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Choosing an Optometrist vs. an Ophthalmologist for Contact Lenses

If you need new contact lenses or are thinking of trying them out for the first time, who do you turn to? An optometrist or an ophthalmologist? To know with whom to set up an appointment, it’s important to understand the differences in eye care professionals.

The Difference Between Ophthalmologists and Optometrists

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who examines eyes and performs vision-related surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists generally complete 4 years of college, 4-5 years of medical school, one year of internship, and at least three years of residency in ophthalmology. Their advanced medical training provides them with the expertise to diagnose eye diseases, offer treatments, conduct scientific research on vision disorders, and prescribe medication.

Though ophthalmologists can fit patients with eyeglasses and contact lenses, they often refer their patients to an optometrist on their team to correct any refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia (farsightedness related to aging). Optometrists are usually the ones to screen patients for LASIK and work alongside LASIK surgeons to coordinate the surgery.

What is an Optometrist?

optometrist caucasian od bigAn optometrist is a healthcare professional who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists have to complete a four-year college degree program in the sciences coupled with four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school.

Optometrists examine eyes for vision and health problems, diagnose and treat certain eye diseases and conditions, and prescribe and fit patients with glasses or contacts for common refractive errors. Certain optometrists provide alternative services, such as vision therapy, low vision care, dry eye treatment and myopia control. Optometrists can also provide pre- and post-surgery care, such as LASIK, PRK, corneal transplant, among others.

Optometrists in the United States are licensed to prescribe medications for certain eye conditions and diseases, though the scope of medical care that they can provide varies from state to state.

Why Choose an Optometrist?

If your eyes are healthy and don’t require specialized surgical treatment, visiting an optometrist is the obvious choice. Moreover, beyond performing routine eye exams, optometrists can detect, diagnose and manage eye diseases that require medical and non-medical treatment.

These treatments include, but are not limited to:

Dry Eye Treatment, Vision Therapy, Low Vision Management, Myopia Control, Specialty Contact Lens Fitting, Management and/or treatment of various corneal conditions and irregularities.

Think of your optometrist as a primary care physician for your eyes. When in need of a routine eye check-up, or if you’re dealing with an eye condition or notice your vision changing, it’s time to visit the optometrist.

If you’re interested in fitting specialty or traditional contact lenses to aid with specific eye conditions or misshapen corneas, Patricia Jitodai, OD at the Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center can help.

Fitting Contact Lenses

Girl Putting in Contact 1280×853Whether you’re a first-time lens wearer or you’ve recently had a prescription change, it’s essential to ensure a proper fit. When lenses are not properly fitted, it can prove to be uncomfortable and can lead to vision problems, infections, or scarring. That’s where we come in.

To ensure a proper contact lens fitting, Patricia Jitodai, OD will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your level of refractive error and will also check for any conditions that could interfere with wearing contact lenses. The shape of your eye and personal lifestyle are also important factors in determining the right lens for you. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors or lead an active lifestyle, that may require a different lens type. Following a proper assessment, the doctor will ensure the best fit for your eyes and overall vision health.

Moreover, your optometrist will show you how to insert and remove lenses, and generally, how to properly care for them. Additional follow-up appointments may be needed in order to monitor and assess the fitting and overall comfort level.

Specialized in fitting traditional and specialty contact lenses, Patricia Jitodai, OD find the proper fit for all patients, from the simple near-sighted first-time wearer to the complex astigmatic, bifocal or diseased cornea patient. Visit us at the Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center for a contact lens fitting.

We help patients from the Tukwila, Renton, Burien, and Seattle, in the Washington area enjoy great vision and comfort with contact lenses.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 206-516-2020

Scleral lenses and Your Insurance Provider

When vision starts to become blurry, the immediate solution is to see an eye doctor and purchase a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. In some cases, a person may elect for LASIK surgery, which comes at a much higher price tag.

On rare occasions, a patient may not benefit from wearing standard eyeglasses or contact lenses and is not a candidate for LASIK. These “hard-to-fit’ patients require a more advanced form of treatment like scleral lenses in order to restore their vision to normal. When patients discover they require more advanced vision correction, they have to face new challenges like adjusting to their new eyewear and, more pressing, the additional costs. We’ve put together some brief tips below to help our scleral lens patients take advantage of their insurances to reduce the burden and achieve visual success.

Medical Insurances & Scleral Lenses Tukwila, Washington

While our vision is vital for daily activities, many medical insurances are very restrictive in how they cover any service related to eyewear. Although medical insurances are used for specific eye care services, purchasing eyewear is often not covered — not even partially. Our practice can review with you the specific details regarding your medical insurance, and whether or not you can expect coverage for a pair of scleral lenses. In general, medical insurances are best used towards the eye exams and diagnostic measurements.

Vision Insurances and Scleral Lenses in Tukwila, Washington

Contrary to medical insurance, vision insurance plans are meant to reduce the costs for eyewear purchases. For some of our patients who have vision insurance with a contact lens plan, such as through EyeMed or VSP, a large portion of their scleral lenses will be covered. Please keep in mind that vision insurance policies differ. How much vision insurance will cover a specialty contact lens like scleral lenses is never concrete. Also, the experience of one patient may be totally different from the outcome of another patient’s experience.

