What is most important with contact lenses is the patient. The patient needs to take certain precautions to minimize the risks involved in wearing contact lenses. Some simple and common sense things like washing your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses go a long way in reducing the risk of an eye infection. Another is to abide by the wearing schedule the eye doctor outlines for you when you received your contact lenses; if the lenses are to be replaced after two weeks, replace them every two weeks even if they still feel fine. Also, do not sleep in your lenses if they were prescribed to be taken out at night.
Rigid, or hard contact lenses as they are sometimes referred to, are not very flexible. They are usually made with an oxygen permeable material that breaths well, allowing oxygen to get to the cornea of the eye which important for the health of your eye. The optics of the rigid lenses are very stable and will generally provide superior vision under extreme varying environmental conditions. The rigid lenses usually need to be replaced about every 2 to 6 years. The major downfall of the rigid lenses is comfort. It can take the average wearer several months before they no longer feel the lenses on their eye. Also, dust or dirt in the air, if it gets between the lens and the cornea, can be very painful until tears wash the substance away or you remove the contact lens and rinse it.
Soft contact lenses are very flexible. There are dozens of materials that soft contact lenses can be made from. The materials vary in their water content and the amount of oxygen that can pass through them. Also, soft lenses differ in the length of time they can be worn; daily wear, taken out at night, versus extended wear, where you can sleep in them. Soft contact lenses also have different replacement schedules, from replacing them every day to replacing them every six months to a year. The most common contact lens today is a two week disposable, where the lenses are taken out at night and thrown away after two weeks of wear. There is also a new contact lens material called silicone hydrogel that allows up to seven times more oxygen to reach to the cornea. These lenses have varying wearing schedules from one week to one month of continuous wear. There are some patients with health issues like diabetes who would benefit from wearing silicone hydrogel lenses on a daily wear basis.
For patients with an astigmatism, toric contact lenses may be needed. Toric contact lenses are also made from the same types of materials as other soft lenses except they correct for an astigmatism. Call us today!
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