– Ed

Contact lenses can offer some distinct advantages over spectacles. In the first instance, while some people enjoy making a fashion statement with glasses, others prefer their appearance without them. Some people just don’t want to be seen in spectacles. However, there are other reasons such as sport, when spectacles can get in the way, especially contact sport when they are obviously not going to work. Rugby and scuba diving are two good examples. In rain or drizzle, wearing spectacles can be a pain, not so with contact lenses. There are some instances when contact lenses just provide better vision than with spectacles. This is particularly true when the cornea is irregular, as is the case with keratoconus.

One of the big advancements in the contact lens field, has been the invention of gas permeable materials contacts are made of. These materials allow oxygen to pass through the contact lens to reach the cornea. This is important, because the cornea has no blood vessels and depends on its oxygen supply from the atmosphere. Moreover, these materials are also very comfortable on the eyes.

There appears to be a misconception that one has to wear contact lenses permanently or not at all. This used to be the case many years ago. These days, contact lenses can be worn intermittently as the need arises, or can be inter-changed with spectacle wear. Disposable contact lenses are the order of the day when it comes to the hydrophilic (soft) ones. You can wear them for a month, a week, or even just a day, before throwing them away. It all depends on what they are prescribed for.

If you were told in the past that you couldn’t wear contacts, odds are you can today. There are more convenient and healthy contact lens options than ever, including many contact lenses that can correct astigmatism.

A contact lens fitting takes more than a single visit to the optometrist. You will be asked to return for follow-up visits to make sure the lenses continue to fit properly and remain comfortable after prolonged periods of wear. In some cases, change of lens size or design is needed before the fitting process is complete.

Your optometrist will evaluate your visual needs, your eye structure, and your tears to help determine the best type of contact lenses for you. During the exam, the optometrist will make sure your eyes are healthy enough to wear contact lenses and will counsel you about what to expect when wearing contacts. Next comes the contact fitting itself. Detailed measurements of your eyes are taken, and trial lenses are applied to achieve the best possible fit and determine if you can comfortably wear contacts.

When an optometrist takes you on as a contact lens patient, she assumes responsibility of your corneal health. Follow-up consultations are therefore important, to ensure that there are no adverse effects from contact lens wear. Contact lenses, more than ever before, remain an excellent choice for visual correction and can illuminate several problems, insurmountable with spectacles.

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