This is why we recommend patients to schedule a consultation at our practice. We’ve seen many patients benefit a lot from their vision insurance plans, and we’ve guided numerous patients on how to maximize their coverage. Ultimately, we want our patients to enjoy the best possible vision for their eyes, and scleral lenses are often the solution.

One of the major reasons keratoconus patients and others with corneal irregularities come to our practice is precisely for our knowledge, experience, and expertise. Each specialty contact lens consultation will assess what are your visual needs and budget to develop the perfect pair of contacts. If you’re looking for scleral lenses and want to learn how your insurances can provide you coverage, call us today or schedule a consult online.

Young Woman Smiling 1280×480

Where Do Scleral Lenses Fit In Your Dry Eye Treatment Protocol?

DES It is among the top drivers that lead patients to seek help from eye care professionals trained in treating dry eyes.

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a highly common condition that occurs when your tear glands don’t produce enough tears or when your tears evaporate too quickly. This condition can be temporary or chronic and is characterized by dry, itchy, stinging and irritated eyes.

Curiously, a recent survey revealed that out of the more than 30 million Americans who have symptoms of Dry Eye, only half of those are diagnosed, and an even smaller number receives the medical attention they need. These numbers are a concern since there are millions of people needlessly suffering from a treatable condition.

If you’re suffering from dry eye, contact Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center today. We offer effective and lasting treatments that are sure to improve your quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

Dry Eye can be caused by several factors, such as aging, medication, environmental changes, hormonal changes, allergies, among others. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Crusty eyelids
  • Dryness
  • Grittiness
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning
  • Intense eye pain
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Sensation of something stuck in the eye

How Can Scleral Lenses Help With Dry Eye?

Scleral lenses are customized rigid lenses that tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye.

Due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting, scleral lenses offer an excellent solution for dry eyes. They decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness in those with dry eyes.

While scleral lenses can provide relief to patients suffering from DES, the question is deciding on the right time to incorporate scleral lenses into a dry eye treatment plan.

Scleral lenses should not be the primary treatment method

Despite their countless benefits, scleral lenses should not be the primary therapy or treatment method for patients with mild to moderate dry eye syndrome. Eye practitioners often advise to try out prior treatment options first.

Additional Dry Eye treatment methods include:

  • Environment modifications
  • Improved eyelid hygiene
  • Nighttime goggles
  • Nighttime lubrication
  • Prescription dry eye medications
  • Preservative-free eyedrops

Scleral lenses as a tertiary therapy

Scleral lenses should only serve as tertiary therapy after overnight treatment options and prescription medications such as moisture goggles or ointment have been exhausted. That said, scleral lenses should be incorporated before the long-term use of steroids, surgical punctual occlusion, and amniotic membrane grafts.

Some of the other tertiary therapies that can be recommended alongside scleral lenses include:

  • Autologous/allogeneic serum eye drops
  • Oral secretagogues
  • Soft bandage contact lenses

Like scleral lenses, these treatment procedures are highly effective, but should only be used if the primary and secondary therapies fail to improve the patient’s Dry Eye condition.

If you experience any eye pain or discomfort, book your appointment with Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center today.

Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center serves patients from Tukwila, Renton, Burien, Seattle, and throughout Washington .

Book An Appointment
Call Us 206-516-2020

scleral lenses Blk 1280×480

Scleral Lenses for Keratoconus

Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us) is a non-inflammatory eye disorder in which the round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop.

Hence the name keratoconus, from the Greek word ‘kerato’ (cornea) and ‘conus’ (cone-shaped).

Because those with keratoconus have irregular, cone-shaped corneas, glasses cannot conform to the shape of the eyes and thus cannot adequately correct the patients’ vision. The best solution, therefore, is scleral contact lenses, since they sit on the sclera without touching the cornea and deliver maximal clarity while being perfectly comfortable in most cases.

What are Scleral Lenses?

what are scleral lensesCustom designed scleral lenses help patients with corneal irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the diseased cornea. This creates a new optical surface instead of the damaged cornea and prevents discomfort by resting on the sclera of the eye. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment – making it optimal for healing.

Both rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses and scleral lenses provide the eyes with sufficient oxygen. However, scleral lenses provide more comfort and stable vision than traditional GP lenses. In most cases, scleral contact lenses are the optimal choice of treatment for patients with keratoconus and irregularly-shaped corneas.

If you have Keratoconus and are interested in scleral lenses, Patricia Jitodai, OD at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center can help. We serve patients from all over Tukwila, Renton, Burien and Seattle, Washington , and provides the highest level of care.

Two Major Benefits of Scleral Lenses for Keratoconus

1) Scleral Lenses Provide More Comfort

Our patients report comfort as the most prominent feature of the scleral lens. Throughout the fitting process, we survey our patients on how the lenses feel, and not surprisingly, the usual response we get is “fine” or “I can’t feel them at all”.

The size of a scleral lens is one of the reasons it is more comfortable than a traditional gas permeable contact lens. A traditional contact lens is much smaller, typically 9 -10 mm in diameter. With each blink, this contact lens moves a bit over the cornea and the lid tends to roll over the edge of the lens as well. Many patients report being unable to wear them for more than a few hours at a time due to discomfort.

