Approximately 125 million people worldwide wear contact lenses, over 30 million of those in the U.S. And they’ve come a long way since their invention in 1887. Today’s contact lenses are comfortable, safe, durable, and allow the wearer to be as active as they want to be.
At Eye & Lasik Center, we offer all types of contact lenses and professionally fit you for lenses that are just right for you.
How Can I Find the Best Treatment for My Eyes?
Our Optometrists are highly trained and experienced in the care and management of all types of contact lenses, including hard to fit lenses such as bifocal, toric, and post-surgical. During your visit, we will use the most up to date contact lens and fitting techniques to determine the best lens to meet your lifestyle needs. Fitting appointments and follow-up visits are required by law to ensure proper fit prior to ordering contact lens supplies. During these fittings, we will assess and evaluate the comfort and effectiveness of your proposed lenses. Trial lenses are provided at no additional cost to you.
What Are the Different Types of Contact Lenses?
Hard contact lenses are considered obsolete these days, so everyone basically wears either soft contact lenses or rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Here’s a breakdown of the various options available at Eye & Lasik Center.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses account for over 85 percent of contact lenses worn. Traditional soft contacts are made of soft plastic polymers and water. They allow oxygen to permeate through the lens to the cornea, so they breathe and are very comfortable. They are instantly comfortable, with no break in for your eyelids (gas permeable lenses can take some getting used to). For some prescriptions, soft contacts may not offer quite the same quality of vision as gas permeable lenses.
Within soft contact lenses, there are different options:
- Daily disposable soft contact lenses — The wearer inserts these lenses every morning and throws them away every night before going to bed. Because of this, there is no need for lens care solutions or storage.
- Two-week contact lenses — These soft contact lenses last for two weeks. They can be worn daily, and then cleaned and stored overnight in lens solution. After two weeks, you discard them and start a new pair.
- Monthly contact lenses — These are also called extended wear contact lenses and can be worn continuously for up to 30 days. Extended wear contact lenses can be more prone to developing eye infections and other issues if not kept clean.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
Rigid gas permeable or simply gas permeable (GP) lenses can be mistaken for the hard contacts of the past, but they are much more flexible, comfortable, and allow oxygen to get to the cornea. They actually transmit more oxygen to the cornea than soft contact lenses. Because GP lenses are rigid, they do not change shape when you blink and can provide sharper vision in some cases than soft lenses. They are much more durable than soft lenses because they are not made with water, and proteins and lipids do not adhere to them as easily (sometimes a problem with soft contact lenses). The downside to GP lenses is that they take from three to four days for the wearer to adapt to them, and then they need to be worn regularly to maintain that comfort.
With advancing technology, problems such as astigmatism and the need for bifocals can now be addressed with both soft contact lenses and gas permeable lenses.
- Toric lenses — Toric lenses correct for astigmatism (blurry vision) and either myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). They are designed with curvatures at different angles (depending on the condition) so that they stay in place and don’t rotate on the eye. They usually are weighted at the bottom and must be placed on the eyes according to an alignment line on the top of the contact. Toric lenses are made in both soft contacts and GP types.
- Bifocal lenses — Both soft contacts and GP contacts also are available in bifocal styles. These correct for both near and far vision, depending on the portion of the lens viewed through, just as bifocal glasses do.
Are Contact Lenses Right for Me?
Contact lens wear is a great alternative to glasses. Recent innovations in contact lens technology provide benefits that make it possible to improve comfort, add convenience, and even improve the health of your eyes.
Is There Any Reason I Could Not Get Contacts?
Thanks to advances in contact lens technology in recent years, there are very few people who cannot wear contact lenses. Issues such as astigmatism and presbyopia used to preclude a person from being fit for contacts. But now there are bifocal lenses for those with presbyopia and toric lenses to correct astigmatism.
Is Caring for My Contact Lenses Difficult?
Caring for today’s contact lenses is easier than ever, although users do need to be diligent to keep the lenses clean and prevent problems such as buildup of protein on the lenses. This is the basic cleaning regimen:
- Wash your hands so you don’t transfer dirt and germs to your eyes. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
- Remove one lens and clean it with cleaning solution. Place the lens in the palm of your hand with a few drops of cleaning solution, and rub the lens gently with your fingertip. This removes protein buildup and other debris that may have gotten on the lens.
- Rinse the lens again to remove the loosened debris. Follow the rinse duration recommended with the cleaning solution.
- Place the lens in a clean lens case and fill with fresh cleaning solution. Don’t keep old solution. Replace it with new every time you take the lenses out.
- Repeat the process with your other lens.
How Long Does a Contact Lens Fitting Take?
At the Eye & Lasik Center, we combine your regular eye exam along with your contact lens exam. While this may seem redundant, once we test your visual acuity and the other tests to determine your eye health and whether or not you need to correct refractive errors, we then move on to contact specific tests. These include measuring your cornea to measure the curvature, measuring the pupil and iris, evaluating your tear film, among others.
An appointment usually takes around one hour.
How Many Hours per Day Can I Wear My Contact Lenses?
Some extended wear contact lenses can be worn for 30 days, day and night. But in most cases, we still recommend that our patients put their contacts in every morning and remove them (and clean them) every night before bed. This lessens the chances of eye infection and other problems with long-term contact lens wear. Plus, it is good to give your eyes a break from wearing lenses. The optimal time for wearing contact lenses is a maximum of 10-12 hours per day.
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If you have questions or would like to learn more about contact lenses, contact our office at (800) 676-5050 or request a consultation online.