What are contact lenses?
Contact lenses are tiny, transparent plastic discs designed to rest on the tear film over the clear front surface of the eye known as the cornea. Contact lenses are created primarily to correct refractive eye defects that manifest themselves in the form of:
a. nearsightedness – myopia or the inability to view objects at a distance
b. farsightedness – an abnormal condition of the eye in which it can see distant objects better than objects that are near. Also known as hyperopia, this condition is brought about by the shortness of the eyeball from front to back causing images to be focused behind the retina.
c. Astigmatism – a condition that results when the cornea, the front surface of the eye, is not perfectly round. When the cornea’s curvature is distorted, light focuses directly in the eye and causes blurry vision.
Who can wear contact lenses?
Recent advancements in technology both in lens materials used as well as in the manufacturing and design process have enabled more people to wear contact lenses; even those who previously could not. Some of these people include those suffering from astigmatism as well as those who need to wear bifocals to be able to see clearly.
What benefits can be derived from the use of contact lenses?
Although some people wear contact lenses purely for cosmetic reasons, others prefer using them for the convenience they bring and the fact that when you engage in sports or recreational activities, it is safer and more convenient to wear contact lenses. Patients who have been using contact lenses for a long time aver that it is with contact lenses that they feel their vision is closer to normal.
What are the types of contact lenses?
In 1950, the first ever pair of contact lenses were manufactured. These were hard contact lenses that fit directly over the cornea. Since these hard plastic lenses did not provide sufficient oxygen to the cornea problems regarding swelling, blurry vision and eye redness and irritation arose causing doctors to stop prescribing this type of contact lenses to their patients altogether.
Today, there are two basic types of contact lenses: the rigid, gas permeable lenses and the soft lenses. More people prefer the soft contact lenses because of the amount of water they contain which make them more pliable and more comfortable to use. The high water content of soft contact lenses have successfully managed to reduce the occurrence of problems relating to the lack of oxygen supply to the cornea. Moreover, there is a lesser tendency for soft lenses to pop out during strenuous activities and an even lesser chance for hard particles like dust to enter behind them the way they do with rigid gas permeable lenses.
How hard is it to adjust to wearing contact lenses?
It is generally not hard to adjust to wearing contact lenses. As long as they are done correctly and designed to fit perfectly, adjusting to new contact lenses will be a breeze. On the other hand, an ill-fitting pair of contact lenses will give rise to problems in vision and may cause severe injuries such as tear deficiency. The type of lens material used may also affect the period of adjustment. More often, it is quicker for new users to adjust to soft contact lenses than to the rigid gas permeable type.
What is the best type of contact lenses?
There is no one lens type that is perfect for all. Contact lenses come in various shapes, colors and types. The best one for you will always be the one that your eye doctor prescribed based on your specific need. We urge you therefore to see your eye doctor regularly to be able to ascertain the condition of your eyes and, when necessary, to get the correct prescriptions for the type of contact lenses you need
Why is it important to never overuse your contact lenses?
The cornea or that front surface of the eye on which the contact lens rests requires oxygen to stay healthy. This part of the anatomy has no blood vessels to supply it with the oxygen it needs and therefore it needs to get its oxygen supply from external sources. Contact lenses are made of plastic and although they carry many pores through which oxygen can travel to the cornea, it is surrounded by tears that contain different types of proteins. These proteins accumulate as the day wears on and therefore the longer you leave your contact lenses on, the greater the build up of protein which clog the pores and diminish the cornea’s oxygen supply. This lack of oxygen can compromise the well-being of the cornea and cause eye injuries.