The scleral lens, on the other hand, is larger in diameter and spreads its weight over a much greater, less sensitive area so that when you blink, the eyelid doesn’t catch the edge of the lens. Moreover, because the lens vaults over the bulging cornea, it protects the cornea from any abrasion caused by blinking or external irritants. Furthermore, the scleral lens is made up of highly oxygen permeable materials and provides a soothing bath of artificial tears that refresh the ocular surface.

2) Scleral Lenses Offer Improved Vision

Patients with keratoconus have a clearer vision with scleral lenses than with glasses. With glasses, patients usually see 20/200, whereas with scleral lenses their vision typically improves to 20/30 or even 20/20. Furthermore, because the lenses sit firmly on the eye, they offer more stable vision than traditional lenses. The scleral lens not only offers comfort but also improves vision acuity.

What Changes Will I Notice with Scleral Lenses?

Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to gradually see improvements in clarity, color and detailed contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. The comfort you’ll experience will enable you to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long so that you can keep doing all the things you enjoy – but with better vision.

Should I See An Eye Doctor Specialized in Fitting Keratoconus Patients with Scleral Lenses?

improved vision with scleral lensesIf you are interested in seeing whether scleral lenses are right for you, make sure that the eye doctor you visit has the knowledge and experience required to correctly fit the lenses on patients with keratoconus. Scleral lenses require precise customization, and every patient’s case of keratoconus varies in degrees of severity and corneal measurements.

To check if you are a good candidate for scleral lenses, contact us at The Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center. Our staff has the expertise in fitting specialty contact lenses, and serve patients from Tukwila, Renton, Burien, Seattle and throughout Washington .

Call or Book Online and Regain Your Quality of Life.

“I loved my visit from start to finish. The Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center staff is friendly, caring, and knowledgeable. The eye exam that I had for keratoconus was incredibly thorough and Patricia Jitodai, OD explained all the results very clearly. He fitted me for scleral lenses, and now my eyes feel so comfortable that I frequently forget that I’m wearing contact lenses.“

REFERENCES:

Ariela Gordon‐Shaag, Michel Millodot, Igor Kaiserman, Tzahi Sela, Guy Barnett Itzhaki, Yaffa Zerbib, Efrat Matityahu, Shira Shkedi, Svetlana Miroshnichenko and Einat Shneor, Risk factors for keratoconus in Israel: a case–control study, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 35, 6, (673-681), (2015).

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Call Us 206-516-2020

portrait photo of man in white crew neck t shirt with 1139743

Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking for Keratoconus

Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) is currently the only treatment that may slow down the progression of keratoconus. It is a minimally invasive procedure to strengthen corneal tissue and stabilize the cornea’s shape.

If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, or if you are concerned that your condition might be deteriorating, contact Patricia Jitodai, OD at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center to evaluate whether CXL is the best option for you.

What Is Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking?

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a surgical procedure performed by a corneal specialist or ophthalmologist to stabilize the shape and firmness of the cornea. By applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops and ultraviolet light, the surgical treatment promotes the building of new collagen fiber links within the cornea. In many cases, it helps prevent the need for a corneal transplant.

Collagen plays a vital role in creating and maintaining the smooth round shape of the eye’s surface. The tightness of the woven collagen fibers determines the strength of the corneal tissue. A weak cornea is prone to deformation, causing keratoconus to progress.

CXL is also effective in treating corneal ulcers in cases where topical antibiotics did not produce results. Several other corneal infections have also successfully been treated with CXL.

Your Optometrist Prepares You for CXL

A few steps need to be taken before you undergo corneal collagen cross-linking. Patricia Jitodai, OD can assess whether you are a candidate and get you ready for the surgical procedure.

1) We’ll Evaluate If You Need CXL

At Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center, we will inquire into your patient history to determine whether any previous eye surgeries might prevent you from undergoing CXL. We will also examine several other factors, such as keratoconus progression and corneal thickness. In case you have dry eye, this needs to be treated appropriately before scheduling the CXL procedure.

2) Connecting You With The Right Surgeon

Following your eye exam and the evaluation of your suitability for CXL, we will connect you with an ophthalmologist to schedule the actual procedure. We at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center work with the finest corneal specialists in the area because we want you to be in good hands.

3) Pre-Op Exam With Your Optometrist

Just before the surgery, you will have a short pre-op examination at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center. Lens wearers are required to remove their contact lenses a few days prior to this examination so that measurements can be entirely accurate.

Patricia Jitodai, OD will gather measurements about visual acuity, refraction, the shape of the corneal surface, and intraocular pressure. The data generated in this examination will be used for comparison in every future examination, and provide background for follow-up should the keratoconus continue to progress after the surgical intervention.

The CXL Procedure

seniors smiling 2 640The ophthalmologist will first apply riboflavin eye drops (vitamin B2) to the surface of the eye. This substance is conducive to photo-enhancing; in other words, it improves light absorption. Next, the practitioner will expose the eye to a specific ultraviolet light to activate the development of new collagen cross-linking. This will cause the collagen fiber to thicken across the entire cornea and reinforce it.

There are two types of corneal cross-linking procedures:

  • Epithelium-on cross-linking or transepithelial cross-linking. In this procedure, the doctor applies the eye drops onto the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium.
  • Epithelium-off cross-linking. To allow the riboflavin to penetrate more easily into the lower layers of the cornea, the doctor removes its outer layer before applying the drops. This surgical intervention has a slightly higher risk, as it could cause the disruption of surface cells in the epithelium.

