Eye Matters
August 7, 2009
Contact Lenses overview

In the past, spectacle corrections used to be the correction of choice. With the advent of modern technology, people are now choosing contact lenses as an alternative or backup to spectacles and eye surgery.{{more}}

The reason behind this is that contact lenses are becoming safer and safer every day. They also cost much less than they used to a few years ago. It is estimated that roughly 30% of the world’s vision corrections are contact lenses. In America alone over 34 million people wear contact lenses.

There are two types of contact lenses, rigid (hard) contact lenses and soft (flexible) contact lenses. A rigid or hard lens is a small thin plastic that fits over the cornea of eye. Flexible or soft lenses are slightly larger and are made of thin plastic that absorb fluid. Rigid lenses come as non gas permeable and gas permeable. Gas permeable lenses allow more oxygen to the eye and actually float on a tear film on the cornea. People with high astigmatism and irregularly shaped corneas see much better with this type of lens.

The soft lenses are usually more comfortable to wear and are the favoured lenses of choice by most eye doctors. In recent years disposable lenses have made contact lenses even more popular. These are lenses that can be worn for a specified period of time and then discarded. They are usually more expensive, are more comfortable and help reduce the risk of infection. Some of these lenses can be worn overnight, but it is highly recommended that they be taken out before going to bed to prevent the risk of infection.

Contact lenses can also be worn for cosmetic reasons. They are available in various colors and help give the appearance of a different eye color. Some contact lenses are made for dramatic effect such as cat’s eyes. These are great for events such as Halloween or Carnival. Most of these contact lenses are also available in prescription form.

Contact lenses are an alternative to eyeglasses. There are some people who do not like the look and feel of eye glasses. Some tend to lose their glasses a lot and as such contact lenses are a great alternative. People who wear contact lenses are required to check their eyes more often than those who wear normal glasses. People with severe allergies, frequent infections and dry eyes are not advised to use contact lenses. There are also other conditions that do not allow the use of contact lenses. Your eye doctor can advise you on this.

Next week we will expand our discussion on the different types of contact lenses and how to take care of them.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us. Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210