to LASIK eye surgery complications, Keratoconus, or other eye conditions.

The design of the lens creates a pocket of space between the eye and the lens. The lens is filled with lubricating saline solution before insertion, providing hydration and comfort all day long.
The size of the lens means that your eyes are more protected from debris, dust, and other allergens, making it a good solution for someone that also suffers from eye allergies.

Enjoy Better Vision

Scleral lenses also provide unparalleled visual acuity by shielding the damaged cornea with a perfect optical surface. Its larger design means the lens is firmly in place, which further enhances vision when compared to traditional lenses. Due to their size and shape, scleral lenses provide greater durability, easier handling and a lower risk for complications. Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center has a wide range of custom scleral contact solutions that can work for you.

grandparents with family after testing for keratoconus

Although radiation caused by UV light can be harmful to one’s health, the amount of UV applied during the CXL procedure does not reach dangerous levels. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, a wavelength of 360–370 nm with an accumulated irradiance of 5.4 J/cm2 ensures that the exposure of all structures is below harmful levels.

Additionally, the riboflavin eye drops that the patient receives prior to the UV light application serves as a solid wall of protection against any potential radiation effects.

In April 2016, after conducting rigorous testing and reviewing case studies, the FDA approved the CXL procedure as an effective treatment for slowing down the progression of Keratoconus.

Like any medical procedure, there are some things you should know beforehand and some preparation you will need to do. On the day of the procedure, avoid wearing any eye makeup, creams, lotions, perfume, or cologne. The ophthalmologist will perform CXL on one eye at a time and it will affect your vision in the first few hours, so make sure someone can drive you home after the procedure.

Recovery time can be different for each patient, especially depending on the type of CXL chosen. For the Epi-off procedure, there may be some pain felt over a few days’ time. As the epi heals, the pain will lessen and eventually fade completely. It may take up to a week and a half to resume normal activities. If the Epi-on version was done, then recovery time tends to be quicker and virtually painless.

Most eye doctors recommend not wearing contact lenses in the first few days following Collagen Cross-Linking. Others suggest waiting several weeks, but this is contingent upon the type of CXL performed on the patient.

eye care, keratoconus patient taking her eye exam with optpmetrist

Collagen Cross Linking Side Effects

Every type of medicine or medical procedure carries the risk of potential side effects. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, over the counter drugs, other medical conditions, and even a patient’s personal lifestyle can conflict with CXL. Because Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center believes that an informed patient is a smart patient, we encourage you to become aware of the possible side effects of Collagen Cross-Linking. These can include:

Corneal Haze

A condition where the cornea becomes cloudy, making vision clarity difficult. A person with corneal haze will experience blurriness. This side effect usually disappears on its own, but if not, steroid eye drops can be given to treat it.

Infection

This is one of the most common side effects of any medical procedure. Infection can be treated with medicated eye drops or topical antibiotics.

Scarring

Steroid eye drops can prevent scars from forming, but if it occurs despite this, a corneal transplant may be necessary.

Sterile Infiltrates

Small wounds that appear as a gray or white color on the cornea, usually caused by inflammation.

If you think you may be experiencing any of these side effects, talk to your eye doctor right away.

Remember, Keratoconus is a condition that requires ongoing treatment by a qualified eye doctor. Even after Collagen Cross-Linking has been performed, it’s important that you or a loved one who suffers from this disease find an eye doctor with you are comfortable with and trust to monitor the condition for the long-term.

Are you considering Collagen Cross Linking or would you like to know if it could help your Keratoconus? Speak with our eye doctors, Dr. Randy Charrier, and the team of helpful staff today.

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Serving Patients From:

Houston | Bellaire | Hunters Creek Village | Piney Point Village | and the state of Texas

Videos on Specialty Contact Lenses in Houston, TX

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Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea is distorted in shape, resulting in poor vision. This condition can be helped with a highly customized gas permeable contact lens.

In advanced stages, keratoconus can result in thinning and scarring of the cornea. Corneal topography (a map of the cornea surface) can be used to monitor keratoconus and watch for progression. In some cases, a cornea transplant and scleral contact lens is necessary to improve vision.

Scleral lenses can provide clear, comfortable vision after all types of corneal transplants.

Neurotrophic keratopathy is a degenerative condition of the cornea involving reduction or loss of corneal sensitivity when the trigeminal nerve is impaired. Scleral lenses can be used to protect the front surface of the eye and promote healing.

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which glasses often do not improve vision. Scleral gas permeable lenses can drastically enhance vision in patients with keratoconus.

Customized prosthetic colored contact lenses can be life-changing for patients with conditions such as scarring, congenital cataracts, pupil abnormalities, and more!

