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Rose-K and RGP Lenses

Rose-K and RGP lenses are can help improve vision in those with keratoconus. As a progressive eye disease, keratoconus is characterized by a gradual thinning of the cornea. Over time, the cornea loses its round shape and bulges into a cone, which causes blurry and distorted vision.

During the early stages of keratoconus, standard eyeglasses or soft contact lenses can often provide patients with clear and comfortable vision. As the corneal shape becomes increasingly irregular, the eye becomes incapable of focusing light effectively. For highly irregular corneas, eyeglasses or soft lenses cannot adequately compensate for the irregularities, which means they do not provide effective visual correction. Keratoconus that has progressed beyond the early stages needs to be treated with other alternative visual correction technologies.

Rose-K contact lenses are often a very effective method for correcting vision in patients with keratoconus. The creator of the lens, New Zealand optometrist Paul Rose, came up with the Rose K design because he was frustrated with his inability to treat keratoconus patients effectively. He realized that most contact lenses on the market did not mimic the shape of the cornea well. For most patients, this shortcoming wasn’t a problem: a standard contact lens shape was close enough to usual corneal shape to provide sufficient vision correction. For patients with keratoconus, the shape of the standard lens was a poor match for their needs.

Paul Rose began devising and testing a contact lens to help patients with irregularly-shaped corneas. He began work on the project in 1989, testing a dozen different designs and hundreds upon hundreds of lenses. He created a set of 26 different contact lenses he could use to fit patients with keratoconus and similar conditions.

Rose K lenses hit the market in New Zealand first and then gained FDA approval, arriving in the United States in 1995. In the years since, the Rose K lens has become one of the most popular RGP lenses for correcting corneal irregularities. According to the Rose K website, these lenses are distributed to 88 countries globally.

There are several characteristics that make the Rose K lens ideal for correcting vision in keratoconus and other irregular cornea diseases and disorders. The result is a lens that fits very well over an irregular eye, leading to clear and comfortable vision. These characteristics include:

  • A complex geometry capable of accounting for the irregular shape of the cornea in all stages of keratoconus. Whether the condition is mild or advanced, Rose K lenses can provide powerful vision correction.
  • A smart design process that uses complex computer operations and special digital lathes to craft each lens. The computer-controlled lathes carefully cut the lenses—made of oxygen permeable polymers—to the perfect shape to suit the patient.
  • The option for customization. Rose K lenses can be custom-designed for any eye. By matching the specific corneal irregularities of the patient, Rose K lenses can reliably correct astigmatism and refractive error (be it myopia or hyperopia) associated with keratoconus.
  • A highly breathable design. The polymers used for Rose K lenses allow oxygen to penetrate directly through the lenses. This design keeps the eye healthy while ensuring all-day comfort for the patient.
  • Their ease of use. Rose K lenses are easy to insert, remove, clean and care for.

Because keratoconus is a progressive disease by nature, the Rose K lens must be fitted with extraordinary care and reevaluated at least every year by a contact lens specialist. At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we are experienced with this type of lens and can provide both your initial fitting and your annual evaluations. Call us today at (305) 814-2299 to schedule an appointment.