We Provide Post-Op Care

The success of the one-hour surgical treatment depends as much on the quality of postoperative care as it does on the procedure itself. Careful management of eye health is essential for rapid rehabilitation of visual clarity and to reduce the risk of complications.

Follow-up care provided at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center includes three main objectives, of which the speedy healing of the corneal surface is primary. Generally, patients are prescribed temporary soft contact lenses to protect the eye surface during the healing process. The lenses also serve the purpose of minimizing potential pain.

To prevent infections, Patricia Jitodai, OD will provide topical antibiotics and other medications that may be needed to protect the cornea and ensure a safe and fast recovery.

Who Can Undergo Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking?

The surgical treatment is recommended for patients who have recently been diagnosed with keratoconus and patients with a rapidly worsening condition. The sooner the treatment is applied, the better the chances of strengthening the cornea or even improving its shape.

Because CXL does not restore lost vision, early treatment is critical to prevent visual acuity from declining. This can also increase the chances of wearing traditional contact lenses later on.

Patients with stable keratoconus, a thin cornea, or a scarred cornea may not benefit from CXL and can potentially delay or avoid the procedure altogether.

Contact Patricia Jitodai, OD at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center for additional information or to schedule an eye exam.

Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center serves patients from Tukwila, Renton, Burien, Seattle, and throughout Washington .

 

Book An Appointment
Call Us 206-516-2020

 

Resources:

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/corneal-crosslinking.htm

https://eyewiki.aao.org/Corneal_Collagen_Cross-Linking

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/keratoconus.htm

https://www.nkcf.org/corneal-cross-linking-are-you-a-good-candidate/

https://www.eyeworld.org/article-postoperative-management-of-corneal

https://crstoday.com/articles/2017-jul/simplifying-the-preoperative-evaluation/

Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington

Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye.

Meet Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington

o-5

Patricia Jitodai, OD

Dr. Patricia Jitodai graduated from the University of Washington and then went on to the University of California Berkeley, where she completed her Doctorate of Optometry. She also received a Bachelor’s of Science in Vision Science at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Jitodai received training in specialty contact lens fittings as well as orthokeratology. Ortho-K lenses help children prevent their vision from worsening due to myopia or nearsightedness. In addition, ortho-k lenses help adults achieve perfect vision free of glasses or contacts without resorting to surgery.

Dr. Jitodai grew up in the Seattle, WA area and has lived there most of her life. She spends her free time watching movies, exploring the outdoors, and hiking as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. She first decided to become an eye doctor after working alongside a local optometrist in town. She was impressed by the care he provided to every patient, and she felt she was a perfect fit.

This desire to help people and improve their vision continues to be what drives Dr. Jitodai, and she derives great satisfaction from positive outcomes. An example of one of those positive outcomes is whenever we see a scleral lens patient. For instance, one patient who came in had 20/80 vision. His eyes could not tolerate standard contact lenses, and prescription eyewear would not correct his vision. After Dr. Jitodai fit him with a scleral lens and his vision improved to 20/20! He was overjoyed that after years of struggling, he was able to attain a clear vision. Those opportunities to improve her patients' health and quality of life are why Dr. Jitodai became an optometrist.

The most important value to Dr. Jitodai is the ability to help restore vision to every patient. From young to old, vision plays an essential part in our lives, and she wants everyone to enjoy viewing their world.

Dr. Jitodai is an American Board of Optometry Diplomate and a member of the following distinguished organizations: The American Optometric Association, The Orthokeratology Society, and The Washington Optometric Association.

Our Doctor Can Diagnosis and Treat Keratoconus

Your cornea is the transparent, outer lens of your eye, and it typically has a smooth dome shape. Keratoconus describes a condition in which the corneal structure isn’t strong enough to maintain a healthy ball shape.

Meet with our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington to define your eye's condition and ways for treatment.

As a result, the cornea bulges outward into more of a cone. Our professional optometric team at our eye care clinic is knowledgeable about how to diagnose and treat keratoconus.

Keratoconus is rare, with an estimated one person out of every 2,000 having the condition. It generally appears in the teenage years and can progress slowly or rapidly.

Keratoconus also runs in families, so if you or your children are at risk, it’s advised to contact us for a thorough eye exam.

Causes of Keratoconus

Your cornea is held in place by very small collagen fibers. When they are weakened and too fragile, they aren’t able to preserve the round shape of your cornea.

A reduction in the protective antioxidants of your cornea, which act to destroy damaging by-products made naturally by corneal cells, is what causes keratoconus.

In addition to genetics, some types of eye injuries may increase your chance of being diagnosed with keratoconus.

Specific ocular diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, vernal keratoconjunctivitis and retinopathy of prematurity, as well as some systemic conditions (Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber's congenital amaurosis and osteogenesis imperfecta) are also associated with this corneal abnormality.

Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington has years of experience identifying the various levels of keratoconus and other corneal conditions.

Pretty Young Teen Girl 1280x480

Symptoms of Keratoconus

When the shape of your cornea begins to bulge, it alters your eyesight in two different ways. As the cone shape forms, your normally smooth corneal surface becomes wavy, called irregular astigmatism. Additionally, as your cornea expands, vision becomes increasingly nearsighted. Focusing becomes impossible without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Usually, the problems begin in one eye and develop later in the other eye too.