Avellino Dystrophy is one of many corneal abnormalities that can be managed with scleral lenses.

Unique eyes call for customized solutions. Our doctors, using the latest advancements in technology, can create a customized contact lens to provide you with the best possible vision and comfort.


Keratoconus Specialists in Houston, Texas

Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye.


Meet Our Keratoconus Specialists in Houston, Texas


Our Doctors Can Diagnosis and Treat Keratoconus

Your cornea is the transparent, outer lens of your eye, and it typically has a smooth dome shape. Keratoconus describes a condition in which the corneal structure isn’t strong enough to maintain a healthy ball shape.

Meet with our Keratoconus Specialists in Houston, Texas to define your eye's condition and ways for treatment.

As a result, the cornea bulges outward into more of a cone. Our professional optometric team at our eye care clinic is knowledgeable about how to diagnose and treat keratoconus.

Keratoconus is rare, with an estimated one person out of every 2,000 having the condition. It generally appears in the teenage years and can progress slowly or rapidly.

Keratoconus also runs in families, so if you or your children are at risk, it’s advised to contact us for a thorough eye exam.


Causes of Keratoconus

Your cornea is held in place by very small collagen fibers. When they are weakened and too fragile, they aren’t able to preserve the round shape of your cornea.

A reduction in the protective antioxidants of your cornea, which act to destroy damaging by-products made naturally by corneal cells, is what causes keratoconus.

In addition to genetics, some types of eye injuries may increase your chance of being diagnosed with keratoconus.

Specific ocular diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, vernal keratoconjunctivitis and retinopathy of prematurity, as well as some systemic conditions (Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber's congenital amaurosis and osteogenesis imperfecta) are also associated with this corneal abnormality.


Our Keratoconus Specialists in Houston, Texas have years of experience identifying the various levels of keratoconus and other corneal conditions.

 

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Symptoms of Keratoconus

When the shape of your cornea begins to bulge, it alters your eyesight in two different ways. As the cone shape forms, your normally smooth corneal surface becomes wavy, called irregular astigmatism. Additionally, as your cornea expands, vision becomes increasingly nearsighted. Focusing becomes impossible without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Usually, the problems begin in one eye and develop later in the other eye too.

Typically, patient’s eyeglass prescription will change often as the vision becomes worse and contact lenses will be difficult to wear due to discomfort and improper fit.

When keratoconus become more severe (which usually takes a long time however on occasion can happen rather quickly), the cornea can begin to swell and form scar tissue. This scar tissue can result in even further visual distortion and blurred vision.

Altogether, these changes can create the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Streaking of lights
  • Halos around bright lights at night; glare
  • Sudden change of vision in only one eye
  • Objects appear distorted, both near and distant
  • Double vision from just one eye
  • Triple ghost images

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How We Diagnose Keratoconus

Our eye doctors will inspect carefully for the signs of keratoconus during your comprehensive eye exam. It’s critical to inform us of any symptoms that you’ve been experiencing. To diagnose the condition, we’ll measure the shape of your cornea. Computerized Corneal Topography is used for this procedure, which takes a picture of your cornea and analyzes it instantly.


Treatment for Keratoconus

The first line of treatment is usually new prescription eyeglasses. If this solution doesn’t help you achieve good vision, then contact lenses will be tried. Rigid, gas permeable lenses are typically prescribed.

As the disease progresses, however, glasses and soft contact lenses may no longer correct vision and soft lenses may become uncomfortable. This is when other forms of vision correction will be recommended.





Gas Permeable and Scleral Contact Lenses

At the more advanced stage of keratoconus rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, scleral or semi-scleral lenses may be used for increased comfort and visual acuity. Since they are more rigid, RGP and scleral lenses are able to create a smooth, round shape around the cornea, creating a smoother surface for better vision.

Scleral or semi-scleral lenses have a larger diameter which covers the entire cornea and reaches over into the white part of the eye, which is known as the sclera.

Many patients find these more comfortable than regular RGPs and find that they move around less when the eyes move. The main disadvantage of these rigid lenses is that for some, they are somewhat less comfortable than soft lenses and they must be continually refitted as the shape of the eye changes.

Whether it is glasses or contact lenses being used to correct vision, patients will likely have to undergo many tests and prescription changes as their vision needs to change.





Intacs

Intacs are small, surgically implanted plastic inserts which are placed on the cornea to flatten it back to shape. Usually they are able to restore clear vision, with the continued use of glasses. Intacs are often recommended when contact lenses and eyeglasses are no longer able to correct vision adequately. Intacs take about 10 minutes to insert and can delay the need for corneal transplant.





