Contact Lenses are thin, curved lenses placed directly upon the cornea of the eye, with a thin, wafer-thin layer of plastic attached to the front surface of the eye. Contact lenses are now used by more than 150 million individuals world-wide, and they are worn to correct one’s vision, either for aesthetic or medical reasons. With the advent of new medical imaging technologies, today’s contact lenses have the ability to provide patients with sharper vision and improved vision correction in many vision conditions.
Dry Eye: Due to the lubricating fluid that contacts produce, contact lens wear is less likely to cause dry eyes (myopia or hyperopia) for long periods of time. Dry eyes can occur from straining the eyes during sleep, or as a result of environmental factors such as smoke or excessive humidity. Straining of the eyes can also result from a condition called “strabismus”, where the eye does not rotate properly. Strabismus is often caused by squinting, which results in the eye not being able to focus light into a certain area. With new technology and advanced contact lens wear materials, contact lens wear for dry eyes is much less common than it once was.
Soft: A contact lens is defined as any contact lens that contains at least one rigid gas permeable layer, which allows some moisture but not all, to escape from the lens. The most commonly used contact lens is the soft one, which has two layers: a thin layer of water-based lubricating fluid (water) that lubricates the lens structure, and a rigid gas permeable layer that allow some moisture but not all, to escape from the lens. Most contact lenses are prescribed to users based upon the dry eye syndrome in which the patient’s eyes become severely dry and are unable to prevent them from moving. However, some contact lens manufacturers have designed soft contact lenses for dry eyes, with no lubricant layer, and therefore are considered safer. Additionally, some soft contact lenses do contain some water-based lubricating fluid, so even these contacts provide some relief for dry eyes by allowing some moisture to escape from the lens structures.
Rigid gas permeable contacts (RGP contacts) are generally prescribed for people who have experienced severe dry eye syndrome and whose eyes do not respond to other forms of treatment. These contacts work by reducing the amount of moisture that the eye requires in order to function normally. Therefore, without an adequate amount of moisture in the eye, the eyes may become very dry and very painful. These rigid gas permeable contacts are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable forms. This type of contact lens is the most commonly prescribed lens material for dry eyes. Contact lens wear using this type of lens material must be prescribed by an eye doctor, and it can be prescribed either weekly or monthly.
Combination lenses use two different materials to provide the vision correction of both soft and rigid gas permeable contacts. These contacts are ideal for people who have experienced presbyopia and do not require daily wear of contact lenses, as the lenses can be removed and worn at night. These lenses must be prescribed by an ophthalmologist, and a weekly or monthly maintenance program is necessary to ensure that the vision correction is maintained. Some people find that this combination lens system provides them with the best vision correction. Combination lenses also provide many benefits, such as increased peripheral vision and decreased glare. This type of contact lenses is usually prescribed to people who have experienced astigmatism.
Wearing glasses is not appropriate for everyone. Many people do not have good eyesight, for a variety of reasons, and glasses can be uncomfortable, awkward, and are a safety hazard. Some wearers also find that they are unable to be stylish while wearing glasses. Vision improvement with contact lenses can provide freedom from glasses, and wearers can enjoy looking attractive and fashionable.