Contact Lens Technology

Contact Lens Options for Keratoconus and Other Corneal Disorders

Contact Lens TechnologyLead by Dr. John D. Gelles, the contact lens division of the CLEI Center for Keratoconus has unparalleled experience in specialty contact lens fitting for keratoconus and other corneal diseases.

We strive to achieve success with even the most difficult challenges. Our center is exclusively devoted to addressing the needs of keratoconus patients and also patients suffering loss of vision from a variety of conditions that have affected the cornea and ocular surface.

In our practice, we have achieved comfortable contact lens wear with good vision even in patients who have failed contact lens use in that past. Dr. Gelles, Dr. Hersh, and the CLEI keratoconus team will spare no effort in assuring that you get the best result possible.

The CLEI Center for Keratoconus is recognized as a global leader in keratoconus and corneal disease. We have every modern technology available for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease and extensive experience in specialized KC contact lens fitting.

The CLEI Center for Keratoconus has a rich history of success and innovation in the subspecialty area of specialty contact lens (including the Hersh Palpebral Traction Lens, which was developed by Dr. Donald Hersh) This gives us the ability to meet the challenges of the keratoconic cornea and restore useful vision even in the most difficult cases.

Remember, specialty contact lenses are the mainstay of visual improvement for individuals suffering from vision loss associated with keratoconus and other irregular corneal conditions. It is important to realize that that KC specialty contact lenses differ dramatically from traditional mass manufactured contact lenses that most of us know.

Traditional Contact Lenses vs Specialty Lenses

Contact Lenses vs Specialty LensesTraditional contact lenses are manufactured by the millions each day. They are available in soft material only and are made in a process called cast molding which allows large batches of lenses to be made all at once in a highly automated process.

These lenses are made for the majority of NORMAL cornea shapes, in a limited number of shapes and sizes. Individuals that fall outside of the normal range typically experience issues with these lenses and would benefit from a specialty contact lens.

These pictures show the mass manufacturing process of soft contact lenses:

By contrast, specialty contact lenses are custom tailor-made for an individual’s corneal shape under exact specifications from the doctor. Thus, it is important to recognize that the skill of your doctor is paramount to your success.

These lenses are produced by a lathe cut process, where one lens is manufactured at a time to individual specifications. These lenses can be made of either soft or rigid materials (or combined) in virtually any shape or size.

The only limitations are the physical attributes of the lathe and the extent of your doctor’s skill, experience, and ability to find an innovative and imaginative solutions to meet your specific needs. Lenses can be further modified by your doctor in-office, as is the case with many of our patients.

As you can see below, each specialty contact lens is made individually, and specifically tailored to the specifications ordered by the doctor, based on your contact lens fit.

Specialty Contact Lens Options for Keratoconus

Due to the varied unique shapes and needs of the keratoconic cornea, there are a number of lens modalities that Dr. Gelles may utilize:

  • Gas Permeable (rigid material)
  • Corneal GP (aka Rigid Gas Permeable, RGP)Contact Lens Options
  • Corneoscleral
  • Mini-Scleral
  • Scleral
  • Scleral Prosthetic Device
  • Hybrid (a combination of soft and rigid material)
  • Specialty Custom Soft
  • Keratoconic Soft Lenses
  • Prosthetic/Cosmetic Soft
  • “Piggy-Back” fitting – RGP lens fitted over a soft contact lens

Contact Lenses vs Specialty Lenses


Picture of man with Doctor

Thank you so much Doc! When I first came to you I was 20/50 now I'm 20/10. I'm ready to have a great year!

Randy Foye
Pro Athlete, Utah Jazz #8
Female Boxer

My experience at The Cornea and Laser Eye Institute has been amazing. All of the staff have been helpful and courteous...

Phd Student, MMA fighter
Man with Doctor

Dr. Hersh and his staff were excellent. I was comfortable from the time I walked in until the time I left after the procedure.

Luke Petitgout
Pro Athlete, New York Giants Football