PTK for severe keratoconus

Severe keratoconus may lead to extreme scarring, due to overstretched collagen fibers. If the back of your corneas tears as a result, swelling may occur. It can take months for the swelling to go down, and a large scar is generally created. PTK, a specialized procedure, can smooth out this scar, thereby enhancing contact lens comfort.





Cornea collagen crosslinking

Cornea collagen crosslinking is another therapy that has shown to be effective in slowing the progression of keratoconus. An alternate remedy is called intacs, which are semicircular implants inserted under the surface of the cornea to flatten the bulging cone shape and give better vision.





Cornea Transplant

As a last resort, a cornea transplant may be performed. During this procedure, the center of your cornea will be removed and replaced with a donor cornea. The new cornea is stitched into place, and you’ll need to wear contact lenses for adequate vision after the surgery.





Dangers of LASIK and Keratoconus

LASIK can potentially weaken the cornea of anyone who suffers from keratoconus, making it a dangerous procedure. If this happens, your vision will become substantially worse. Even if your keratoconus is mild, LASIK is not an option.

Our Keratoconus Specialists in Houston, Texas is happy to meet with you for a 1-on-1 consultation to get you back on the path to reaching clear vision.


Meet with Our Keratoconus Specialists in Houston, Texas

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Scleral Lenses For Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, And Post-RK Surgery In Houston, Texas


About LASIK & Post LASIK Ectasia

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As a whole, LASIK or laser vision correction is generally safe, effective, and the few negative side effects that do occur are usually rare and temporary. However, there is an occasional incidence of post LASIK ectasia. Post LASIK ectasia is a corneal distortion or irregularity which causes the cornea to weaken and bulge. The likelihood or risks of post LASIK ectasia increase with a thin cornea.

In general, most LASIK surgeons today have improved reporting & diagnostics through corneal topographers. These instruments can map the cornea and measure its thickness to ensure better results from any laser vision correction. While the prospects are good for LASIK candidates, eye complications can — and continue to — happen. This is where Dr. Randy Charrier at Family Vision Solutions & Specialty Contact Lens Center enter the picture.

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Scleral Lenses For Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, And Post-RK Surgery

In the event that a patient underwent LASIK surgery — or PRK or RK — and eye complications developed, scleral lenses are the ideal option to provide clear and comfortable vision. Through the use of a rigid or hard lens design, scleral lens correct your vision while leaving the cornea’s sensitive surface untouched and protected. Scleral lenses allow for enhanced visibility to a scleral lens wearer while preventing the cornea irregularity from worsening.

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Why Do Patients Need Specialty Contact Lenses Like Scleral Lenses From Eye Complications?

Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, & Post-RK patients with any eye complications often have poor, distorted vision. They can no longer wear standard contact lenses due to their sensitive cornea. Attempting to wear soft contact lenses can be extremely painful and damage the cornea. Eye doctors may prescribe rigid gas permeable lenses or even eyeglasses, yet these solutions only partially correct one’s vision. Often with a damaged cornea, patients will struggle to see unless they’re fitted with a specialty contact lens.


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Patients With Unhealthy Corneas

Patients with unhealthy corneas can range from poor vision, where they find it difficult to see close and far to nearly blind. Fortunately, scleral lenses are customized hard lenses that solve all of these issues and provide clear vision across all spectrums. For more information about your eye complications post-LASIK surgery, contact for a consultation.





Does Collagen Cross-Linking Correct Post-LASIK Ectasia?

Patients with corneal ectasia due to LASIK surgery are sometimes recommended to undergo collagen cross-linking. Collagen cross-linking is a new advancement in treating advanced cases of keratoconus and diseased corneas, yet this surgery should not be rushed solely based on a surgeon’s recommendation.

Discuss this procedure with Dr. Randy Charrier for a second opinion. Sharing information about your post Lasik ectasia with our contact lens specialist will offer alternative options to correct your vision. Furthermore, many patients after a collagen cross-linking will still require specialty contact lenses to achieve clear vision. By finding a contact lens specialist in Houston early on, you’ll have the support and guidance to best treat your vision.

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Should I Just Get Another LASIK Surgery in Houston To Repair My Ectasia?

Unlike a standard laser vision correction that may need a touch-up over a number of years, any corneal irregularity can lead to permanent damage from any further eye surgery. By consulting with a contact lens specialist, you’ll receive expert, unbiased advice. Whether your situation can be solved through a safer alternative or an additional eye surgery is the best course of action, make an informed decision by scheduling a consultation at our office, today.

