Contact Lenses: Are Contacts For You?
The vast majority of people requiring vision correction can wear contact lenses without any problems. New materials and lens care technologies have made today's contacts more comfortable, safer and easier to wear. Consider the questions and answers below to help assess whether they're a choice you should consider.
Contact lens wear may be difficult if:
- Your eyes are severely irritated by allergies;
- You work in an environment with lots of dust and chemicals;
- You have an overactive thyroid, uncontrolled diabetes, or severe arthritis in your hands; or
- Your eyes are overly dry due to pregnancy or medications you are taking.
After a thorough eye examination, your suitability for contact lenses and the specific contact lens option that best meets your requirements will be determined.
What are the advantages of wearing contact lenses?
- Many wearers feel that contact lenses show their eyes in a better light or don't like the appearance of eyeglasses.
- Better vision correction due to the reduced obstruction from eyeglass frames.
- They provide excellent peripheral vision.
- No fogging up in warm rooms.
- No splattering during rain showers.
- Less hassle as they don't get in the way during sports and other recreational activities.
What are the disadvantages?
- Contact lenses require getting used to. New soft lens wearers typically adjust to their lenses within a week. Rigid lenses generally require a somewhat longer adjustment period.
- Except for some disposable varieties, almost all lenses require regular cleaning and disinfection, a process that, although requiring only a few minutes, is more than some people want to undertake.
- Some types of lenses increase your eyes' sensitivity to light.
What lifestyle do you lead? What kind of work do you do?
For those involved in sports and recreational activities, contact lenses offer a number of advantages. In addition to providing good peripheral vision, eliminating the problem of fogged or rain splattered lenses, and freeing you from worries about broken glasses, contact lenses also mean you can wear non-prescription protective eye wear. Looking sideways through the lenses of glasses leads to prismatic effects because you are not looking through their centers. Your eyes have to coordinate differently to cope with this. This does not happen with contact lenses because you always look through the centers of the lenses as they move with your eye movements.
Your occupation and work environment should also be taken into consideration. People whose work requires good peripheral vision may want to consider contacts. Those who work in dusty environments or where chemicals are in heavy use are likely to find spectacles more comfortable.
Do you like wearing glasses?
Do you like the way glasses feel? Do you like how you look in them? No longer is it really necessary to choose between either contacts or glasses. Some of today's contacts are so easy to wear that you can use them intermittently -- for special occasions, while participating in sports or to match your fashions.
New single-use, one-day disposable lenses are comfortable and do not require cleaning. They may be easily interchanged with glasses.
How Contact Lenses Correct Vision
Contact lenses are designed to rest on the cornea, the clear outer surface of the eye. They are held in place mainly by adhering to the tear film that covers the front of the eye and, to a lesser extent, by pressure from the eyelids.
As the eyelid blinks, it glides over the surface of the contact lens and causes it to move slightly. This movement allows the tears to provide necessary lubrication to the cornea and helps flush away debris between the cornea and the contact lens.
Contact lenses are optical medical devices, primarily used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. In these conditions, light is not focused properly on the retina, the layer of nerve endings in the back of the eye that converts light to electrochemical impulses. When light is not focused properly on the retina, the result is blurred or imperfect vision.
When in place on the cornea, the contact lens functions as the initial optical element of the eye. The optics of the contact lens combine with the optics of the eye to properly focus light on the retina. The result is clear vision.