Contact lenses are a good alternative to wearing eyeglasses regularly. Anyone can start wearing contact lenses after getting their eyes checked by an experienced Eye care Professional (ECP). Wearing contact lenses can be a welcome change, but is it more convenient than wearing eyeglasses?
You will learn a little more about contact lenses, and understand the advantages and disadvantages of wearing contact lenses here. However, before we start, we need to understand the basic concept of contact lenses and also understand the question is eye lens harmful.
What are Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses are, in very simplistic terms, thin curved disks of plastic polymers that can be placed on the front surface of the eye.
There are multiple uses of contact lenses but the most common purpose of contact lenses is vision correction. Although the contact lenses for vision correction are clear, they have a slight tinge of colour also known as visi-tint so that wearers can handle it without much effort. The visi-tint does not interfere with the vision. In addition, the contact lens can be either soft or rigid, depending on the person’s requirement.
Contact lenses also provide a safe and helpful vision correction, especially when worn with proper care and supervision. They are mostly used to correct the following types of vision issues similar to that of eyeglasses: –
Contact lenses can be classified in a number of ways in terms of the optics, rigidity of the material, the types of material, wearing modality, etc.The most commonly prescribed contact lens by way of the material rigidity, along with the benefits of each, are:
Gas Permeable Lenses
These contact lenses are rigid, made of plastic polymers that have been combined with other materials like silicone or fluoropolymers that allows oxygen to pass through the lens directly. These are commonly known as RGP (rigid gas permeable) or simply GP (gas permeable) contact lenses.
These correct the widest variety of vision defects including myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia. They are best suited for corneal astigmatism and irregular corneas. Cornea is the front-most transparent, hemispherical surface of the eye. Cornea is responsible for the bulk of the eye’s power.
GP lenses are easy to handle and maintain. They may be prone to breakage if mishandled. Their life is typically longer than soft lenses.
The major disadvantage of GP lenses is that they are initially uncomfortable in the eye and require 2-4 weeks of getting used to. These also have an issue of falling off from the eye if not fitted properly. The skill level and experience of the optometrist or an ECP dispensing GP lenses also needs to be higher than for regular soft lenses.
If properly fitted and the users are well adapted then one can use GP lenses for a lifetime.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are some of the most common contact lenses prescribed to individuals. Due to the incorporation of water molecules and the materials used, these are quite soft and flexible.
Based on the material characteristics, soft lenses can be classified as – Hydrogels and Silicone Hydrogels.
Hydrogels are made up of traditional soft lens material. Here the amount of oxygen available to the cornea through the lens material is dependent on the water content of the material. These lenses are easy to adapt to and very comfortable to most people. They are ideal for daily use of 8-10 hours. However, these are not suited for very long hours of continuous use and tend to cause dryness in susceptible individuals.
They have additional silicone content incorporated in the material of the lenses. This allows greater amounts of oxygen to be available to the cornea than traditional hydrogel soft lenses. Hence, these are more suited for today’s active lifestyles that may require 12-14 hours or sometimes even longer daily use.
Types of contact lenses
According to the optics of the contact lenses, soft contact lenses can be classified as: –
Single Vision – contact lenses that correct only distance vision. Depending upon the type of prescription, these can be Sphere only for only sphere numbers and Toric for Astigmatism or Cylindrical powers
Multifocal – contact lenses that Distance and Near vision. These are for people, typically over 40 years, who have different numbers for distance and near.
According to the modality or frequency of changing lenses, Some of the most common types of lenses are as follows:
- Daily disposable lenses
- Two week or fortnightly disposable lenses
- monthly disposable lenses
- Annually changeable lenses
The simple rule here is that the more frequently you change your lenses, the more hygienic and comfortable it is for your eyes.
Now that you know what contact lenses are and the different types of lenses and their inherent positives and drawbacks, here are the major benefits of contact lenses:
Benefits of Contact Lens
When you decide to start wearing contact lenses, it is necessary to know about the benefits of contact lenses.
Improves all-round vision
The most important benefit of wearing contact lenses is that the field of vision is not restricted and you get natural wide vision unhindered by the rim or the glass area of the spectacles. This is very useful for people with active lifestyles like dancers, sports persons etc. One may choose contact lenses over spectacles for specific activities like gyming, or any hobby where spectacles can come in the way of performing better.
Suitable for people with high-prescription
People with high prescriptions can benefit from wearing contact eye lenses since there is no magnification of high hyperoic (plus powered) spectacles or the minification of high minus powered (myopic) spectacles. Thus, one enjoys natural vision with contact lenses compared to spectacles even if one has a high prescription.
Reduces the artificial barrier
Wearing contact lenses reduces the feeling of seeing the world through a screen, and people can also see your eyes, which might be hidden due to spectacles.
The most well-known advantage of wearing contact lenses is that they are easy to use and adapt to different situations or environments without much effort. Also, the different materials used to create contact lenses can be worn daily or on occasion according to the wearer’s requirement.
Easy to clean and maintain
Contact lenses are easy to clean and maintain, especially daily wearing, and do not require regular cleaning. Therefore, their maintenance is easy and can be worn whenever required.
Hence, we hope that after going through the information given above, you can understand what contact lenses are and their various types. However, if you are a spectacles wearer then it can be a little uncomfortable or uneasy for you to wear contact lenses initially.
Contact an ECP from R. Kumar Opticians to know more about the benefits and disadvantages of contact lenses. Here are a few important FAQs. Let’s answer them.
Are contact lenses better than glasses?
Depending on an individual’s requirements and comfort, they can wear contact lenses during activities like sports or exercises. In addition, as contact lenses do not fog up and remain unaffected by weather conditions, they can be worn as an alternative to wearing glasses.
Can you sleep with contacts in?
Sleeping with contact lenses in your eyes can be harmful as it can cause infections in the cornea.
Do contacts hurt?
Contact lenses can feel slightly uncomfortable as your eyes get used to them. However, it is good to contact an ECP if the contact lenses cause pain in your eyes after wearing them.
Who cannot wear contact lenses?
People with recurrent dry eyes, allergies, and individuals who suffer infections of the eye very easily are generally not advised to wear contact lenses by ECPs.
Is wearing contact lenses every day safe?
Contact lenses are not usually worn overnight due to the risk of corneal infections. Instead, ECPs usually advise a duration of one to two hours before bedtime to contact lenses free to allow eyes to rest.
Can you swim with contacts?
Swimming with contact lenses is harmful as it could cause bacterial contamination in the eyes. It could also cause eye infections, sight-threatening conditions like corneal ulcers, or irritation.