Contact Lenses -" A Primer
By Thomas P. Finley, OD
Dr. Finley's Family Eyecare
More Vision & Eye Care Articles
Contact Lenses -" A Primer
Contact lenses have been around for many years and continue to evolve and improve. Today, there are over 36 million contact lens wearers in the United States. Contact lenses offer people the ability to see well and comfortably while minimizing their dependence on eyeglasses. This article will touch on the basics of contact lenses.
Contact lenses generally come in two forms soft and rigid (hard). Soft lenses garner around 90% of the contact lens market compared to 10% for the rigid or hard lenses. Soft contact lenses are significantly more comfortable than rigid lenses for a first time contact lens wearer, and also remain slightly more comfortable even after one becomes adapted. Soft lenses are larger, do not move on the eye as much, are less prone to get dust or dirt underneath them, and are less likely to pop out of your eye unexpectedly. For active individuals, they are a far more popular choice.
Soft lenses are categorized in many different ways based on how long you can keep them in your eyes, how long you can wear them before replacing them, are they clear, tinted or colored, do they correct astigmatism, are they bifocals, and are they custom made. What is the best lens for you will depend on what your needs and wants are, as well as what lens will give you the sharpest vision, superior comfort, perform well on your eyes, and keep your eyes healthy and free of disease.
Contact lenses are extremely safe, but can still cause serious sight threatening eye problems. Your success will depend on how well your doctor fits the contact lenses on your eyes and how well you take care of them. Cleaning and disinfecting (killing the germs) your contact lenses properly is extremely important. It is also important not to over-wear your lenses, so you will always need a good back-up pair of eyeglasses to use when youre not wearing your contacts. Even when everything seems perfect, eye problems from contact lenses can still occur. If your eyes become red or irritated, remove your lenses immediately and notify your eye doctor.
Contact lenses can be divided into daily wear or extended (flexible) wear. Generally speaking, daily wear lenses must be removed every night while extended wear lenses can be slept in overnight for a few nights up to one month. Extended wear lenses allow more oxygen to pass through the lenses and get to your eyes. Even though they breathe better, sleeping with contact lenses increases the risk of problems occurring. Most of our patients are fit with extended wear lenses, but still remove them every night.
Contact lenses are also categorized into disposable versus conventional. Disposable lenses are significantly more popular and widely used. A person will replace their lenses more frequently daily, weekly, every two weeks, monthly, or quarterly. Disposable lenses tend to be healthier. Because you replace them more frequently, they remain cleaner which helps prevent problems. They are also significantly more convenient. Youll always have a spare pair. They are also easier to take care of; less muss and fuss.
Contact lenses are available in a wide variety of powers. People with high degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can oftentimes be successfully fit with contact lenses. Bifocal contact lenses are also available and continue to
Contact lenses are extremely popular and a great option for correcting your vision. As technology improves, so do contact lenses. Even if you havent been able to wear them in the past, you may be able to wear them now. Speak to your eye doctor about the new choices available.
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