Contact Lenses Provide Several Distinct Advantages over Glasses
Contacts give you a complete field of vision that is not confined to the boundaries of your glasses lenses.
No Fog, No Breaks
Unlike glasses, contacts do not become fogged or smudged. They allow you to play sports and participate in other activities without worrying about breaking your glasses.
If you do not like the way you look in glasses, contacts can allow you to look the way you want without sacrificing clear vision.
How do contacts work?
How Many People Wear Contact Lenses?
What can contact lenses correct?
Contact Lenses Resolve Most Common Refractive Errors and Even Some Cosmetic Concerns
Nearsightedness makes it difficult to see people, places, or things that are far away because it causes light to focus too early once it enters your eye. Contact lenses correct this issue by moving the focus point back onto the retina.
Farsightedness results when light is focused behind the retina, making close-up objects look blurry while faraway scenes are clear. Contact lenses accommodate for this refractive error by ensuring focus falls on the retina.
Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea or lens has an irregular shape, making your vision blurry or distorted. Although astigmatism cases can be corrected with regular contact lenses, other patients could benefit from toric lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, hybrid lenses, or specialty contacts.
Presbyopa is age-related form of farsightedness that makes it extremely difficult to read fine print and causes eye strain. Fortunately, presbyopia can be corrected with bifocal contact lenses, multifocal contact lenses, or monovision lenses.
If you want to enhance or transform your eye color, a doctor can also prescribe colored contact lenses. Even if you only want contacts for cosmetic reasons, you need to see a qualified doctor who can give you a prescription. Over-the-counter novelty lenses can damage your eyes.
The Most Common Reason Patients Wear Contacts
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), most patients who wear contact lenses are nearsighted. The AOA also estimates that nearsightedness affects approximately 30 percent of Americans.
Even if you have one of these conditions, are contact lenses right for you?
Factors That Could Undermine Your Ability to Wear Contact Lenses
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is an extremely common condition that causes insufficient or poor quality tears. Because healthy tears keep contact lenses moist, a lack of tears can make your eyes feel dry, scratchy, and uncomfortable, making it difficult to wear contact lenses for more than a few hours.
Blepharitis is an eyelid inflammation, common in patients with oily skin. Because inflammation can make contact lenses fit poorly, blepharitis should be treated by a doctor prior to wearing contact lenses.
Allergies can also make wearing contact lenses difficult or uncomfortable. The resulting swelling of blood vessels in the eyes can make them feel itchy or red.
Because contact lenses require a high level of care and maintenance, they may not be well-suited for young patients or those who are unable to properly care for contact lenses.
What do they cost?
The Cost of Contact Lenses Varies from Patient to Patient
Not counting the amount of coverage your insurance plan provides, an eye exam and fitting can cost from $50 to $300. Contact lenses and solution can cost from about $250 to more than $400 per year. While there are prescription eyeglasses that cost less, features such as progressive lenses, anti-glare protection, and designer frames can easily push the price to $800 and beyond. Meanwhile, LASIK and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) surgery can cost more than $2,000 per eye, and touch-ups may be required as you age.
How do contacts work?
How do eye doctors find the best-fitting contact lens?
Advancements in Eye Exams and Contact Lens Technology Ensure the Best Fit
Screening: Eye doctors must accurately measure the curvature of your cornea with a keratometer. Some eye doctors may also use a corneal topographer to gather accurate, digital measurements of the cornea.
Materials: Manufacturers are constantly refining contact lenses to make them more comfortable. Each brand of contact lenses has designed their own unique materials to provide function and comfort in equal measure.
How long will it take to go from glasses to wearing contact lenses?
The Typical Timeline for Receiving Contact Lenses
Your doctor will determine your degree of refractive error, assess your ocular health, and measure the surface of your eyes.
Contact Lens Fitting
The doctor will then ask you about your preferences and explain the different types of contact lenses to you.
Your doctor may send you home with several pairs of trial lenses that you can try out for a few days. Take notes about what you do and don't like about each lens.
You will typically go back to your doctor's office so that they can check the fit, feel, and function of the contact lenses.
If you are happy with your contact lenses, your doctor will write you a prescription. Typically, you can order contacts directly though your doctor's office.
If you run into problems with your contacts, you may need to schedule a follow-up appointment. Otherwise, you will see your doctor again in one year.
What happens next?
Maintaining a Proper Routine
Contact lenses may take some getting used to. If you are wearing contact lenses for the first time, it can be especially difficult to insert them or take them out, but this should become easier over the next few weeks.
To prevent problems with your contact lenses, be sure to only wear them as prescribed and remove them every night before going to bed.
If you opt for daily contact lenses, throw them away every night. If you select extended wear contact lenses, you will need to store them in fresh contact solution every night and clean them as directed by your doctor.
Because they put your eyes in direct contact with your hands, contact lenses also increase the risk of bacterial infection. To reduce your risk of complications, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before inserting or removing your lenses.
How does the world look through contacts?
When You Choose Contacts, The Results Can Be Life-Changing
One of the great benefits of contact lenses is that they can immediately improve your vision without any need for healing or recovery.
If you previously wore eyeglasses, contact lenses can dramatically improve your quality of life by allowing you to participate in sports and other activities without glasses getting in the way. You can also show off your natural features without frames blocking your eyes.
Still not convinced that contacts are right for you?
With Proper Care, Contact Lenses Are Safe and Effective
"Contact lenses prescribed by a licensed doctor of optometry are worn safely and comfortably by millions of people worldwide and have a long history of providing wearers with a safe and effective form of vision correction. While contact lenses provide many vision benefits, they are not risk-free. Your doctor of optometry can help you better understand how to get the full benefits of your contact lenses and reduce your chances of developing problems."
American Optometric Association
What are the alternatives?
Contacts Versus LASIK, PRK, and Glasses
Glasses are the most accessible alternative to contacts, but they are often prone to slipping, fogging, smudging, or breaking. Those who feel strongly about not having to wear glasses can also consider LASIK or PRK. However, it is important to remember that these procedures can carry a risk of over-correction or under-correction, dry eye syndrome, and the introduction of glare, halos, and compromised night vision.
If glasses are making it difficult to enjoy the activities you love, making you feel self-conscious, or affecting your day-to-day life due to a lack of peripheral vision, speak with your doctor today about contacts.
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