Considering Switching to Contacts? Get Your Questions Answered


Sep 10, 2018

The use of contact lenses has increased tremendously over time with more than 45 million people wearing them in America alone. Most individuals say that they are more effective than glasses as they provide a full field of focused vision since the lenses move with the user's eyes and allow them to track motion with a sharper and more direct vision.

Contacts also eliminate the distortions and reflections that occur when wearing glasses. Athletes and individuals who have active lifestyles prefer wearing contact lenses as they are efficient and don't fret about the glasses breaking or falling. Also, teens and older kids feel more confident when wearing contacts compared to glasses because they create a more natural look. Besides, young women can still wear eyelash extensions and makeup. Contacts are also considered stylish among young adults.

1: Is there a Special Prescription for Contact Lenses if the User has been Wearing Glasses?

A: Yes, there is a special prescription for contact lenses because they have additional measurements like the curve, diameter, and the base. Additionally, users require different corrective lenses, so the prescription ensures they get a comfortable fit. Essential measurements include:

  • The base curve: it is the curve of the lens to the user's eye and is measured in millimeters. Some opticians use the terms steep, medium, and flat
  • Sphere: it shows the strength of the prescription and the particular corrective problem. It is also referred to as the power of the lens and is measured in diopters
  • Diameter: it shows the width of the lens in millimeters

The optician may need to take additional measurements like the axis and the cylinder for patients who have astigmatism (blurred vision) as well as dominance and addition for those who have presbyopia (loss of near sight that develops with age).

2: How Does the User Know the Right Contact Lenses for His Condition?

A: There are different types of contact lenses based on form, how often the user changes the lenses, and his eye problem. Here are the most common types:

  • Disposables: this kind is convenient and ideal for active people like athletes. The user wears them once and disposes of them. Regular users can choose monthly disposable contact lenses based on their wearing schedules. They are great for people who don't want to spend on daily contacts. However, people wearing daily disposable contacts should contact the optician before switching to monthly contacts.
  • Extended Wear: While daily contacts have to be removed before going to sleep, people wearing extended contacts can use them during the day and at night. Modern technologies have introduced breathable plastics and technology that allow movement in the eye and prevent dirt from getting trapped under the lens.
  • Spherical contacts: this kind is simple and is used to treat presbyopia, myopia, and hyperopia.
  • Toric contacts: they are specially designed for people who have astigmatism. Toric contacts have cylindrical lenses and rotate to the right to correct the eye problem.

3: How Can Users Clean their Contact Lenses?

A: The type of contact lenses the user wears determines the amount of work required when cleaning them. Extended wear contacts should be cleaned using a disinfectant designed for contact lenses. These steps come in handy:

  • Rub the lens against the palm or index finger
  • Rinse it again to remove bacteria or dirt
  • Place it in a clean case and add the cleaning solution
  • The amount of time used to disinfect them varies from one lens to another
  • Repeat the process for the other lens

4: When are Soft and Hard Contact Lenses Prescribed?

A: Soft contact lenses are made of a flexible plastic material mixed with water to allow the flow of oxygen via the lens to the cornea. The soft material makes them easy to apply and enhances comfort. Soft contact lenses are used to correct nearsightedness, astigmatism, and hyperopia.

Hard contact lenses were developed in the 1970s and are made of rigid GP lenses to allow flexibility while retaining the typical shape of the eye. The lenses are ideal for people who have keratoconus, which is a condition that causes the cornea to develop an irregular shape.

5: Can Kids Wear Contact Lenses?

A: According to the American Optometric Association, kids aged 10-12 years can wear soft contact lenses (daily disposable). Those aged 13-17 can wear reusable contact lenses that can be replaced within a month or two weeks.

6: Do Contact Lenses Correct Myopia in Children?

A: The lenses only reduce the progression of myopia in kids, but it does not treat the problem. Most optometrists recommend gas permeable (GP) contact lenses for kids who have this eye problem. A three-year study by the National Eye Institute found that GP lenses reduced the progression of myopia by reducing the corneal curvature, but the changes are not permanent.

Bifocals or progressive multifocal lenses also reduce the progression of nearsightedness in some kids. The increased magnifying power of the lenses reduces focusing fatigue when reading or viewing objects. A five-year study published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2007 issue found that kids who wore bifocal contact lenses experienced less progression of myopia compared to those who wore regular glasses.