North Suburban Vision Consultants is the preeminent contact lens specialty practice in the greater Chicago area. Patients are referred to NSVC from eye care professionals throughout the United States for contact lens care that is available from only a few select contact lens specialists worldwide.
At NSVC you have more options in contact lenses than ever. Contact lenses are worn full or part time by over thirty-five million people in the United States. Our involvement in the development of new technological innovations allows us to provide superior vision with greater comfort to more patients.
Leonardo da Vinci first conceived of contact lenses over 450 years ago. It took until 1947 for the first major breakthrough in hard plastic contacts. Soft contact lens materials were developed in the 1960s, the first disposable lenses were introduced in the late 1980’s, corneal reshaping technologies were FDA approved early in the new millennium, and contact lenses continue to evolve each year. With so many lens manufacturers each producing many varieties of lenses how do you know which lens is for you?
At North Suburban Vision Consultants our doctors, keep well-informed of emerging technologies by participating in research studies and FDA clinical trials. We design and develop new contact lenses on an ongoing basis. We will recommend the lenses that will work best for your eyes and your lifestyle.
Our doctors fit contact lenses made by all the major manufacturers as wells as lenses from smaller custom labs, and even develop our own unique lenses for patients whom other doctors may consider difficult or impossible to fit. Due to their vast experience in contact lenses, they often find that patients who have not had past success with contact lenses are now able to enjoy contact lens wear.
As experts in the field of contact lenses, our doctors stay involved in research and development of the newest products associated with contact lenses, lecture at professional meetings and have published numerous articles in professional contact lens literature and textbooks. You can be assured that our doctors will provide the highest quality of contact lens care for you whether your needs are as straightforward as soft disposable lenses or as complex as fitting contact lenses for keratoconus or following corneal trauma.
Who Can Wear Contact Lenses?
Most people can wear contact lenses, including people with active lifestyles and people who have astigmatism or presbyopia (need for bifocals). Contact lenses are fast becoming the method of choice for most people for vision correction. Over the past number of decades developments in contact lens technologies have enabled patients to wear lenses more comfortably, for longer periods of wearing time, with greater eye health, and with excellence in vision incomparable to any other form of vision correction
We hope that this information helps you better understand some of the newest options available in contact lens care.
Clinical Trials in Contact Lenses, Solutions, and Ocular Pharmaceuticals
Our doctors are continually involved in clinical trials and studies for numerous contact lens and pharmaceutical laboratories. Our patients are often asked to serve as subjects for these studies, thus giving them the chance to access the newest developments in eye care. Some of the most current studies we have been involved in include:
- 30-day Continuous wear contact lenses.
- Disposable astigmatic contact lenses.
- Multifocal/Bifocal soft and rigid contact lenses.
- New super high oxygen permeable soft and rigid extended/overnight wear lens.
- Multipurpose contact lens care systems.
- Safe and convenient ocular medication for seasonal and chronic ocular allergy.
- Dry Eye treatments
North Suburban Vision Consultants is involved in clinical trials on an ongoing basis. If you wish to be involved as a subject in upcoming studies please call our office and speak to our studies coordinator, Gabriela Flicker. Or, email Gabriela ([email protected] ).
Disposable Lens Designs
Since 1989 disposable soft contact lenses have grown to take the #1 spot in contact lens wear in the United States. The advantages of disposable lenses include; ease of care, little to no cost for replacement of lost or damaged lenses, continual comfort through the wearing cycle, and increased ocular health. Disposable lenses are the healthiest and most cost efficient method for soft contact lens wears. Complications associated with disposable lenses can in virtually all cases be traced to improper care and lens hygiene (i.e. lack of proper cleaning and disinfections between wearing times or use of improper solutions), or inappropriate wearing schedules (such as sleeping with lenses when not prescribed in this way by your doctor).
Not all disposable lenses are the same. Lenses differ in material, design, and replacement frequency. Some lenses offer higher oxygen transmission; others are more deposit resistant, while still others are better in dry eye conditions.
Disposable lenses are designed to be replaced at varying frequencies depending on the lens material used and the specifics of the individual patient (i.e. tear chemistry, environment, and wearing time). The frequency of lens replacement typically varies from daily disposing to 1, 2, & 4 week disposing and up to 3 or 6 month schedules of replacement. Conventional soft lenses in comparison should generally be replaced at one year intervals.
