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Fitting Contact Lenses
Contact Lens Prescription
Contact Lens Complications
Caring for Contact Lenses
More and more people are opting to wear contact lenses for their vision correction requirements. There are several different types of contact lenses available.
1) Hard Contacts
Less than 1% of people wearing contact lenses choose hard contacts. Although the hard plastic offers sharper vision, the hard lenses don't allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Hard lenses also take a longer period of time to adjust to.
2) Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses
These contact lenses are made using a thin polymer plastic that is able to conform to the shape of the eye. They promote cornea health by allowing oxygen to pass through. These lenses are more flexible than hard contacts and are easier to adjust to wearing. They also tend to stay in place well. These lenses are more durable than disposable contact lenses. They can correct most vision problems, with certain exceptions, such as serious cases of astigmatism.
a) Daily Wear Soft Toric Lenses
These lenses are specifically designed to address problems associated with astigmatism.
3) Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
These contacts are made with hard plastic and contain spots where good amounts of oxygen can reach the eye. They require some adaptation period, but are available to address almost all types of vision problems. These lenses are less likely than soft contacts to cause eye irritations or infections and are very easy to care for. They can provide sharper vision than soft contacts; however, they are more likely to slip off the eye and must be worn consistently.
4) Disposable Contact Lenses
These are soft contact lenses that are available both in daily wear and extended wear, for periods from one day to several months. They are worn while awake and discarded before bed. They offer the same advantages as other soft contacts, they are more porous to oxygen and usually more comfortable. Because they are discarded nightly, infections and irritations are minimal, but you may feel like you're continually buying contact lenses. Disposable contacts are more fragile than other contact lenses, and should be cleaned and disinfected prior to use. Extended wear contacts are soft contacts that can be worn for over a day continuously, even while sleeping. They can be worn for periods of 7 days without requiring cleaning. Note that wearing any contact lens, including extended wear contacts, overnight increases risk of infection and irritation.
5) Bifocal contact lenses
These contacts are lenses that contain two prescriptions, similar to bifocal glasses. These lenses are only available as rigid gas permeable lenses.
The National Eye Institute (A Division of the National Institutes of Health) offers excellent resources about vision, eye care and contact lenses. This site is available in both English and Spanish. The Optometrists Network provides detailed information for parents about children and vision care.
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