A Complete Guide: Know Your Contact Lens,
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A Complete Guide: Know Your Contact Lens

Contact lens
Your reasons to opt for contact lens may vary. While some find contacts a necessity, for others it is just about looking good. Then, there are also highly active individuals like sportspersons who wear contacts to get an unobstructed peripheral vision which eyeglasses fail to give. What ever the reason, you must know that contact lenses are safe and have been around for decades now. The passing time and research into the field of optics has only made them safer and more comfortable.

Getting Your Contact Lenses

You cannot buy contact lenses unless you have a prescription in the US. So, it is essential that you pay a visit to your eye doctor before getting one. The doctor will decide based on things like the power, eye structure, and other factors to suggest one that suits you best. There are several types of contact lenses available today. The most popular one being soft lenses, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson , Cooper Vision, Alcon (formerly Ciba Vision) Bausch & Lomb

Soft Lenses: These lenses are made of water-containing, gel-like plastics known as hydrogels and cover the entire cornea. An improvement over soft lens is silicone hydrogel contact lens. The major advantage of this soft lens is the fact that it allows more oxygen to the eye than the regular soft ones.

Some Statistics to Help You Make the Choice

According to a survey of contact lens use in the US conducted in 2011, 67% wearers preferred silicone hydrogel contact lenses making them the most popular choice. This was followed by regular soft lenses (24%), GP lenses (8%), and hybrid lenses (1%).

Daily Wear, Extended Wear, and Continuous Wear Lenses

You might have heard people talk about daily, extended, and continuous wear contacts. If you are wondering what the difference is, it is very simple:
  • Daily wear lenses must be removed before you go to sleep.
  • Extended wear contacts can be worn continuously without removing them, which means you can even sleep wearing them (usually for about 7 consecutive days).
  • Continuous wear lenses can be used up to 30 nights without removal.
Different Contact Lens Life Cycles

It goes without saying that you must care for your contact lenses to keep them free of infection. However, these can still catch an infection beyond a certain point, which makes replacement unavoidable after suggested durations. You must note that the disposal time varies depending on the type of lens. Here is a breakdown:

Type of Lens Disposal Interval
Yearly Six months or even longer
Quarterly Quarterly
monthly Monthly
1-2 Weeks Bi-weekly
Daily Disposable Lenses Change daily
The Design Choice

It is not really up to you to make a choice here. Your doctor will decide on the best design based on your needs. However, it helps to know what designs are out there and what problems they address. The table below will give you a quick and exact idea.

Design Problems Addressed
Spherical Nearsightedness and farsightedness
Bifocal Presbyopia (inability to focus at all distances)
Orthokeratology For reshaping cornea during sleep for a lens-free morning
Toric Astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness

It should be noted that these lenses can be customized to fit the shape of your eyes to improve the efficiency of vision and wearing comfort.

Advanced Custom Features

There are several lens options today that give you various benefits that range from appearance enhancement to extra protection.

Lenses that inhibit Ultraviolet Rays: The UV rays from the sun are known to increase the risk of cataract formation. The UV-inhibiting lenses offer you some protection against these rays. However, it should be noted that these do not cover the entire eye and you would still need to wear sunglasses that block UV rays.

Custom Lenses: The shape of your eyes may be different from the common ones, which can make the ready-to-wear lenses inappropriate for you. Custom lenses come to your rescue in such cases. These are custom made to fit you perfectly.

Dry Eye Lenses: Many people suffer dry eyes due to contact lens, which can irrigate the eyes and turn them red. If you are one such person, then opting for lenses that are specifically designed to mitigate this problem would be a good choice. Some examples may include Air Optix Night & Day, Proclear, Acuvue One day Moist, and Acuvue Oasys.

Prosthetic Lenses: Diseases and injuries can sometimes disfigure the eyes. Prosthetic lenses are soft contacts that mask such deformities to give the person an aesthetic appearance.

Colored lenses: You do not have to limit the purpose of your lens to mere vision; they can also make you look better. While some people use colored lenses to enhance their natural eye color, others use them to acquire the color they have always wanted.

Special effect lenses: These lenses take the colored lenses to a whole new level. Special effect lenses are most often used by actors to give them the appearance of vampires, cats or any other part they are playing.

What should be My Consideration to Choose the Lens?

The foremost consideration should be clear vision and addressing the problem at hand. The second would be your eye shape. You need a pair of lens that works best for your eye shape so that you remain comfortable. Your doctor will help you with these to a large extent. Then, there are other considerations such as dry eyes, aesthetics, and UV protection. The ultimate aim is to feel good about owning the pair, which is going to be a part of you all the time.