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Being able to see well is essential for most people to perform day-to-day activities. Good vision contributes to overall health, well-being, and independence for people of all ages.
For those with vision issues, there are many options available to help improve their sight. These options commonly include glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery.
If you have problems with your eyesight, it is best to discuss your options with an eye doctor. Deciding which option is most suitable for you depends on your eyes, budget, and lifestyle.
For those interested in contact lenses, there are two general categories. These are soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses.
To get the most out of your contact lenses, always practice healthy eye care habits. Remember that all types of contact lenses are medical devices that an eye doctor or optometrist must prescribe. This includes cosmetic lenses that do not correct the vision but change the color or look of the eye.
Soft contact lenses consist of soft, flexible plastics. They allow oxygen to flow through to the cornea. These types of lenses are usually easier to adjust and are more comfortable than rigid gas permeable lenses.
Newer soft lens materials can include silicone hydrogels to deliver more oxygen to your eyes while you wear your lenses.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGPs) are more durable than soft contact lenses. They are also more resistant to deposit buildup and offer a clearer, crisper vision.
RGPs are usually less expensive over the life of the lens as they last longer than soft contact lenses. They are also easier to handle and are less likely to rip or tear.
However, RGPs are not as comfortable initially compared to soft contacts. It may take a few weeks to adjust to wearing RGPs compared to a few days for soft contacts.
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There are many pros of wearing contact lenses.
The main advantage of wearing contact lenses is that they help you see well.
Contact lenses can correct most vision problems, including:
Contact lenses move with the eye so that vision correction can feel and look natural. Specially fitted contact lenses may also help slow the development of near-sightedness in children and teens. However, contact lenses are not currently approved by the FDA for this purpose.
The wide selection of contact lens materials also allows eye doctors to choose the best options for a person’s eyes, lifestyle, and budget. Individuals have plenty of choices when it comes to selecting contact lenses.
People can maintain a natural appearance with lenses without glasses. Or, if they prefer, they can adjust the appearance of their eyes with colored lenses.
Children, teens, and adults may also feel better about their physical appearance and ability to engage in sports and recreational activities than people who wear glasses. Well-fitting lenses remain in place on the eyes and improve side vision during sports and activities.
Additionally, contact lenses do not mist up like glasses do when outdoors, in low-temperature environments, or playing sports. Individuals can also wear non-prescription UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun. While some contact lenses offer extra UV protection, they are not a substitute for sunglasses.
Wearing contact lenses puts wearers at risk for several severe eye conditions, including infections and corneal ulcers. Corneal ulcers are open sores in the outer layer of the cornea.
These conditions can progress quickly and can become serious. In rare circumstances, these conditions can lead to blindness.
Other risks of wearing contact lenses include:
Dryness in the eyes occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears to stay wet or when your tears do not work correctly. This can make your eyes feel uncomfortable. In some circumstances, it can lead to vision problems.
Dry eye syndrome is common. Over 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome.
Wearing contact lenses for extended periods can cause dry eye. Approximately half of contact lens wearers experience contact lens-related dry eye.
High-water content lenses are more likely to result in dry eye than those with low-water content. They usually send moisture to the eye when you first fit them in but can dry out quicker.
You may need to try lenses with various water contents until you discover one that works for you.
There are several ways to relieve dry eye:
Systane Lubricant Eye Drops provide temporary relief for dry eye symptoms. The lubricating eye drops have been clinically proven to lessen the signs and symptoms of dry eye quickly.
The product is available in multiple-sized bottles to ensure your eyes remain moist and refreshed throughout the day.
The moisture-rich formula of the Refresh Contacts Eye Drops soothes and relieves dryness in the eyes resulting from contact lens wear.
These eye drops are available in a convenient multi-dose bottle and are safe to use with contacts and as frequently as necessary. Wearers can keep their contact lenses in upon application.
Opti-Free Puremoist Rewetting Drops provide moisture and comfort to the eyes for all-day use. The drops are used to moisten, lessen discomfort, and help remove material that may lead to eye irritation. The safe and effective solution can be used on silicone hydrogel and soft lenses while remaining in the eye.
The drops prevent protein deposits and build-ups that tend to develop with consistent use of contact lenses. The formula is thimerosal and sorbic acid-free.
Using these eye drops to lubricate the contact lenses at various times during the day may also enable extended use.
The Amo blink Contacts Eye Drops are suitable for soft and RGP contact lenses. The formula moisturizes the eyes with hyaluronate. This is a naturally occurring substance found in the eyes.
The formula consists of purified water, sodium hyaluronate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, calcium chloride, boric acid, and magnesium chloride.
The Blink N Clean Lens Drops help refresh dry eyes and lessen eye irritation while wearing contact lenses. The formula reduces protein buildup, allowing you to wear your contact lenses for longer periods.
The eye drops come in an easy-to-use bottle that is easy to carry around.
The Boston Rewetting Drops relieve mild irritation and discomfort during the wear of RGP contact lenses. The solution helps remove debris that may result in irritation, discomfort, and blurred vision.
Use of the eye drops may extend contact lens wearing time by wetting the lenses while they are in your eyes.
Refresh Relieva Eye Drops relieves discomfort resulting from dry and irritated eyes. It also prevents further irritation.
The formula features hydrocell technology, which delivers hydration and maintains the cells' volume on the ocular surface. Wearers can keep their contact lenses in upon application.
These eye drops are suitable for lubricating and rewetting soft and RGP contact lenses. However, silicone acrylate and fluorosilicone acrylate RGP lenses are recommended for use with Refresh Relieva eye drops.
1800 Contacts has a huge selection of contact lenses and award-winning 24/7 customer service.
Types of Contact Lenses, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), January 2018, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/contact-lenses/types-contact-lenses
Benefits of Vision Correction with Contact Lenses, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), March 2014, https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/benefits.html
Contact Lens Risks, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), September 2018, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/contact-lenses/contact-lens-risks
Dry eye, National Eye Institute (NEI), December 2020, https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/dry-eye
Markoulli, Maria, and Sailesh Kolanu. “Contact lens wear and dry eyes: challenges and solutions.” Clinical optometry vol. 9 41-48. 15 Feb. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6095561/
Learn About Eye Health, National Eye Institute (NEI), February 2020, https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health#5
Court, J L et al. “A novel phosphorylcholine-coated contact lens for extended wear use.” Biomaterials vol. 22,24 (2001): 3261-72, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11700798/
Fast Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), July 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/fast-facts.html
Ramamoorthy, Padmapriya et al. “Treatment, material, care, and patient-related factors in
contact lens-related dry eye.” Optometry and vision science : official publication of the American Academy of Optometry vol. 85,8 (2008): 764-72, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628947/