Most people wear contact lenses because they have grown tired of having to wear prescription eyeglasses. There are some practical benefits to switching to contact lenses. For example, glasses are not appropriate for every weather condition. Contact lenses also don’t fog up. In addition, some studies seem to suggest that wearing hard contact lenses may actually slow the progression of nearsightedness (myopia).
In addition, contact lens wearers tend to have better peripheral vision and depth perception than people who wear glasses. Many people switch to contact lenses because of aesthetic preferences. People often feel that the beauty of their eyes has become hidden behind their glasses. There is also an unfortunate social stigma often associated with wearing glasses.
Disadvantages of Contact Lenses
However, contact lenses also have their disadvantages. Many patients with severe refractive errors ultimately decide that eyeglasses and contact lenses simply do not provide sufficient vision correction or are too inconvenient for constant use. Some drawbacks of contact lenses include:
- They can become uncomfortable to wear
- They can cause dry eye
- They can become dislodged when playing sports or engaging in other activities
- They require daily maintenance
- They can be expensive
There are several safe and effective alternatives that can permanently improve vision.
Contact Lens Alternatives
Alternatives to contact lenses and eyeglasses includes:
- Custom LASIK
- Intraocular lenses (IOLs)
- Implantable contact lenses (ICLs)
Your local ophthalmologist or eye surgery specialist can give you more information on the benefits and risks of the above procedures. For the most complete information relating to your individual needs, schedule a complete eye exam and patient consultation.
Contact Lens Maintenance
If you do wear contact lenses, here are some maintenance tips that can maximize your comfort while wearing contact lenses:
- Always exercise proper hygiene when inserting your contact lenses. Wash your hands with a non-cosmetic soap and dry them with a lint-free towel prior to handling your lenses. Make sure your fingernails are short and smooth to avoid ripping soft contacts or damaging your eye.
- Be mindful of how you incorporate lens insertion into your morning cosmetic routine. Use hairspray before inserting your contact lenses to prevent chemical deposits from forming on them. Apply your makeup after your contacts are in.
- Do not use tap water to clean or soak your lenses. Tap water often contains bacteria that, while not toxic if swallowed, can cause a severe eye infection.
- Ask your eye doctor for recommendations on lens care products. Never reuse contact lens solutions. After they have left the bottle they are to be used only once. Consider using a protein-removing enzyme cleanser in addition to your regular lens maintenance routine, particularly if you wear soft contact lenses.
- Never sleep with your contact lenses inserted unless you have first consulted an eye doctor. If your particular brand of contact lenses is not designed for overnight use, wearing them while you sleep can cause damage to your corneas and impair your vision.
- Always follow the instructions that come with your contact lenses. This is particularly important for soft contact lenses that come with specific recommendations for duration of wear. If the packaging advises that your soft contact lenses be worn for two weeks, wear them for 14 days and then throw them out. For single use disposable contact lenses, wear them only once. Deviating from the product usage recommendations almost always results in eye irritation or infection.
- Contact lenses come in different sizes to ensure optimal comfort. If you constantly have the sensation that there is something in your eye while you're wearing your contacts, then it is likely they are the wrong size. The same goes for a pair of contacts that constantly pop out. If you've experienced this, consult your eye doctor about whether you need to exchange your current lenses for a better fitting pair.
- Smoking and contact lens wear are generally not compatible. Smoking can dry out your eyes, making comfortable contact lens application virtually impossible. If you do not decide to quit smoking, your eye doctor can discuss with you changes in your diet or certain nutritional supplements that can help your eyes produce sufficient moisture.
- If contact lens discomfort persists for more than a day or two, particularly if the discomfort does not abate after removal of the lenses, contact an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Even minor discomfort can be an early warning sign of a serious infection or eye disorder that may be difficult to treat if not caught in its beginning stages.
Talk to an Eye Care Specialist in Your Area
DocShop can help you search for a qualified ophthalmologist who specializes in providing contact lenses. Schedule a complete eye exam today to find out how you may be able to end your dependency on eyeglasses.