Don’t want to wear glasses? Contact lenses are a great alternative. And with so many varieties to choose from, nearly everyone can wear them. Daily disposable lenses make wearing contacts a breeze — wear them once and throw them away.
Other options include gas permeable contact lenses, lenses for overnight wear, and special effect contact lenses.
Contact lenses, when used properly, are very convenient, and with the latest advancements in technology, they are extremely comfortable. Most of the time, you will hardly know you are wearing them, though you will certainly notice how clear and accurate your vision is. Contact lenses are small lenses worn on the surface of the eye to correct vision.
Many patients choose contact lenses for their primary vision correction and use glasses as a second option. Others prefer their glasses for most of their day and use contact lenses for special events and activities.
- Spherical contact lenses have the same lens power throughout the entire optical part of the lens to correct myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
- Toric soft contact lenses have different powers in different meridians of the lens to correct astigmatism as well as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
- Multifocal contact lenses (including bifocal contacts) contain different power zones for near and far vision to correct presbyopia as well as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
More Contact Lens FeaturesBifocal contacts for astigmatism. These are advanced soft contacts that correct both presbyopia and astigmatism, so you can remain glasses-free after age 40 even if you have astigmatism Contacts for dry eyes. Are your contacts uncomfortably dry? Certain soft contact lenses are specially made to reduce the risk of contact lens-related dry eye symptoms. Colored lenses. Many of the types of lenses described above also come in colors that can enhance the natural color of your eyes — that is, make your green eyes even greener, for example. Other colored lenses can totally change the color of your eyes, as in from brown to blue.
Special-effect lenses. Also called theatrical, novelty, or costume lenses, special-effect contacts take coloration one step further to make you look like a cat, a vampire, or another alter-ego of your choice.
Prosthetic lenses. Colored contact lenses also can be used for more medically oriented purposes. Opaque soft lenses called prosthetic contacts can be custom-designed for an eye that has been disfigured by injury or disease to mask the disfigurement and match the appearance of the other, unaffected eye.
Custom lenses. If conventional contact lenses don’t seem to work for you, you might be a candidate for custom contact lenses that are made-to-order for your individual eye shape and visual needs.
Scleral lenses. Large-diameter gas permeable lenses called scleral contacts are specially designed to treat keratoconus and other corneal irregularities, as well as presbyopia.
Myopia control contacts. Special contact lenses are being developed to slow or stop the progression of nearsightedness in children.
Proper Care of Your Contacts
You must clean and disinfect any contact lens you remove from your eye before you put the lens back in. There are many types of cleansing systems. The choice depends on the type of lens you use, if you have allergies or if your eyes tend to form protein deposits. Ask Dr. Flamich what kind of cleaning solutions you should use.
Here is what you should do:
- Follow the schedule Dr. Flamich gives you for wearing and replacing your lenses. You should not wear daily wear lenses while you sleep.
- Remove contact lenses before taking a shower, using a hot tub, swimming, or doing anything where water gets in your eyes.
- Before touching your contact lenses, wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with a lint-free towel.
- Never put contacts in your mouth to wet them. Saliva (spit) is not a sterile solution.
- Do not rinse or store contacts in water (tap or sterile water). Also, never use a homemade saline solution.
- Do not use saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect your lenses. They are not disinfectants.
- Follow directions from Dr. Flamich and from the lens cleaning solution manufacturer to clean and store your lenses.
- No matter what type of lens cleaning solution you buy, use a “rub and rinse” cleaning method. Rub your contact lenses with clean fingers, then rinse the lenses with solution before soaking them. Use this method even if the solution you are using is a “no-rub” type.
- Use new solution each time you clean and disinfect your contact lenses. Never reuse or “top off” with old solution. Also, do not pour contact lens solution into a different bottle. The solution will no longer be sterile.
- Make sure the tip of the solution bottle does not touch any surface. Keep the bottle tightly closed when you are not using it.
- Rinse your contact lens case with sterile contact lens solution (not tap water). Then leave the empty case open to air dry.
- Keep your contact lens case clean. Replace the case at least every 3 months, or right away if it gets cracked or damaged.
- If you store your lenses in the case for a long time, check the contact lens instructions or the lens solution directions to see if you should re-disinfect them before wearing them. Never wear your contact lenses if they have been stored for 30 days or longer without re-disinfecting.
- Contact lenses can warp over time, and your cornea can change shape. To make sure your lenses fit properly, and the prescription is right for you, see your eye doctor regularly.