Typically, patient’s eyeglass prescription will change often as the vision becomes worse and contact lenses will be difficult to wear due to discomfort and improper fit.

When keratoconus become more severe (which usually takes a long time however on occasion can happen rather quickly), the cornea can begin to swell and form scar tissue. This scar tissue can result in even further visual distortion and blurred vision.

Altogether, these changes can create the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Streaking of lights
  • Halos around bright lights at night; glare
  • Sudden change of vision in only one eye
  • Objects appear distorted, both near and distant
  • Double vision from just one eye
  • Triple ghost images

cornealtopography girl

How We Diagnose Keratoconus

Our eye doctors will inspect carefully for the signs of keratoconus during your comprehensive eye exam. It’s critical to inform us of any symptoms that you’ve been experiencing. To diagnose the condition, we’ll measure the shape of your cornea. Computerized Corneal Topography is used for this procedure, which takes a picture of your cornea and analyzes it instantly.

Treatment for Keratoconus

The first line of treatment is usually new prescription eyeglasses. If this solution doesn’t help you achieve good vision, then contact lenses will be tried. Rigid, gas permeable lenses are typically prescribed.

As the disease progresses, however, glasses and soft contact lenses may no longer correct vision and soft lenses may become uncomfortable. This is when other forms of vision correction will be recommended.

Gas Permeable and Scleral Contact Lenses

At the more advanced stage of keratoconus rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, scleral or semi-scleral lenses may be used for increased comfort and visual acuity. Since they are more rigid, RGP and scleral lenses are able to create a smooth, round shape around the cornea, creating a smoother surface for better vision.

Scleral or semi-scleral lenses have a larger diameter which covers the entire cornea and reaches over into the white part of the eye, which is known as the sclera.

Many patients find these more comfortable than regular RGPs and find that they move around less when the eyes move. The main disadvantage of these rigid lenses is that for some, they are somewhat less comfortable than soft lenses and they must be continually refitted as the shape of the eye changes.

Whether it is glasses or contact lenses being used to correct vision, patients will likely have to undergo many tests and prescription changes as their vision needs to change.

Intacs

Intacs are small, surgically implanted plastic inserts which are placed on the cornea to flatten it back to shape. Usually they are able to restore clear vision, with the continued use of glasses. Intacs are often recommended when contact lenses and eyeglasses are no longer able to correct vision adequately. Intacs take about 10 minutes to insert and can delay the need for corneal transplant.

PTK for severe keratoconus

Severe keratoconus may lead to extreme scarring, due to overstretched collagen fibers. If the back of your corneas tears as a result, swelling may occur. It can take months for the swelling to go down, and a large scar is generally created. PTK, a specialized procedure, can smooth out this scar, thereby enhancing contact lens comfort.

Cornea collagen crosslinking

Cornea collagen crosslinking is another therapy that has shown to be effective in slowing the progression of keratoconus. An alternate remedy is called intacs, which are semicircular implants inserted under the surface of the cornea to flatten the bulging cone shape and give better vision.

Cornea Transplant

As a last resort, a cornea transplant may be performed. During this procedure, the center of your cornea will be removed and replaced with a donor cornea. The new cornea is stitched into place, and you’ll need to wear contact lenses for adequate vision after the surgery.

Dangers of LASIK and Keratoconus

LASIK can potentially weaken the cornea of anyone who suffers from keratoconus, making it a dangerous procedure. If this happens, your vision will become substantially worse. Even if your keratoconus is mild, LASIK is not an option.

Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington is happy to meet with you for a 1-on-1 consultation to get you back on the path to reaching clear vision.

Meet with Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington

Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington

Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye.

Meet Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington

o-5

Patricia Jitodai, OD

Dr. Patricia Jitodai graduated from the University of Washington and then went on to the University of California Berkeley, where she completed her Doctorate of Optometry. She also received a Bachelor’s of Science in Vision Science at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Jitodai received training in specialty contact lens fittings as well as orthokeratology. Ortho-K lenses help children prevent their vision from worsening due to myopia or nearsightedness. In addition, ortho-k lenses help adults achieve perfect vision free of glasses or contacts without resorting to surgery.

Dr. Jitodai grew up in the Seattle, WA area and has lived there most of her life. She spends her free time watching movies, exploring the outdoors, and hiking as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. She first decided to become an eye doctor after working alongside a local optometrist in town. She was impressed by the care he provided to every patient, and she felt she was a perfect fit.

This desire to help people and improve their vision continues to be what drives Dr. Jitodai, and she derives great satisfaction from positive outcomes. An example of one of those positive outcomes is whenever we see a scleral lens patient. For instance, one patient who came in had 20/80 vision. His eyes could not tolerate standard contact lenses, and prescription eyewear would not correct his vision. After Dr. Jitodai fit him with a scleral lens and his vision improved to 20/20! He was overjoyed that after years of struggling, he was able to attain a clear vision. Those opportunities to improve her patients' health and quality of life are why Dr. Jitodai became an optometrist.

The most important value to Dr. Jitodai is the ability to help restore vision to every patient. From young to old, vision plays an essential part in our lives, and she wants everyone to enjoy viewing their world.

