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Contact lenses have a direct impact on your vision and eye health. Be careful about which ones you buy.
Contact lenses offer freedom from using glasses. The convenience of using them has almost made them a personal care item. Given the wide variety of contact lenses available today, choosing the right one becomes a bit confusing. Let’s understand the basics to aid you in your choice.
Made of soft polymer-plastic, these lenses also contain some amount of water, which adds to the comfort. The more the water content, the longer they can be used.
If you suffer from an allergy, opt for daily disposable contact lenses. While some of them are for one time use, other varieties can be used frequently—for 7 days, 30 days or 90 days. Care of quarterly lenses is the same as traditional yearly soft contact lenses—these are to be removed every night, cleaned and placed in the lens case with the appropriate lens solution. They are to be thrown away after the prescribed period.
The biggest advantage of using disposable lenses is that they cut down your risk of infection, dry eye and allergies as you replace them often.
These lenses are to be changed on an annual basis. Some individuals even change them every quarter. However, the frequent replacement costs are often prohibitive. Most toric lenses [those used for blurred vision], bifocals or multi-focal lenses that help both near and far vision, fall under this category.
These are leave-in lenses, which can be worn continuously for up to 30 days. They are made of material that allows a higher percentage of oxygen to pass through to the cornea.
RGP lenses have fallen out of fashion because they take a long time to adjust. Besides, they cause a lot of discomfort as compared to soft lenses. Hence, they are prescribed only for specific corneal conditions.
Used to alter the aesthetic appeal of your eyes, these come in a variety of shades. They often have no power and can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription. When buying these, check their quality. These lenses are also available with special designs for fun. In case of scars or disfigurement of the eye, you can get specialised colour lenses. Most coloured lenses are soft lenses.
That depends on how responsible the child and parents are. Even a 12-year-old can become a successful contact lens wearer. However, the powers in patients younger than 18 years of age change frequently. Therefore, regular visits to the specialist are important.
Get a separate eye examination from an ophthalmologist or a contact lens specialist because the prescriptions for your spectacles and contact lenses may not be the same. If you buy contact lenses on the basis of your prescription for spectacles, the lenses may not be correct for you. The eye examination should include computerised mapping [topography] to check size and curvature of the cornea and microscopic corneal assessment to rule out signs of allergies, infections, dry eye, inflammation or scarring related to past contact lens wear. This checks not only vision [visual acuity] but also how well your tears work in lubricating your eyes.
Discuss in detail about your contact lens requirements with your specialist who will then recommend suitable contact lenses for you. You might be fitted with lenses for a short trial period to help you get accustomed to wearing lenses.
Don’t order the lenses till you are confident that you will be able to wear and remove them on your own. Your specialist should give you time to practise doing this. Also, learn how to clean the contact lenses, and other dos and don’ts. Only when you are comfortable with the trial lenses and the instructions, should you order them.