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The Contact Lens Specialist Optometrist


Optometrists provide a vital supportive role in the community. Not only can an optometrist who is a contact lens specialist assess the need and appropriateness for contact lenses as well as prescribe and fit contact lenses, but they can also diagnose and treat a variety of eye diseases. An optometrist can provide a vital primary care resource; and, some are specialists in areas that are of immense benefit and generally not areas of available service even from ophthalmologists.

The advantages | benefits | importance | necessities of having an optometrist who has had the education | experience | training of a cornea and contact lens residency and is a contact lens specialist are astounding. Particularly when it comes to complex contact lens fits including subsections dedicated to the application of this focus to patients with keratoconus, corneal transplants, refractive surgery, children with educational issues, and those with visual systems that give inaccurate and/or incomplete information which hinder consistent superior athletic performance during practice or “peak” performances.

The Demand for Specially Trained Optometrists as Contact Lens Specialists is Increasing

The demand for specially trained optometrists in many realms and for many reasons has been increasing for several years and all indications are that this trend will continue strongly. It is evident that additional education, professional hands-on training and clinical experience are mandatory elements to meet the needs and demands in the community. Additional optometrist education is necessary to be on the cutting edge of what an optometrist can provide.

Optometrists have to be able to diagnose complex medical conditions and provide targeted non-surgical treatment for these conditions. Postgraduate education is available in the form of a one-year specialty programs like:

  • community health optometry
  • cornea and contact lens residency
  • low vision rehabilitation
  • ocular disease
  • optometric family practice
  • pediatric or geriatric optometry
  • primary eye care
  • refractive and ocular surgery
  • vision therapy and rehabilitation

However, one of the most lucrative and busy optometry residency programs is the cornea and contact lens residency course that offers candidates an important scope for expansion.

Clinically-trained optometrists may also choose to continue their education in the form of a fellowship program with the American Academy of Optometry. The higher education and clinical training mean that the candidate is well versed in complex medical care for systemic and ophthalmic diseases.

Why do an Optometrist Cornea and Contact Lens Specialist Residency or Clinical Course?

Contacts lenses created a revolution when they were first released for consumer use. They made away with cumbersome spectacles and they could be literally be used by anyone. Now, more than 125 million people worldwide use contact lenses for a range of vision problems but not everyone is a good candidate for contacts. Most companies do provide readymade lenses that are disposed daily or annually.

However, readymade contacts are not helpful for patients with complex vision problems like keratoconus, corneal transplants, refractive surgery, etc. A poorly fitting lens could also compromise the vision in the case of children with educational issues or for athletes who require optimum vision. Most readymade lenses are also available in just one diameter, one or two base curves and axes. This can result in an awkward fit, poor vision, and discomfort and patients may stop using soft contact lenses completely

An optometrist who is a contact lens specialist can prevent this problem completely by measuring the corneal topography or digital surfacing the cornea of each customer. With a personal eye measurement and subjective manifest refraction data, they can then make custom-fitted lenses for each patient. With custom fits and newer manufacturing methods, it is now possible to find corrective contact lenses in power increments of 0.50 to about 0.75D. In some instances, special contact lenses can also be ordered to correct difficult eye conditions like presbyopia and keratoconus. However, accurate measurements by a specially trained licensed medical professional, like optometrist contact lens specialist Dr. Ashley Tucker ( Houston, TX), are necessary to ensure adequate vision.

As an optometry vision center of highly accomplished and respected professionals on the cutting edge of optometric services, Dr. Tucker and Bellaire Family Eye Care provide diagnoses and treatment using the latest technology in optometry. From retinal imaging to visual field analysis, from the Z-View Aberrometer (a transformational breakthrough in vision diagnostics) to neurosensory diagnoses, and from diabetic retinopathy to glaucoma – Dr. Ashley Tucker and the clinical team at Bellaire Family Eye Care offer every detail of diagnoses and treatment regarding contact lenses, eye conditions | injuries | treatments and so very much more.

More About Residency-Trained Optometrists

Contact lens specialists completing their optometry residency are also required to check the fit and visual acuity offered by the custom lens after delivery. After delivery, optometrists will evaluate the fit and visual acuity achieved by the lenses. Most cornea and contact lens residency-trained optometrists will allow the new lenses to settle for fifteen minutes and then evaluate the lenses for fit, centration, movement and lens rotation. If the optometrist notices a problem in the fit or visual clarity of the lens, they can immediately make custom changes or order a new pair to ensure patient comfort. Follow-up visits may also be set up to ensure that the patient is comfortable with the contact lenses they have ordered.

Residency-trained contact lens specialists are optometrists who will also know about the latest types of custom-made lenses for optometric sports vision training. For example, hioxifilcon and silicone hydrogel are now the preferred materials for making soft contact lenses due to their superior saturation levels and dimensional stability required for optometric sports vision training. These chemically stable but porous lenses can be worn in any athletic field that requires extensive optometric sports vision training. This means that visiting an optometrist could result in increased visual acuity and better patient performance in a range of fields simply because the eyes were measured properly and you got the exact contact lens prescription you required.

Job Outlook for Residency-Trained Optometrists as Contact Lens Specialists

According to research published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, there has been a severe shortage of trained eye professionals worldwide over the last two decades and the shortage is expected to double in the coming years. In America alone, there were more than 50 million people over the age of 50 in 2012. This number will double by 2025 and these patients would require a lot of expert eye care to deal with their fading vision.  As a result, cornea and contact lens residency trained and expert optometrists will be in high demand and they can play a vital role in diagnoses, treatment and providing targeted ophthalmic care in a variety of conditions. It makes sense that optometrists who are residency-trained cornea and contact lens specialists will have a brighter future in the coming decades and provide an extremely valuable service to the community.

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