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Contact Lens Basics

Gas Permeable Contact Lenses ThumbnailIf you need vision correction, but don’t like the look or feel of glasses on your face, contact lenses are an effective and popular option. More than 30 million people in the United States wear contact lenses today, and over 90% of them are soft lens wearers. Soft contact lenses are made from thin, gel-like plastics with a high percentage of water which allows oxygen to easily pass through them. They cover the entire cornea (the clear front surface) of the eye and are comfortable to wear throughout the day.

Contact Lens Design

Soft contact lenses come in many shapes and sizes which are determined by the specific vision problems they correct. The most common design is spherical or round, which has the same power throughout the entire surface of the lens, and is used for myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). A toric soft contact lens is oval and has different powers in the horizontal and vertical parts of the lens to correct eyes with astigmatism (irregular shape). Multifocal contacts have several zones of varying power for distance, intermediate, and near viewing. These lenses are often a good option for patients over 40 years old with presbyopia (problems focusing on close objects).

Contact Lens Wear Time and Disposal

Soft contact lenses can be comfortably worn for various activities, but all lenses must be discarded after a specific amount of time due to the potential for lens contamination and eye infection. Daily lenses are the most convenient and healthiest soft contact lens option today. They are generally worn for 6 to 12 hours, then discarded at the end of each day. Daily lenses are great for first-time contact lens wearers, sports, outdoor activities, and teenagers since having a new, clean contact every day dramatically reduce the chances of having a contact lens-related eye infection.

Bi-weekly and monthly lenses are also an option. These lenses require more upkeep than daily lenses, with most requiring nightly cleaning and storage in a proper contact lens solution, but they can also be more economical since they are replaced once every 14 or 30 days.

Some Bi-weekly and monthly soft contact lenses also offer the possibility of extended or overnight wear. However, improper use of these contacts can also lead to severe eye infections and permanent corneal damage, so talk to your doctor about which lens is right for your needs.

Contact Lenses that are Right for You

If you wear contacts, you must have an eye examination and contact lens evaluation with an optometrist or ophthalmologist before you receive your prescription. The doctor will determine the best lens for you based on the strength of your prescription, the shape of your eye, and your vision needs. After the initial evaluation, follow-up visits may be necessary to ensure the lenses fit correctly and that the desired vision has been achieved. At Derby City Eye Care, these visits are always complimentary. Once the fitting process is complete, the doctor will finalize your prescription and you can order your lenses.

Proper Care and Handling of Contact Lenses

At Derby City Eye Care, we believe that proper hygiene is crucial to contact lens wear success. We teach all our patients how to handle, insert, remove, and care for their lenses. We also discuss the potential, severe eye health consequences of not following these recommendations. Sample kits of contact lens solution and cases are also provided to aid in patient compliance.