Dr. Jitodai is an American Board of Optometry Diplomate and a member of the following distinguished organizations: The American Optometric Association, The Orthokeratology Society, and The Washington Optometric Association.

Our Doctor Can Diagnosis and Treat Keratoconus

Your cornea is the transparent, outer lens of your eye, and it typically has a smooth dome shape. Keratoconus describes a condition in which the corneal structure isn’t strong enough to maintain a healthy ball shape.

Meet with our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington to define your eye's condition and ways for treatment.

As a result, the cornea bulges outward into more of a cone. Our professional optometric team at our eye care clinic is knowledgeable about how to diagnose and treat keratoconus.

Keratoconus is rare, with an estimated one person out of every 2,000 having the condition. It generally appears in the teenage years and can progress slowly or rapidly.

Keratoconus also runs in families, so if you or your children are at risk, it’s advised to contact us for a thorough eye exam.

Famous People with Keratoconus

Stephen Curry, one of the NBA's greatest basketball players, has Keratoconus. Diagnosed in 2019, Curry recently announced that he has been playing with Keratoconus for the past 10 years! If a great athlete can correct his blurry vision so can you!

Causes of Keratoconus

Your cornea is held in place by very small collagen fibers. When they are weakened and too fragile, they aren’t able to preserve the round shape of your cornea.

A reduction in the protective antioxidants of your cornea, which act to destroy damaging by-products made naturally by corneal cells, is what causes keratoconus.

In addition to genetics, some types of eye injuries may increase your chance of being diagnosed with keratoconus.

Specific ocular diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, vernal keratoconjunctivitis and retinopathy of prematurity, as well as some systemic conditions (Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber's congenital amaurosis and osteogenesis imperfecta) are also associated with this corneal abnormality.

Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington has years of experience identifying the various levels of keratoconus and other corneal conditions.

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Symptoms of Keratoconus

When the shape of your cornea begins to bulge, it alters your eyesight in two different ways. As the cone shape forms, your normally smooth corneal surface becomes wavy, called irregular astigmatism. Additionally, as your cornea expands, vision becomes increasingly nearsighted. Focusing becomes impossible without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Usually, the problems begin in one eye and develop later in the other eye too.

Typically, patient’s eyeglass prescription will change often as the vision becomes worse and contact lenses will be difficult to wear due to discomfort and improper fit.

When keratoconus become more severe (which usually takes a long time however on occasion can happen rather quickly), the cornea can begin to swell and form scar tissue. This scar tissue can result in even further visual distortion and blurred vision.

Altogether, these changes can create the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Streaking of lights
  • Halos around bright lights at night; glare
  • Sudden change of vision in only one eye
  • Objects appear distorted, both near and distant
  • Double vision from just one eye
  • Triple ghost images

How We Diagnose Keratoconus

Our eye doctors will inspect carefully for the signs of keratoconus during your comprehensive eye exam. It’s critical to inform us of any symptoms that you’ve been experiencing. To diagnose the condition, we’ll measure the shape of your cornea. Computerized Corneal Topography is used for this procedure, which takes a picture of your cornea and analyzes it instantly.

Treatment for Keratoconus

The first line of treatment is usually new prescription eyeglasses. If this solution doesn’t help you achieve good vision, then contact lenses will be tried. Rigid, gas permeable lenses are typically prescribed.

As the disease progresses, however, glasses and soft contact lenses may no longer correct vision and soft lenses may become uncomfortable. This is when other forms of vision correction will be recommended.

Gas Permeable and Scleral Contact Lenses

At the more advanced stage of keratoconus rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, scleral or semi-scleral lenses may be used for increased comfort and visual acuity. Since they are more rigid, RGP and scleral lenses are able to create a smooth, round shape around the cornea, creating a smoother surface for better vision.

Scleral or semi-scleral lenses have a larger diameter which covers the entire cornea and reaches over into the white part of the eye, which is known as the sclera.

Many patients find these more comfortable than regular RGPs and find that they move around less when the eyes move. The main disadvantage of these rigid lenses is that for some, they are somewhat less comfortable than soft lenses and they must be continually refitted as the shape of the eye changes.

Whether it is glasses or contact lenses being used to correct vision, patients will likely have to undergo many tests and prescription changes as their vision needs to change.

Intacs

Intacs are small, surgically implanted plastic inserts which are placed on the cornea to flatten it back to shape. Usually they are able to restore clear vision, with the continued use of glasses. Intacs are often recommended when contact lenses and eyeglasses are no longer able to correct vision adequately. Intacs take about 10 minutes to insert and can delay the need for corneal transplant.

PTK for severe keratoconus

Severe keratoconus may lead to extreme scarring, due to overstretched collagen fibers. If the back of your corneas tears as a result, swelling may occur. It can take months for the swelling to go down, and a large scar is generally created. PTK, a specialized procedure, can smooth out this scar, thereby enhancing contact lens comfort.

Cornea collagen crosslinking

Cornea collagen crosslinking is another therapy that has shown to be effective in slowing the progression of keratoconus. An alternate remedy is called intacs, which are semicircular implants inserted under the surface of the cornea to flatten the bulging cone shape and give better vision.

