Glaucoma results from increased interocular pressure in your eye. This pressure damages your optic nerve and over time may lead to permanent vision loss or even blindness.
By their very nature, certain types of contact lenses also increase pressure on the eye. Thus, in mini glaucoma patients, contacts are not recommended nor prescribed. However, for some people with glaucoma, they may be able to return to wearing contact lenses depending on their treatment regimen.
Eye Drop Treatments
If your optometrist prescribes eye drops to treat your glaucoma, you may be able to keep wearing your contact lenses. This will likely depend on how severely the glaucoma has progressed, including how severe the intraocular pressure is within your eye. If the disease was caught in the early stages, you'll probably still be good to go on contacts.
You will have to make sure to remove the contact lenses prior to applying the drops. Also, you'll have to allow some time for the medicine to absorb into your eyes.
Depending on how many times per day you have to apply the drops, the process of taking your contacts in and out may become a burden. If it does, you'll have to go back to glasses. Once again, always discuss all your options with your doctor.
Post eye surgery
You won't be wearing your contact lenses for 6-12 months if your glaucoma treatments require eye surgery. Afterward, your doctor might discuss the option of returning to contact lenses, assuming that there were no complications. You will also be restricted to wearing contacts during daytime hours only.
Additionally, your surgeon may suggest that you try the small-diameter, hard contact lenses instead of the soft ones. However, there are soft contact lenses on the market that generally do well with patients after glaucoma surgery. Ask your doctor for more information.
Experimental glaucoma treatments with contact lenses
Researchers have developed a new "smart" contact lens that aims to continuously measure the pressure on your eye. The new contact lens will continuously monitor the pressure on the eye throughout the day. A sensor in the lens reports to an external antenna that stores the data from your eye. Currently, eye pressure can only be measured at your optometrist's office.
Additionally, researchers also hope that at some point the contact lens will become a glaucoma treatment delivery vehicle as well, applying the eye-drop medication automatically and as needed. If this lens pans out, it will revolutionize care for most glaucoma patients.
Eye Care Centers
As with most medical conditions, the earlier that you catch glaucoma the better the off you'll be. You'll also have a better chance of being able to keep using contact lenses. To learn more, visit a glaucoma treatment center or optometrist near you.Share