Let’s face it: When most people go to the eye doctor, they have some very basic assumptions. “She has a degree on her wall from a leading school of optometry. Therefore, she’ll do exactly what’s needed to help create my new eyeglasses . . . or fit my contacts . . . or diagnose and treat my eye condition.”
While there is truth in those assumptions, they don’t tell the whole story—or go far enough. Because it’s important to realize that eye care—in the real world—happens on different levels. And, to us, the top level is all about problem-solving.
How “Bespoke” Service Helps Treat Eye Conditions
At Optique, our office is located a stone’s throw from the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Yet we are sent patients from all over the Southeast and Midwest. Why do these people travel so far to see us? In a nutshell, it’s because we offer “bespoke” eye care that addresses—in a very precise, specific-to-the-individual way—a host of eye conditions and diseases. The term “bespoke” means “completely customized to the individual person.” Translating that to plain English and placing it in context, it means offering contact lenses and eye glasses that are constructed to the exact specifications of your eyes—and meet the exact needs of your eyes—in every sense.
That means “bespoke” eye care is all about very meticulous problem-solving that literally has the power to give you back a quality of life you thought might have slipped away due to eye problems.
Family Care Vs. Corporate Bottom-Line
Optique is a family business in a very corporate world. Other eye care practices in Nashville that appear to be private or family-run are actually franchises of a large chain owned by the optical conglomerate Essilor. (You can determine that if “Vision Source” is mentioned anywhere.) In addition, many of the materials we use are from independent brands: our spectacle lens laboratory, our bespoke contact lenses (soft, gas-permeable, and hybrid), and many frame vendors. Because Dr. Jeffrey Sonsino is a nationally-recognized leader in the field of optometry, many companies provide materials to Optique that can’t be found anywhere else. So our equipment is patient-centered and top-of-the-line—not what a corporation thinks will make them the most money.
Contact Lenses that Treat Keratoconus and a Host of Other Eye Diseases
One of the state-of-the-art tools we have for treating eye diseases are custom contact lenses. Let’s look at one specific example of how an optometrist—working from a bespoke, problem-solving mindset—can help patients in this way. For our example, let’s look at the treatment of keratoconus.
Keratoconus is a thinning disorder of the cornea that results, generally, in visual distortion. It is very distressful for patients because it can cause a host of vision problems—blurring, multiple images, ghosting, glare, halos, and starbursts around lights.
Luckily, keratoconus is not a very common eye disease, but it is also not rare. It is estimated that 1 out of every 2,000 people has it. Keratoconus is usually initially diagnosed in young people at puberty or in their later teen years. It has been diagnosed in every state in the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world. Thus far, at least, research has detected no significant cultural, geographic, or social cause.
The usual warning signs of keratoconus—those that usually manifest first—are blurred vision and a frequent change in eye glass prescription, or vision that cannot be corrected with glasses.
Unfortunately, keratoconus, particularly in the early stages, can be difficult to diagnose, and all the previously-mentioned symptoms could actually be the result of other eye problems. To receive an authoritative diagnosis of keratoconus requires observing the signs through direct measurement, plus inspection of the cornea at a microscopic level using a slit lamp. Once diagnosed, there is incredible nuance in designing contact lenses that treat the condition and provide the absolute best visual outcome.
Why Custom Contact Lenses Can Be Your Life-Changing Solution
Here at Optique, keratoconus is just one of a host of serious eye diseases and conditions we treat in this revolutionary way, with custom contact lenses. But maybe you’re thinking, “Well, that leaves me out, because my eye doctor says I can’t wear contacts.” If you’ve been told that, you may want to consult an expert in contact lenses.
Custom contact lenses include hybrid lenses (half hard, half soft), custom-made soft toric lenses (that are able to correct any amount of astigmatism), and scleral lenses. Scleral lenses are large-diameter, gas-permeable contact lenses specially designed to “vault” over your entire corneal surface, and rest on the “white” of your eye (which is called the “sclera”). By doing so, scleral contact lenses can, in essence, replace your irregular cornea with a perfectly smooth, optical surface to correct vision problems caused by keratoconus and other corneal irregularities.
A Frequent Solution for Dry Eyes, Too
Optique Eye Care is one of our region’s busiest complex contact lens services. Our deepest satisfaction comes from helping patients “go from zero to 100,” often providing them with advanced contact lens solutions other doctors tried to provide, but couldn’t. Another of these situations frequently arises around the issue of dry eyes.
Here’s how scleral contact lenses can often solve this problem: The space between the cornea and the back surface of a scleral lens acts as a fluid reservoir. In this way, the lenses can provide comfort for people with severe dry eyes, even those who otherwise could not tolerate wearing contacts.
Here at Optique, we are constantly “at the ready” to provide the precise problem-solving you and your eyes need. Whether you will ultimately require custom contact lenses or another form of correction or treatment, we invite you to benefit from the problem-solving mindset we bring to eye care.
“I’ve been to I don’t know how many specialists to see if I could wear contact lenses for keratoconus. Every time, they said they could fit me. And every time, I left disappointed and without lenses. When Dr. Sonsino said he was confident that he could fit me, I didn’t have high hopes. But you and your staff have actually fit me in the most comfortable lenses, that I can actually see out of. It is truly amazing. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for all of the work you have done to make me see again.” — David B.
“My experience with Dr. Sonsino has been a journey of 12+ years. I am a patient that has a history of keratoconus and corneal transplants. Dr. Sonsino has worked with me through two transplants and many different types of contact lenses. I have never had so much care, concern, and knowledge from a health care provider as I have received from him. I would recommend him to anyone who is in need for help with any vision problem. I am now in scleral lenses and seeing better than I have seen in years. I am so grateful for the dedication of Dr. Sonsino and his staff for this great work.” — Martha V.