Single use daily disposable lenses are the best alternative for many patients. These lenses are worn during waking hours, removed at the end of the day and disposed. They provide the ultimate in convenience and are an excellent choice for part time/occasional contact lens wearers.
Your doctors at NSVC fit both disposable lens designs made by the largest manufacturers in the contact lens field, but also fit, due to their specialty nature of practice, disposable lenses manufactured by small specialty laboratories. These lenses are often available only to a very small number of contact lens specialty practices or, on occasion, exclusive only to NSVC. They serve to provide unique performance characteristics that allow our doctors to solve special requirements that our patients may have.
Today expanded designs of disposable lenses enable us to offer many options to those who need correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism or need bifocal lens correction. As a result disposables are available to most all of us who want the freedom of contact lenses.
Continuous Wear Contact Lens Developments
Some of the newest contact lens materials dramatically increase the level of oxygen transmission in order to allow for safe overnight wearing of contacts for up to one month. These lenses, called SiHy or silicone hydrogel lenses, have received FDA approval for up to 30 days of continuous wear. These lens are available as disposable lenses so that once they are removed they are discarded on a monthly basis. NSVC’s doctors participated in the FDA trials for a number of these new lens designs. SiHy lenses are now availale for all forms of vision correction (near and farsightedness, astigmatism, and bifocal/multifocal contacts). These lenses have already revolutionized contact lens wear and provide the ultimate in vision correction for many of our patients. Although healthier for the eyes, the use of lenses for continuous wear still has a higher risk of complications than daily removal of lenses. Properly selected patients who wear the appropriate lenses for the prescribed time period by their doctor and who comply with prescribed ongoing aftercare monitoring visits will have a very high success rate for clear vision and healthy eyes with continued overnight use of contact lenses.
Contact Lens Correction of Astigmatism
For years people were told they could not wear soft contact lenses because they had astigmatism. Now more than ever, that is not the case. For years now we, at North Suburban Vision Consultants, have provided excellent results for our patients with low to even high degrees of astigmatism. Our contact lens specialists successfully fit not only astigmatic soft lenses but also astigmatic soft lenses for patients who are presbyopic (require additional correction for near vision) with bifocal or multifocal, astigmatic lenses. Correction of astigmatism is possible with both soft and rigid gas permeable lens designs depending on the individual patient. The use of contemporary toric or astigmatic lens designs provides superb vision, great comfort, and uncompromised eye health. Disposable astigmatic lenses offer added comfort and convenience to the mix.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses (RGP’s) have enjoyed gaining popularity over the past 20 years. New developments in designs and materials have made these lenses more comfortable and healthier to wear than ever before. The advantages of RGP’s over soft lenses include; higher levels of oxygen transmission to the cornea, greater durability and deposit resistance and therefore greater life expectancy, and unmatched optical/vision performance. We especially have found RGP’s to be the design of choice for bifocal/multifocal lenses due to their sharp optics. Patients who have irregular corneal surfaces will experience distorted vision with glasses and with soft contact lenses. A variety of RGP designs are fit at NSVC to provide clear and undistorted vision for patients suffering from corneal disease, corneal trauma, or irregular corneas following certain eye surgeries. Our contact lens specialists will recommend RGP’s for you if they are in your best interest.
Therapeutic Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are often needed to help in the treatment of diseased eyes, such as those following corneal trauma, surgery, or certain corneal diseases (keratoconus, basement membrane diseases, etc.). We are proud of the fact that patients are continually referred to NSVC for therapeutic contact lens care. A wide variety of lens designs are used for this purpose including: rigid gas permeables, cosmetic tinted and opaque soft lenses, and bandage soft lenses. Close monitoring of patients in need of therapeutic contact lenses is critical since these lenses are being fit on compromised corneas. When fit and monitored properly, therapeutic contact lenses can make a world of difference in the life of a patient in need.
Hybrid Contact Lens – Provides the best of both worlds!
North Suburban Vision Consultants is one of the first practices in the United States to prescribe a revolutionary contact lens design – Synergeyes Hybrid Contact Lens. The lens is a combination of a soft and rigid contact lens providing the best attributes of each. The lens is comprised of a highly oxygen permeable central rigid section and a soft, hydrophilic peripheral section. The result is a lens that provides superb vision due to the rigid portion and excellent comfort and fit stability due to the soft portion. Other hybrid lens designs have been developed previously, however they suffered from low oxygen permeability and were fragile, with tearing between the rigid and soft portions a common occurrence. Synergeyes has developed the “Hyperbond” technology that creates an exceedingly strong bond between the soft and rigid portions of the lens. The high oxygen permeability of Synergeyes provides an extremely healthy contact lens environment which results in excellent all day comfort.
