If you find out that your vision needs to be corrected, contact lenses may be one of the options that you consider rather than glasses or laser eye surgery for instance. Whilst these lenses are an ideal choice for some people, they are not really suitable for others. Although there is a lot of information available about the pros and cons of wearing contact lenses, it is very important that you consult with a trained professional about your unique circumstances as part of your decision making process.
Types of Contact Lenses
There are various different types of contact lenses available, including soft lenses and hard lenses. Within these two lens groups, there are also various sub-categories, such as multifocal lenses and lenses which are designed to help correct astigmatisms. Mild astigmatisms can be corrected easily with contacts; however it may not be possible to correct more severe astigmatisms. If you do have a more severe astigmatism, it may be better to consider glasses.
Soft lenses are very flexible and are designed to allow a lot of oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Although they should not be worn permanently, they can be worn for extended periods. They should not normally be worn whilst sleeping, and the lenses should be changed on a regular schedule.
Hard (often known as “rigid gas permeable” lenses) are less flexible, but this means that they are better for correcting the irregularly shaped eyes which cause astigmatisms. These lenses should not normally be worn all day, as they allow less oxygen into the eye. As they are more durable, the lenses only need to be replaced every 6-12 months, although it is very important that you maintain a proper cleaning schedule during this period.
Pros of Wearing Contact Lenses
Contact lenses can be used instead of glasses, and most people will not know that you are wearing lenses at all. They offer the wearer a much wider field of vision than glasses are able to offer, because the lenses move with the eye. This is compared to glasses, which some people may find themselves looking over the top of or around the side of. Because of this they also offer better side vision than glasses.
They are also more suitable for a lot of sports than glasses would be, because they are less likely to be knocked off during fast paced action. However, contact lenses are not usually recommended for swimming, because the water can affect the lenses. For people who do not want to wear glasses all of the time, they are a much cheaper alternative to vision correction than laser surgery might be.
The Cons of Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are not suitable for some people at all, and they are very uncomfortable for others. Wearing lenses reduces the amount of oxygen that is able to get to the surface of the eye, and this can make them feel uncomfortable and can cause redness.
If you choose to wear contact lenses, it is very important that you are able to follow the strict hygiene advice that you are given by your optician. Failure to follow this advice can cause serious eye infections. Before touching your lenses, you should wash your hands with saline solution. If the lenses that you chose are non-disposable, you must always store them in proper lens care solution. Never store your lenses in water, as tap water will affect the size and shape of soft lenses and can contain harmful bacteria.
Due to the fact that you must regularly touch your eye whilst inserting and removing lenses, there is an increased risk of corneal scratches or abrasions in contact lens wearers.