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Serving Patients From:

Houston | Bellaire | Hunters Creek Village | Piney Point Village | and the state of Texas

Elderly Woman After Corneal Graft

Post Corneal Transplant & Custom Contact Lenses In Houston, Texas

A corneal transplant performed on a patient is often the result of an eye disease or eye injury, and is meant to restore vision. After a corneal transplant, patients often require specialty contact lenses to achieve clear and comfortable vision.

Common Forms Of Corneal Transplants

Four of the most common types of corneal transplants are: Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK), Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK), ALK (Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty) & DALK (Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty).

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK): A corneal transplant of the full thickness of the cornea.

Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK): A corneal transplant where only the back layer of the cornea is corrected.

Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK): A corneal transplant where only the front part of the cornea is replaced.

Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK): A corneal transplant where about 95% of the original cornea is replaced (often used to treat patients with keratoconus).

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What Leads To A Cornea Transplant?

Surprisingly, tens of thousands of cornea transplants or even partial thickness cornea transplants are performed every year for numerous reasons. Patients with eye diseases that are left unmanaged or uncorrected and those with cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration, may require a cornea transplant in severe cases. Often, a corneal dystrophy or corneal degeneration may require a cornea transplant over time. In general, any diseased cornea can lead to blindness without proper care from an eye doctor.

What Is Keratoconus?

A semi-rare disease called keratoconus often requires some form of cornea surgery to stabilize the condition, such as corneal collagen crosslinking or a corneal transplant. Keratoconus is when the anterior cornea thing and protrudes, which distorts the shape of the cornea. Often, patients with advanced keratoconus will see haloes and suffer from eye pain, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light. While not fully understood, keratoconus is likely due to both genetic and environmental factors.

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Corneal Transplants: Treatment & Recovery

Often, when a patient successfully undergoes a corneal transplant, the eye is not cured of the disease entirely. Post corneal transplant patients will notice dramatic improvements in their eyes, yet their vision will still need specialty contact lenses for correction.

Recovery from a corneal transplant can last over a year because the eye has to get used to the new cornea. Since this adjustment is unpredictable, nearsightedness or astigmatism are common refractive errors. Often eye doctors will prescribe eyeglasses during this in-between period to help one’s vision, and even after the eye has fully healed, prescription glasses may still be required.

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Scleral Lenses & Post-Cornea Transplant Surgery

Cornea transplants tend to result in irregular corneas as the transplant can’t adapt fully to the eye. may recommend rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP’s), hybrid contact lenses or scleral lenses to provide a patient with clear vision and comfort without the need of any further surgery.

Scleral lenses are often the optimal choice as the lens is designed to vault over the cornea entirely. Even after a cornea transplant, the cornea may still be considered irregular and diseased. Scleral lenses allow one’s cornea to remain hydrated, provide clear vision, and avoid any risk of corneal scarring. Other options are possible, yet scleral lenses make for a safe alternative that won’t negatively affect the cornea, and in many cases, can be covered by medical insurance.

Post-Cornea Transplant Surgery

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Serving Patients From:

Houston | Bellaire | Hunters Creek Village | Piney Point Village | and the state of Texas

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Soft Multifocal Lenses For Myopia Management

Myopia is an eye disease that causes the eye to elongate from early childhood into the late teen years. This elongation causes the light to fall in front of the retina rather than on the retina itself, causing far-away objects to appear blurred. Regular glasses or contact lenses correct for poor visual acuity but do nothing to address the elongation of the eye itself.

What many parents don’t realize is that myopia can be dangerous. The more aggressive the progression, the higher the chance that your child will develop sight-threatening conditions like macular degeneration, retinal detachment and glaucoma in the future. At Family Vision Solutions, we use soft multifocal contact lenses as part of our myopia management program, which can slow or even stop the progression of your child’s myopia.

What Are Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses?

Soft multifocal contact lenses feature three prescriptions in a single lens: one for near distance, one for intermediate distance and one for far distance. These lenses are made of breathable and flexible plastics that allow air to pass through the lens to the cornea for a healthy, comfortable fit, making them suitable for older children and teens. Soft multifocal contact lenses are FDA approved for children 8 years of age and above. Even children with various levels of astigmatism can achieve successful results in managing their myopia with soft multifocal contact lenses.

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How Do Soft Multifocal Contact Lenses Slow Myopia Progression?

These contact lenses are worn during the day so your child will see clearly all day without the hindrance of glasses. In addition to correcting distance vision, the design of these lenses has been precisely calculated to allow a child to achieve clear vision for all distances. They allow the light rays entering the eyes from the side of your vision to focus in front of the retina rather than directly onto it. This has been shown to provide subtle feedback to the brain to halt the elongation of the eye, This, in turn, slows or stops myopia from advancing. Children who wear soft multifocal contact lenses usually find that their prescription will no longer rapidly worsen.

