Top Docs: 5 fast facts about contact lenses

Dr. Pamela Weber, an Opthamologist specializing in retina

Dr. Pamela Weber, an Opthamologist specializing in retina diseases and surgery, sits in her office in Shirley. (Nov. 19, 2012) (Credit: Daniel Brennan)

Many people with eye issues have thought for years that contact lenses weren't for them. But they might want to think again.

Here's what you need to know about today's contact lenses:

 


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1. MULTIFOCAL LENSES OFFER NEW OPTIONS FOR THOSE MIDDLE-AGED AND BEYOND

Once you reach age 40 or so, many contact lens wearers with nearsightedness -- meaning they have difficulty seeing things at a distance -- discover that they now have trouble reading up close, too. For some, that means having to wear reading glasses in addition to their contacts, which largely defeats the purpose.

"Now, there are blended contact lenses that people can wear for both distance and close-up vision," said Dr. Leslie Goldberg, director of ophthalmology at St. Francis Hospital and an eye surgeon based in Manhasset.

These lenses are known as bifocal or multifocal lenses because they allow two or more levels of vision correction.

 

2. SOFT LENSES ARE AVAILABLE TO CORRECT ASTIGMATISM

Astigmatism, a condition that causes blurred vision, has long been difficult to correct through contact lenses, especially the widely favored soft ones.

But today, more soft contact lenses -- including daily disposables -- are available to treat astigmatism, Goldberg said. However, their availability still may be limited by a particular person's prescription.

Daily disposable lenses, for example, aren't available for some people who need higher levels of correction, he said, because there aren't enough people with those prescription levels for contact lens manufacturers to sell the lenses at a high volume.

 

3. CONTACT LENSES CAN COMBAT DRYNESS

Though some people can't wear contact lenses because their eyes are naturally too dry and become irritated by the contacts, "there are several new materials and designs which incorporate a lubricating agent within the lens or other treatments that can improve the long-term 'wetability,' " Goldberg said. "Dryness is less of a problem, and some people who couldn't have previously been able to wear contacts can wear them."

However, dryness still can be troublesome for some contact lens wearers, cautioned Dr. Gerard D'Aversa, an ophthalmologist in Valley Stream. "The contacts need to float on the surface of the eye for them to function properly," he explained. "Patients that have a dry eye syndrome could have difficulty wearing the contacts and, in turn, could have complications from the contacts mechanically rubbing up against the surface of the cornea without proper lubrication being present."

 

4. DON'T WEAR YOUR LENSES OVERNIGHT

"We see the most common problems related to contacts in patients who sleep with the contacts overnight," D'Aversa said.

"The contact lens is placed on the cornea at the front of the eye," he said. "This structure receives its oxygen and nutrients from the tear layer covering the cornea. Contacts slow or may prevent the flow of oxygen and nutrients

from being absorbed by the cornea. This leads to a breakdown of the corneal surface, which, in turn, can lead to infections of the cornea and ultimately scar tissue formation and loss of vision."

To prevent this from happening, it's crucial to allow the cornea "to breathe," he said, by giving it a break from contacts.

 

5. DAILY DISPOSABLES REMAIN THE SAFEST LENSES

To reduce the chances of developing an eye infection, ophthalmologists recommend that contact lenses be worn for the shortest time possible. The best way to do that is to put in new lenses each day, they say.

Dr. Pamela Weber, an ophthalmologist in Commack and Shirley who specializes in retina disorders, said that daily disposable lenses don't require chemical disinfection or cleaning, nor do they need to be stored in contact lens cases that can become contaminated.

She suggested that people who don't have daily disposable lenses replace their lens cases every month to avoid contamination.

And if you feel an eye irritation, Weber said, contact your eye doctor right away because you could have an infection. "Don't hold off," she said -- and be sure to take the lens with you to your appointment so your doctor can inspect it.

This is the 23rd installment of a 26-week series in which Newsday presents Castle Connolly's list of top Long Island doctors.

 

Ophthalmologists

 

Dr. Philip Aries

375 E. Main St., Rm. 24

Bay Shore; 631-665-1330

Dr. Stanley J. Berke

901 Stewart Ave., Ste. 255

Garden City

516-794-2020

Dr. Vivien Boniuk

600 Northern Blvd.

Ste. 214

Great Neck

516-470-2020

Dr. Robert Broderick

585 Plandome Rd., Ste. 104

Manhasset; 516-627-3232

Dr. Alfred J. Cossari Jr.

