Contact lenses are potentially the best option for those unhappy glasses wearers, who don’t want to undergo laser eye surgery. Contact lenses are at an all-time popular high. Around 40.9 million Americans aged 18 and older wore lenses in 2014 (which is the most recent data). This was roughly 17% of the American adult population. In addition to this, many children start to wear contact lenses by the age of 12, or sometimes even younger. However, below are some of the basics that you should be aware of, before you go to the opticians if you are interested in wearing contacts.
1. What lens material is most suitable for you?
When considering contact lenses, deciding which lens material will make you feel the most comfortable is the number one priority. There are around five types of contact lenses, such as: Soft lenses, Silicone Hydrogel lenses, Gas permeable lenses, Hybrid contact lenses and PMMA lenses.
Soft lenses are made from gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels.
Silicone hydrogel lenses are soft contact lenses that are slightly more advanced than regular soft lenses as they allow more oxygen to reach the cornea.
Gas permeable lenses are rigid contact lenses that look and feel similar to PMMA lenses but are even more advanced as they allow oxygen to pass through them.
Hybrid contact lenses are designed to provide extreme comfort to your eyes, that rivals against the soft Hydrogel lenses.
PMMA lenses are made from a transparent material which stands for polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
2. How long should you wear your lenses for?
Until the late 70’s, the majority of people who wore contact lenses tended to remove and clean them every night. However, “extended wear” lenses allowed lens wearers to sleep in their contacts. Now, two types of lenses are classified by their individual wearing times:
Daily wear lenses — must be removed nightly.
“Extended wear” lenses — can be worn overnight, usually for seven days without removal.
3. When should you replace your lenses?
Despite proper care, contact lenses of all types should be changed frequently. This is to prevent any build-up of contamination, which would help to increase the risk of any eye infections. Below are some of the different types of lenses and how frequently they should be changed:
Daily disposable lenses — changed after one day of wearing.
Disposable lenses — changed every two weeks, or sometimes even sooner.
Frequent replacement lenses — changed monthly or sometimes quarterly.
Reusable lenses — changed every six months or sometimes longer.
Gas permeable lenses — don’t need to be changed as frequently as soft lenses
Nowadays, there are a lot more contact lens choices in able to provide comfort, excellent vision, and healthy eyes. If your eyes or lenses become uncomfortable or if you are having trouble seeing well, remove your lenses and visit the opticians. This way you can explore all the available solutions for lens discomfort.
Visit our section dedicated to contact lenses to learn more or book an appointment here.