Patients that would be excellent candidates for Synergeyes are quite varied and include those who are nearsighted, farsighted, and people with the most common forms of astigmatism. Even people who have problems with reading at near (presbyopes) may benefit with the use of a very new Synergeyes design called the Synergeyes bifocal contact lens. NSVC is on of small select group of practices who have been selected to evaluate the performance of the Synergeyes bifocal prior to its launch to most eye care practices. Finally, Synergeyes has developed designs to use for patients who suffer from corneal diseases like keratoconus, or who have had distortion to their vision induced by trauma, or following eye surgery. NSVC is one of the leading practices in the United States that has fit a large number of patients with Synergeyes lenses for the treatment of various eye diseases and abnormalities.
Contact NSVC and speak with our doctors or contact lens technicians to find out if you are a good candidate for the Synergeyes Hybrid Contact Lens.
Scleral Contact Lenses
NSVC’s contact lens specialists are one of a small select few who have extensive experience in contact lens treatment with Scleral Contact Lenses. Scleral lenses are large diameter gas permeable contacts that “vault” the cornea and gently “land” on the sclera eye surface (the white of the eye). The advantages of sclera contact lenses include: superior treatment of highly irregular corneas, dramatic improvement of comfort on sensitive eyes (the highly sensitive cornea is not touched by these lenses as with all other kinds of contact lenses), excellent centering of the lens to provide improved visual optics, and maintenance of a tear pool beneath the lens for cases of severe dry eye. Scleral lenses are uniquely customized for each patient based on their individual needs. The complexity involved in the fitting process and expertise required to fit these lenses explains why our contact lens specialists at NSVC are widely known for their fitting of sclera contact lenses. The outcomes for our patients have been true miracles and were a last resort for many of them!
To learn more about using Scleral Contact Lenses click here.
Multifocal/Bifocal Contact Lens Options
Patients requiring both a reading correction and a distance correction in contact lenses are now able to achieve excellent vision. Bifocal or more specifically, multifocal contact lenses are available in many types of contact lenses. Improvements in lens technology have created lenses that provide far improved visual results compared to older technology. The wide array of multifocal lens designs on the market gives us options in soft, rigid gas permeable materials as well as disposable for those just starting to need reading prescriptions up to those who have stronger correction requirements. We have devised a system to help determine what lens option is best for you. Our success rates with multifocal contact lenses are growing by leaps and bounds.
North Suburban Vision Consultants are able to provide the most current designs in contact lens technology to our patients often far sooner than other eye care practices due to our ongoing involvement in clinical research and development in the field of contact lenses. We continue to develop new and better multifocal contact lenses. Our success rates with these new designs have been nothing short of remarkable!
Cosmetic Contact Lenses
Colored contacts lenses can enhance or change the appearance of your natural eye color. Color options include tints that enhance light eyes and special colors for dark eyes. The latest in color technology for dark eyes use a multilayer color core along with a special translucent layer for intense, realistic color. Some of the shades available are Deep Green, Soft Green, Deep Blue, Soft Blue, Soft Amber, Violet, and Grey. Many patients select to have some of their contacts cosmetically colored so that they might choose to wear their colored contacts on special occasions. Outrageous lens colors and designs such as “Wild Eyes” lenses are colored in a variety of crazy patterns such as crescent moons, swirls, and stars to name just a few. These are novelty items and are used on occasions just for the fun of it. We should mention that some colored lenses, especially Wild Eyes designs have been reported to limit peripheral vision to some degree and should be worn with caution especially in dark environments while driving. Additionally, people should NEVER share colored contact lenses with friends or family members. Serious eye infections with a potential for loss of vision is associated with this behavior. Colored contact lenses require the same professional fitting, lens disinfection, proper wearing schedules, etc. as do contact lenses that are worn only for vision correction.
Keratoconus is a progressive degeneration of the cornea characterized by thinning, steepening, and advancing distortion of the corneal surface. The disease results in gradual loss of clear vision with progressive distortion of images. The first line of treatment for keratoconus is the use of contact lenses to mask the surface distortion. Contact lenses can provide more-improved corrected vision in comparison to glasses. For more information, visit our section on Keratoconus.