SIGMT 2022 Vol 14 Issue4

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Page 93 of 107

94 | SIGNATURE MONTANA TO YOUR HEALTH TEXT BY AUDRA SEXTON, OD I grew up in the era of dial-up internet, punch cards, collect calls, memorizing all your friend's phone numbers, and mixed tapes consisting of songs you waited patiently for the radio to play so that you could record them on a cassee tape. I joined the droves that set up Myspace accounts, burned CDs using Napster or LimeWire, and was lucky to have a cell phone resembling your TV remote. Now technology is literally at our fingertips with smartphones and Wi-Fi in coffee shops. Just thinking of the vast changes in my lifetime is incredible. Researchers describe my generation as "Xennials" or "Geriatric Millennials," as they so unpleasantly renamed us. My generation bridged the gap between a life sparse of technology and another engulfed by it. e changes in the eye care industry are just as drastic, especially when talking about contact lenses. My first pair of contact lenses at fourteen years old was an annual wear so contact lens. My parents paid the equivalent of a yearly supply of disposable lenses today for one pair. No, I didn't mistype that. I had one pair of contacts for a whole year. Crazy, I know. ey were still worlds ahead in comfort and health benefits than their rigid gas permeable predecessors. I remember monthly disposable contacts were just starting to become common in my high school years. It wasn't until college that I joined that crowd following the suggestions of my eye doctor. Behind the scenes, I didn't realize the types of plastics, coatings, designs, and treatments were constantly changing. I noticed improvement in comfort, vision, and less eye irritation, but I never really thought it was anything other than me geing used to them over the years. Noticing and pondering these changes wasn't until I decided on a future as an optometrist. Of course, as I progressed in my training, I learned what fiing a patient with a contact lens entailed. Details such as eye curvature, designs, materials, visual demand, and care compliance are always at the forefront of our minds. Contact lenses are my area of passion within the optometry field. I love how there are a variety of contact lens types and a broad number of uses. e so contact lens is the most commonly known lens today. So contacts shouldn't be felt when fit properly on a patient without underlying medical conditions, such as dry eye. ere are countless designs, parameters, and types in just this one category. e safety profiles continue to improve with the newer daily type (used once and then tossed). I personally require younger patients to start in dailies because it is the safest and healthiest lens out there. It also leaves less room for error on their part. Bi-weekly and monthly are the other common choices. Conventional or quarterly so contacts are still available but are rarely used and typically only for very specific reasons. I cringe now, thinking of what I was puing in my eye every day as a child. I'm sure my grandkids will have a similar thought as new technologies and safety profiles increase during their lifetimes. Novel designs of Hybrid lenses were around in the late 1900s but didn't start to take off until FDA approval in 2005. ese lenses are perfect for patients needing the clarity and qualities of a hard lens but wanting the comfort of a so lens. Hybrid lenses have a center that is a rigid gas permeable lens (hard lens) with an aached so contact lens skirt. is type is more of a specialty lens that not all optometrists enjoy fiing. e rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens was the first contact lens developed. e materials used were very uncomfortable and allowed very lile oxygen to the eye. ey were also well known for changing the shape of the cornea over time. With further developments, the materials used today have greater oxygen exchange and unlimited parameter changes. Today, this category is split into several types, including orthokeratology, mini scleral, and scleral lenses. e typical RGP is smaller than your iris, and the designs can be used for normal and diseased corneas. By the 2000s, the newer materials and reproducible designs lead to a widespread increase in mini scleral and scleral lenses. ey are used to create a new smooth surface resulting in improved functional vision. ey are larger than your iris and are filled with solution, so that your eye is "swimming" in solution all day. ey are typically used for, but not restricted to, diseased corneas such as keratoconus, pellucid degeneration, and extreme dry eyes. is is my favorite type because the More Than Meets the Eye CONTACTS:

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