Cornea Transplant

As a last resort, a cornea transplant may be performed. During this procedure, the center of your cornea will be removed and replaced with a donor cornea. The new cornea is stitched into place, and you’ll need to wear contact lenses for adequate vision after the surgery.

Dangers of LASIK and Keratoconus

LASIK can potentially weaken the cornea of anyone who suffers from keratoconus, making it a dangerous procedure. If this happens, your vision will become substantially worse. Even if your keratoconus is mild, LASIK is not an option.

Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington is happy to meet with you for a 1-on-1 consultation to get you back on the path to reaching clear vision.

Meet with Our Keratoconus Specialist in Tukwila, Washington

Scleral Lenses For Post LASIK, Post PRK, And Post RK Surgery

Scleral Lenses For Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, And Post-RK Surgery

LASIK, PRK and RK are common refractive vision surgeries that correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism by altering the shape of the cornea using a laser. While these surgeries have a high success rate, eye complications can occur, such as Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, and Post-RK ectasia, a corneal distortion or irregularity that causes the cornea to weaken and bulge.

Those with surgery complications develop vision problems that cannot be fully corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses, as their newly shaped cornea often causes the lenses to easily dislodge. For those people, scleral lenses are the ideal option for clear and comfortable vision.

Have you experienced complications following your laser eye surgery? Speak with Patricia Jitodai, OD at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center to find out how scleral lenses can help you see clearly and comfortably again.

Why Wear Specialty Contact Lenses For Post-Surgery Complications?

Post-LASIK, Post-PRK, and Post-RK patients with eye complications tend to experience poor, distorted vision, resulting in an inability to wear standard contact lenses due to their sensitive cornea. In fact, attempting to wear soft contact lenses can be extremely painful and can further damage the cornea.

Scleral lenses provide clear vision and all-day comfort to those with corneal aberrations, whether due to existing eye conditions or following corneal surgery. These customized hard lenses are larger in diameter than standard contact lenses and because the lenses vault over the cornea, they spread their weight over a much greater, less sensitive area. These specialty contacts are made of highly oxygen permeable materials and provide a soothing bath of artificial tears that hydrate the ocular surface all day long.

Getting Fitted For Scleral Lenses

Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to see significant improvements in clarity, color and contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. The comfort you’ll experience allows you to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long so that you can keep doing all the things you love.

Does Collagen Cross-Linking Correct Post-LASIK Ectasia?

Patients with corneal ectasia resulting from LASIK surgery complications may be advised to undergo collagen cross-linking — a new method in treating advanced cases of keratoconus and diseased corneas.

Note that many patients who undergo collagen cross-linking may still require specialty contact lenses to achieve clear vision. Speak with your eye doctor to learn more.

Can a Second LASIK Surgery Repair My Ectasia?

Certain LASIK surgeons may recommend a follow-up enhancement procedure to improve your vision. This may lead you to undergo several corrective LASIK surgeries, potentially leaving you with scarred corneas and even poorer vision.

The safest and best option is to wear scleral lenses, as they correct astigmatism, farsightedness, and hyperopia, and are perfectly safe on corneas. Our patients who got fitted for custom-designed scleral lenses report feeling thrilled with how sharp and comfortable their vision has become.

For more information or to book a consultation, contact Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center today.

Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center serves patients from Tukwila, Renton, Burien, Seattle, and throughout Washington .


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Scleral Lenses For Post Corneal Graft

Patients may be concerned that achieving a clear and comfortable vision will be nearly impossible following corneal transplant surgery. Although corneal transplants have a high success rate, they do not entirely cure the eye of disease. Patients will certainly notice dramatic improvements, but their vision will still need to be corrected.

It can take more than a year for the eye to recover from a corneal transplant, as it needs time to adapt to the new cornea. Because this adjustment is unpredictable, nearsightedness or astigmatism may develop. Even after complete recovery, prescription glasses or lenses may still be required. For this and other reasons (explained below), scleral lenses are the optimal choice for vision correction.

Here at Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center, we aim to provide the best possible vision for our patients who’ve had a corneal transplant. If you’ve undergone this procedure, speak with Patricia Jitodai, OD to determine whether scleral contact lenses are the best choice for you.

Understanding Corneal Transplants

There are two common types of corneal transplants:

Penetrating keratoplasty, also called “full-thickness corneal transplant”, is when the full thickness of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) is replaced with healthy donor tissue.

Endothelial keratoplasty replaces only the diseased corneal tissue, leaving healthy tissue behind.

woried old manWhy Would Someone Need a Corneal Transplant?

A corneal transplant is generally recommended in the following cases:

  • For those with vision problems caused by the thinning of the cornea (generally due to keratoconus) and only after less invasive treatments have been proven ineffective
  • Scarred cornea caused by severe injuries or infections
  • Vision loss caused by cloudiness of the cornea, typically due to Fuchs dystrophy

Scleral Lenses & Post-Corneal Transplant Surgery

Corneal transplants don’t cure irregular corneas, as the transplant doesn’t fully adapt to the eye. Some eye doctors may recommend rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP’s), hybrid contact lenses, or scleral lenses for clear and comfortable vision.

