Millions around the world wear contact lenses. They are an excellent choice for nearly anyone who needs vision correction but do not want to wear glasses or undergo refractive surgery, such as LASIK.
What are Contacts or Contact Lenses?
A contact lens is a thin, curved lens placed on the eye(s). They actually "float" on your tears. Contact lenses have evolved from made out of glass to high-oxygen transmitting silicone material. There are five types of contact lenses, based on what they are made of
1. Soft lenses, introduced in the late 1970s, made out of HEMA plastic, became very popular because patients felt almost immediate comfort. The first HEMA based contact lenses introduced in the USA where an "annual" lens, a much thicker contact lens than what we use at present, that involved lots of maintenance. The first disposable contacts where made out of HEMA. Disposable contacts revolutionized how, as eye doctors, prescribe contact lenses.
2. Silicone soft contact lenses are, by far, what we prefer. They are advanced material that allows passive oxygen flow much greater than the previous HEMA based contacts.They where introduced in 2002, and now come in many wearing modalities, from one-day disposables to monthly disposables that correct almost any prescription.
3. Gas permeable contact lenses(rigid), introduced in the 1970s, made a huge impact on all day comfort compared to hard(PMMA) lenses. They are typically an "annual" lens that give sharp optics. It is not a preferred lens in the Orcutt and Santa Maria area due to our wind factor. It is relatively easy to get "something" under the lens when they are worn, compared to soft contacts.
4. Hybrid contact lenses is a combination of rigid and soft contact lens material. Typically this is a specialized lens that is used for certain issue with the cornea.
5. PMMA contacts(hard) are still available, no longer used in our office. Decades ago it was the only lens material available, but with all the technological advances made, there is no reason to use this kind of contact lens. The closest cousin is the rigid lens mentioned above.
Disposable contact lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia(over 40 eyesight) issues. The three modalities we dispense to our patients are one-day disposables, the most comfortable lenses at this time, two-week contacts and monthly disposables. the largest growing segment in the one-day lenses due to the comfort and convenience of these contact lenses.
Some of our patients like to change their eye color. The good news is that colored contacts are available with the newest technology, that is, silicone based. They come in monthly modality.
Contact Lens care
Several years ago, you would have needed several bottles of cleaning products, but now, we have all in one products, multipurpose, that are easy to use. Once in a while a patient is allergic to the multipurpose solutions. In that case we will switch the patient over to a hydrogen peroxide regimen or one-day disposable contacts since they don't require solutions.
Contact lens problems
Minor, but bothersome, problems are reported by some of our patients, but usually the issues can be resolved relatively simple. The most common problem is dry eyes. The risk of eye infection is low, but is higher for those patients that wear their contact lenses around the clock. Most eye doctors, including ourselves, are not fans of 24/7, and err in the side of precaution.
If you interested in wearing contact lenses for the first time, or if you are a wearer of contacts and want either better vision, comfort, etc., ask us if we can do that for you. We have a large percentage of our patients happy using contacts with clear, comfortable wear all day.