We Offer Multifocal Soft Contact Lenses and Other Myopia Treatments

At your first consultation, Dr. Randy Charrier will assess the extent of your child’s myopia, including corneal shape and refractive error. After this assessment, Dr. Randy Charrier will recommend the best myopia management treatment options. During this process, patients and parents are encouraged to ask any questions they may have.

Should you choose to proceed with soft multifocal contact lenses, Dr. Randy Charrier will determine the exact prescription adjustments required and carefully fit the contact lenses to ensure that they sit correctly and comfortably on your child’s eyes. Your child will immediately be able to see clearly. Over time, your child’s myopia progression will slow or even cease, drastically mitigating the long-term risks to their vision.

If you have a child with myopia, or if it’s simply time for your child’s annual checkup, call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Randy Charrier and learn more about our myopia management program.

Family Vision Solutions serves patients from Houston, Bellaire, Hunters Creek Village, Piney Point Village, and throughout Texas .


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How Can Orthokeratology Help

How Can Orthokeratology Help With Myopia Management?

Is your child wearing glasses or contact lenses for myopia? Is their optical prescription continually worsening every 12 to 18 months? If so, it may be time for a myopia management program featuring ortho-k contact lenses.


Orthokeratology, or “ortho-k,” is an overnight process of vision correction that leaves your child free of daytime eyewear. Along with the convenience of not having to wear glasses or contacts during the day, ortho-k has been shown to slow down or even stop the progression of a child’s myopia. An additional — yet compelling — benefit is the reduced risk of developing serious ocular conditions and diseases later in life, such as macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

If your child has myopia, speak with Dr. Randy Charrier regarding the benefits of wearing ortho-k lenses for myopia management.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is an extremely prevalent eye condition that begins in childhood and usually continues to worsen during the teenage years. Myopia results when the eye shape becomes more elongated as a child grows. This causes light from distant objects to focus in front of, rather than precisely on the retina, causing blurred and distorted vision.

The continual eyeball elongation causes the optical prescription to worsen over the years, generally into the mid-to-late teens.

While glasses or regular contact lenses correct distorted vision, they don’t address the underlying problem, and thus are unable to prevent your child’s prescription from increasing into young-adulthood. Orthokeratology, on the other hand, addresses the root cause of myopia and can halt its progression.

Understanding Orthokeratology

teen smiling 6 640Orthokeratology goes by a few names:

  • Ortho-k
  • CRT (Corneal Reshaping Therapy)
  • Gentle Vision Shaping System (GVT or GVST)
  • Vision Shaping Treatment (VST)
  • Corneal Molding

Regardless of the name used, ortho-k is an established non-surgical method of vision correction that has been safely used for over 20 years. We will carefully measure the child’s eye and order custom-fitted and specially-designed rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses.

The ortho-k lenses are to be worn overnight, during which time they gently correct the shape of the cornea. The lenses are then removed in the morning, leaving your child with crisp and clear vision all day long. As mentioned above, ortho-k not only corrects vision but can also slow —or even halt — the progression of myopia in children.

Who Can Benefit From Orthokeratology?

Both children and adults can benefit from the vision correction provided by ortho-k, though ortho-k may be the ideal solution for myopia management in children. While it is too late to slow the progression of myopia in adulthood, myopic children who wear ortho-k lenses can further benefit by lowering any risks associated with ocular diseases later in life.

What Is The Fitting Process For Ortho-k Lenses?

At Family Vision Solutions, our patients undergo a full ortho-k assessment before being fitted for these lenses. We will evaluate the health of your child’s eye and determine the exact corrective prescription. To measure the precise curvature of the child’s cornea, Dr. Randy Charrier will use a topographer, ensuring these customized lenses are a perfect fit.

After the initial fitting, patients will be provided with detailed instructions and in-clinic training on how to insert, remove, and care for their ortho-k contact lenses. A few periodic check-ups will help ascertain any changes in refraction and corneal topography, and adjustments to the lenses will be made accordingly.

Ortho-K Is An Investment For Lifelong Healthy Vision

By giving your child the gift of ortho-k lenses, you will improve your child’s daytime vision while also significantly reducing their risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. The myopia management program at Family Vision Solutions offers the best chance of controlling myopia and preserving your child’s eyes for a lifetime of clear, comfortable, and healthy vision.

Family Vision Solutions serves patients from Houston, Bellaire, Hunters Creek Village, Piney Point Village, and throughout Texas .


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Call Us 713-622-9772