311 Barnum Ave.

Port Jefferson

631-928-6400

Dr. Gerard D'Aversa

65 Roosevelt Ave.

Rm 204

Valley Stream

516-374-4199

Dr. Frank Di Leo

365 County Rd. 39A

Ste. 2

Southampton

631-283-3677

Dr. Fadi Elbaba

33 Research Way

Ste. 13

East Setauket

631-444-4090

Dr. David M. Fastenberg

600 Northern Blvd.

Rm. 216

Great Neck

516-466-0390

Dr. Philip J. Ferrone

600 Northern Blvd., Ste. 216

Great Neck

516-466-0390

Dr. Perry Garber

800 Community Dr.

Manhasset

516-627-6630

Dr. Anthony Girardi

8 Medical Plaza, Bldg. 8

Glen Cove; 516-676-4596

Dr. Leslie P. Goldberg

2110 Northern Blvd.

Ste. 208

Manhasset

516-627-5113

Dr. Alexander Hatsis

2 Lincoln Ave., Ste. 401

Rockville Centre

516-763-4106

Dr. William S. Kasper

520 Franklin Ave.

Ste. L9

Garden City

516-742-3937

Dr. Sajid Malik

Woodbury Optical

185 Woodbury Rd.

Hicksville

516-681-3937

Dr. Alan B. Marks

2110 Northern Blvd.

Ste. 208

Manhasset; 516-627-5113

Dr. Jeffrey Martin

260 Middle Country Rd., Ste. 201

Smithtown; 631-265-8780

Dr. Robert P. Morris

222 E. Main St., Ste. 330

Smithtown

631-724-4488

Dr. Richard J. Nattis

500 W. Main St., Ste. 210

Babylon; 631-957-3355

Dr. David B. Nelson

2000 N. Village Ave.

Ste. 402

Rockville Centre

516-766-2519

Dr. Grace M. O'Malley

186 Old Towne Rd.

Southampton 631-283-3533

Dr. Samuel Packer

600 Northern Blvd.

Ste. 214

Great Neck

516-465-8400

Dr. Henry Perry

2000 N. Village Ave.

Ste. 402

Rockville Centre

516-766-2519

Dr. Louis Pizzarello

137 Hampton Rd.

Southampton

631-283-5152

Dr. Arnold S. Prywes

4212 Hempstead Tpke.

Bethpage; 516-731-4800

Dr. John Romanelli

222 E. Main St., Ste. 330

Smithtown

631-724-4488

Dr. Kenneth J. Rosenthal

310 E. Shore Rd.

Rm. 102

Great Neck

516-466-8989

Dr. Charles Rothberg

331 E. Main St.

Patchogue

631-758-5300

Dr. Laurence Rubin

Mid-Island Eye

Physicians & Surgeons

4277 Hempstead Tpke., Ste. 109

Bethpage; 516-796-4030

Dr. Steven E. Rubin

600 Northern Blvd.

Ste. 220

Great Neck

516-465-8444

Dr. David A. Schlessinger

75 Froehlich Farm Blvd.

Woodbury

516-496-2122

Dr. Gideon Schneck

2500 Nesconset Hwy. 17B

Stony Brook

631-246-9140

Dr. Patrick A. Sibony

Stony Brook Ophthalmology

33 Research Way, Ste. 13

East Setauket; 631-444-4090

Dr. Richard T. Sturm

360 Merrick Rd., Fl. 3

Lynbrook

516-593-7709

Dr. Paul Svitra

3003 New Hyde Park Rd., Ste. 203

New Hyde Park

516-327-0505

Dr. Ira J. Udell

LI Jewish Med. Center

Dept. Ophthalmology

600 Northern Blvd.

Ste. 218

Great Neck

516-470-2020

Dr. Pamela Weber

1500 William Floyd Pkwy., Ste. 304

Shirley; 631-924-4300

Dr. Joseph Weinstein

4212 Hempstead Tpke.

Eye Care Assoc.

Bethpage; 516-731-4800

Dr. Lawrence Zweibel

260 Middle Country Rd.

Ste. 201

Smithtown

631-265-8780

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