What are contact lenses?

Contacts are thin, clear disks of plastic that float on the tear film that coats the cornea, the curved front surface of the eye. The health of the corneal surface and tear film are very important to your comfort and the clarity of your vision when you are wearing contacts.  Contact lenses are used to correct the same conditions that eyeglasses correct :

 

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)

  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)

  • Astigmatism

  • Presbyopia

 

 

What are the different types of contact lenses?

Many different plastics are used in the manufacture of contact lenses, but basically there are two general types of lenses: hard and soft.

 

Hard lenses include the PMMA contacts that were first developed in the 1960s but are rarely used today and rigid gas-permeable, or RGP, contacts. RGP contacts combine plastics with other materials such as silicone or fluoropolymers to produce a lens that holds its shape, yet allows the free flow of oxygen through the lens to the cornea. These lenses are more “wettable,” easier to adjust to and more comfortable to wear than the old PMMA hard lenses. RGP lenses may be the best choice when the cornea has enough astigmatism (is shaped like an egg instead of an orange) that a soft lens will not provide sharp vision. They may also be preferable when a person has allergies or tends to form protein deposits on his or her contacts.

 

Soft lenses are the choice of most contact lens wearers for their comfort as well as for the great number of options available. These options include:

 

  • Daily wear These contact lenses are worn only during the day, and removed when sleeping. The lenses may be on a frequent replacement program with new lenses daily, weekly, or monthly, and may also be called “disposable” contact lenses. There are longer-term replacement programs with replacement recommended every three, four or six months.

  • Extended wear These lenses are worn overnight, but are removed at least weekly for thorough cleaning and disinfection. They are being recommended less frequently since there is a greater risk of serious corneal infection with any overnight wear of contact lenses.

  • Toric contacts These soft contacts can correct astigmatism. Toric lenses usually cost more than other soft lenses and may be prescribed as daily wear or extended wear.

  • Colored or tinted contacts Many daily wear, extended wear, and toric lenses come in a variety of colors and tints. These lenses can change the appearance of your eye color to varying degrees.

  • Decorative (plano) contact lenses These are lenses that do not correct vision, but rather change the appearance of the eye. For example, these lenses can change the color of the eye from brown to blue.Y 

 

 

What does the price of contact lenses include?

When comparing the price of contact lenses, it is important to consider what services are included which will

vary with what kind of lens you decide upon. Before being fit Dr. Jacobson will discuss lens type and cost.

 

 

Who should not wear contact lenses?

You may not be a good candidate for contacts if you have:

 

  • Frequent eye infections

  • Severe allergies

  • Dry eye that is resistant to treatment

  • A very dusty work environment

  • An inability to handle and care for the lenses

 

 

Are contacts for you?

Choose an eye care professional who is experienced with contact lenses and with whom you can discuss your needs and expectations. You should examine your own motivation for wanting contacts and your commitment to the care and timely replacement of contacts for the optimal health of your eyes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                       

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                                ALL COPYRIGHT INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

 

                          American Academy of Ophthalmology P.O. Box 7424, San Francisco, CA 94120-7424 www.aao.org

 

                                                                         eyeSmart www.geteyesmart.org