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Are There Prism Contact Lenses?

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A stack of plastic contact lens containers.

Your glasses help you see more clearly, so it can be confusing to see two images instead of one when you look at something nearby. Double vision can occur for many reasons, and prism lenses are a common way to help correct this problem. With the popularity of contact lenses, many patients with double vision wonder about the possibility of prism contacts.

While prisms cannot be built into contact lenses, they can be added to your regular glasses. Prism lenses are ideal for treating some, but not all causes of double vision

Our eye doctors at CHROMA can help determine the cause of your symptoms and if prism lenses are right for you. 

What Is Double Vision?

Double vision, or diplopia, is a condition where a person sees two images of a single object. The images you see can be side by side, stacked on each other, or diagonally apart. 

Double vision can significantly affect a person’s quality of life, making daily activities like reading or driving difficult. It’s important to note that occasional double vision can be normal, but if it persists or becomes more frequent, it’s best to see a CHROMA doctor. 

What Causes Double Vision?

Many potential causes of double vision exist, ranging from mild to severe. Typically, each eye sees a different image and sends it to the brain to create a single image. Double vision happens when this process has complications. It’s possible to have monocular (single eye) or binocular (both eyes) double vision. 

While double vision can seem scary, it’s important to remember that there are many possible causes. Our CHROMA eye doctors can perform various tests and scans to determine the root of the issue and provide treatment.

Some potential causes of double vision include:

  • Strabismus: Strabismus occurs when the eyes don’t line up in the same direction, causing each eye to see a different image. 
  • Cataracts: Cataracts are an age-related problem where the eye’s lens becomes cloudy and causes vision loss. This condition can lead to double vision as it worsens.
  • Convergence insufficiency: Convergence insufficiency is a condition where the eyes struggle to work together as a team, leading to vision troubles. 
  • Astigmatism: Astigmatism occurs when the eye’s cornea has a different shape, causing blurry and sometimes double vision. 
  • Keratoconus: Keratoconus causes the cornea to change shape and look more like a cone, affecting your vision. 
  • Retinal issues: Conditions like macular degeneration can affect the retina and lead to vision loss. As vision worsens, it can lead to double vision in one eye. 

What Are Prism Lenses?

Prism lenses are a special kind of lenses for glasses used to treat double vision. They bend light in a specific way to help your eyes work together more effectively. 

The prism refracts light in a way that helps your brain process the images from both eyes and create a single image. Adding a prism to your lenses doesn’t change your overall prescription, as it doesn’t affect your glasses’ lens power. 

These lenses can address double vision caused by the following conditions:

  • Eye muscle problems like strabismus
  • Nerve-related problems like multiple sclerosis
  • Neurological issues like head injuries or migraines 

Remember that prism lenses aren’t ideal for every eye-related problem. Our CHROMA doctors can help determine the cause of your double vision before recommending prism lenses. 

How Do Prism Lenses Work?

Adding a prism to your glasses refracts light before it enters your eye. Bending this light in front of the eye helps redirect it to the right place on the retina to create a single, clear image. 

Do Prism Lenses Have Side Effects?

While prism lenses are safe to use, there may be an adjustment period that lasts a couple of days. You might experience eye strain during this time, but this is a normal response to the lenses. Eye strain should resolve with time. 

While side effects can occur when wearing prism lenses, they’re typically rare. Contact our office if you experience any of these symptoms, and we can determine the cause of your discomfort.

Rare side effects include: 

  • Headaches
  • Eye discomfort
  • Double vision
  • Nausea
Dr. Barber at CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare holding a pair of glasses.

Are There Prism Contact Lenses?

Unfortunately, prism lenses are not available for contacts. It’s difficult to build the prism into contact lenses. Our eye doctors at CHROMA can address small misalignments through contact lenses, though instances of this are rare.

Patients who want to wear contact lenses instead of glasses may need a separate pair of prism glasses to wear over their contacts. Depending on the cause of your double vision, you may need treatment to resolve the issue causing your vision problems before you can wear contact lenses again. 

We can help determine how to address your double vision during an eye exam

We’re Here for Your Vision Needs

While prism contact lenses may not be in your future, we have other ways to support your vision. Our eye doctors at CHROMA can identify the cause of your double vision and recommend a customized treatment plan to help you see clearly—whether it’s prism lenses for your glasses or another treatment. Contact CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare for all your vision and eye health needs. For your convenience you can call us, text us, or book online.

Dr. Matt Barber of CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare

Written by
Dr. Matt Barber

Dr. Matthew G. Barber began seeing patients at CHROMA in September of 2001. For over two decades, Dr. Barber has worked diligently to provide cutting-edge eye care to the people of Fort Worth and its surrounding areas while providing a warm and friendly environment for his patients. He wanted to give the community of Fort Worth something unique and special, and so CHROMA was born.

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Dr. Matt Barber
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