Of all the options, scleral lenses are the optimal choice. The fully customized contact lens vaults entirely over the cornea without adding any pressure to it, while allowing the cornea to remain hydrated for ultimate healing and comfort. Furthermore, because they are larger in size than any other contact lens, they are less likely to shift and move around on the eyes, thus reducing the risk of irritation or abrasion.

We Fit Scleral Lenses and Other Specialty Contact Lenses

Getting fitted for scleral lenses after a corneal graft can be life-changing. It can allow you to comfortably and safely drive at night or resume playing a sport that you thought you’d have to give up.

If you’ve had a corneal transplant or plan to do so in the near future, know that clear and comfortable vision after the surgery is possible. Don’t miss out on incredible life experiences because of poor vision — call Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center today.

Innovative Eyecare's Keratoconus & Scleral Lenses Center serves patients from Tukwila, Renton, Burien, Seattle, and throughout Washington .


Book An Appointment
Call Us 206-516-2020

Enhanced Vision & Comfort with Scleral Lenses

Have irregular corneas or severe dry eye?
Try scleral lenses!
They’re custom fit, providing more comfortable, clear, and improved vision.

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What are Scleral Lenses?

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Scleral contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses with an extra-wide diameter. As opposed to traditional contacts, scleral lenses vault over the entire cornea, leaving a gap between the lens and the corneal surface before coming to rest on the white part of your eye (your sclera).

Their unique design has taken scleral lenses to the top of the charts for ultimate wearing comfort, healthy eyes, and excellent vision for people of all ages.

They are custom-fit to your eye and are perfect for those with hard-to-fit eyes, astigmatism, keratoconus, severe dry eye, or for those simply seeking more comfort when wearing contact lenses.

Read More about Scleral Lenses

With scleral lenses, you’ll experience consistently clear vision—even if you have an irregular cornea. Here are some of the benefits provided by scleral lenses:

  • Their super-size diameter ensures that they stay centered and stable on your eye, which also prevents them from popping out easily, even if you play sports or lead an active lifestyle.
  • They are made up from high quality, durable materials to last for the long haul.
  • The large size of the lens protects your eyes from debris, dust, and allergens, providing a perfect solution if you suffer from eye allergies.
  • They are composed of highly breathable gas permeable material, which ensures that ample oxygen reaches the eye, leading to healthy eyes and comfortable lens wear.
  • These lenses have a pocket that fills with moisturizing tears. This wet, lubricating cushion leads to a very comfortable wearing experience, as well as healthier eyes.

Ready to say goodbye to all those contact lenses that felt uncomfortable and didn’t give you sharp vision?

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Who Wears Scleral Lenses?

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Some wear them for increased comfort, while others choose sclerals because specific eye problems prevent them from wearing regular contact lenses or glasses.

Scleral lenses are extremely helpful in managing the following conditions:

Dry Eyes: For people with gritty, itchy and dry eyes, wearing traditional contact lenses are an added irritation. In contrast, the tear reservoir between the back of the scleral lens and the cornea, the front surface of the eye, allows your eyes to remain moist and comfortable all day long. This makes scleral lenses ideal for those with dry eye syndrome.

Hard-to-Fit Eyes: Those with irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition (i.e. keratoconus), or complications following surgery (such as LASIK), can at times develop vision problems that cannot be corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses. In such cases, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, secure fit, and sharper vision.

Scleral lenses are particularly useful for managing these eye conditions:

  • Keratoconus
  • Astigmatism
  • Dry Eyes
  • Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK, PRK)
  • Presbyopia

Whatever your case, we welcome you to call Patricia Jitodai, OD to discuss your needs and assess whether scleral lenses are a suitable and effective solution for your unique case.

Learn More about Scleral Lenses | FAQ

medical-plus medical-plus How do Scleral Lenses Help with Dry Eye Syndrome?

Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. 

By filling the bowl of the lens with unpreserved saline solution prior to inserting it in the eye, you ensure that your eyes are always in a hydrated and comfortable environment. This provides relief from unpleasant dry eye symptoms such as pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness while providing sharp, clear vision.

medical-plus medical-plus Why Do Scleral Lenses Offer Superior Comfort?

Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each person’s unique eye shape, corneal curves, and contours, providing unparalleled comfort. Their size and shape also ensure stability.

To design the lenses, Patricia Jitodai, OD will take exact measurements of your cornea through a process called corneal topography. This process ensures that your personal pair of scleral lenses allows the right amount of light in and sits stably on the eye, thus offering superior vision, all-day ocular hydration, and increased comfort. 

If other contact lenses haven't worked for you, don’t despair — you may be a candidate for scleral lenses. Talk toPatricia Jitodai, OD to determine your best course of action.

medical-plus medical-plus Does Insurance Cover Scleral Lenses?

When it comes to scleral lenses, every insurance company is different. Some cover the eye exams and custom fitting, but not the actual lenses. Others may cover a portion of the cost or 100% of the cost, but only if other treatment methods have been exhausted. It’s important that you consult with your  insurance provider to understand the particulars of your scleral lens coverage.

It is our strong belief that one’s quality of life is profoundly associated with one’s vision. Vision problems, whether due to keratoconus, LASIK, ocular trauma corneal irregularities, or dry eye syndrome, affect all aspects of a patient’s life.

Relieve your discomfort by scheduling a consultation with Patricia Jitodai, OD and we’ll help you find the best solution for your condition and lifestyle.

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