Did You Know That There Are Contact Lenses Used for Medical Purposes?

Contact lenses are used to help people see better or for cosmetic purposes and they're also used for a variety of medical reasons which will be discussed below.

Did You Know That There Are Contact Lenses Used for Medical Purposes? Optometrist
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Non-Elective Contacts

In most cases contact lenses are used as an alternative for glasses for cosmetic reasons or personal preferences, they are considered “elective” and health insurance companies won't cover the cost. 

Yet in certain instances, contacts are listed as medically necessary for vision correction, and health insurance plans may pay for them. The following article explores several examples of medical lenses and the reasons they may be prescribed.

Specialty Vision

What Kinds of Conditions Require Medical Contacts?

There are several types of ocular diseases and conditions in which standard glasses cannot provide adequate corrective measures. In these instances, contacts become a necessity rather than a cosmetic option. The following conditions sometimes require such lenses:

  • Ametropia: These include cases where someone has such a high prescription that is no longer effective. Myopia (nearsightedness) is a type of ametropia, and myopia management often involves the use of contact lenses to slow down the progression of the condition.In these examples, contacts provide superior benefits.
  • Anisometropia: An ocular condition where the eyes have unequal focus or power.
  • Aphakia: A condition involving the absence or removal of an ocular lens, either from trauma, surgery, or an underlying condition.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome: People with severely dry eyes are sometimes prescribed lenses that provide a more moisturized environment. Scleral lenses are sometimes prescribed for this condition.
  • Corneal Irregularities, Corneal dystrophies, & Keratoconus: There are a variety of medical conditions that effect the shape of the cornea, often times these conditions will benefit from customized contact lenses that create a new optical surface for the eye. Keratoconus is the most common example, impacting 1 in 500 Americans,  it is an ocular disease that causes structural damage and alters the shape from spherical to cone-shaped. There are many corneal conditions that are treated with contacts, for example they include Fuchs’ dystrophy which causes a thickening of the cornea, blurriness, and sensitivity to light/glare; and Lattice dystrophy, which can cause pain (a sensation that something is in the eye), tearing, blurriness, and sensitivity to light and glare.
  • Corneal surgery: Sometimes complications involving scarring occur after corneal surgeries such as Lasik, Prk, and LASEK. In such instances, standard glasses are inadequate and speciality contacts may be necessary. These include the use of scleral lenses which rest on the sclera portion of the eye, rather than the cornea.
Types of Contacts for Medical Purposes

Types of Contacts for Medical Purposes

The above-mentioned conditions require lenses to correct eyesight since standard glasses cannot provide adequate visual acuity. They come in the following types:

  • Hybrid: a combination of soft and hard providing crisp vision with the comfort of a soft lens.
  • Gas permeable: Permits the optimal flow of oxygen to the ocular region.
  • Scleral: These differ from other lenses in that they sit on the sclera rather than the cornea.
  • Soft: While they are more comfortable than hard options, they usually don't provide the best vision for health reasons.
Additional Information

Additional Information

Many health insurance plans will cover the cost of contacts when they are deemed to be a medical necessity. Visit a specialty contact lens eye doctor for a thorough evaluation which will determine if your condition would be covered by your provider. 

Common Questions

In most instances, they are not covered, although hi-tier plans may differ.
They are only considered medical because they require a prescription. Health insurance plans generally agree that standard glasses are sufficient and most are only willing to cover instances where they are necessary. In those instances where glasses are not an option, they may be considered a necessity. Unless they are essential, most health plans consider them elective
Did You Know That There Are Contact Lenses Used for Medical Purposes?
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Schedule An Appointment With A Contact Lens Specialty Practice

Specialty contact lens practices have extensive experience helping patients with a range of conditions find contact lenses that will improve visual outcomes and comfort. A specialty contact lens practice will have advanced technologies, contact lens modalities, and knowledge to assist you in ways that a general eye doctor cannot. Contact a listed contact lens specialty practice near you,their team of eye care professionals is ready to provide you with the care you need.