Last Updated on March 15, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
A contact lens is a thin, curved lens placed on the film of tears that covers the surface of our eye. The lens itself is naturally clear but is often given the slightest tinge of colour to make them easier for wearers to handle.
Today’s contact lenses are available in different forms and can be either hard or soft. Most people wear the latter form now, but it wasn’t always the case.
There was a slow and gradual development of contact lenses before it was made widely available for general use recently.
There are many reasons for people to wear lenses some are attracted to it because it makes them look good and others wear it for functional or optical reasons.
When compared with spectacles, contact lenses typically provide better peripheral vision and do not collect moisture any form of perspiration. This can make them preferable for sports, trekking and other outdoor activities.
Contact lens wearers can also wear any other eyewear like sunglasses, goggles and any other of their choice without having to align them with the prescription lenses or worry about compatibility with glasses.
Additionally, some conditions such as keratoconus and aniseikonia that are generally corrected much better with contacts over others.
Contact lenses may look like a modern tool but, they actually have a long history and was started by Leonardo da Vinci and Rene Descartes.
However, a German ophthalmologist came up with and fitted the first contact lens, which could be worn for a few hours at a time.
There has been a constant improvement in different aspects of contact lenses and the most recent development was concluded in 2010.
Types of Contact Lenses
1. Soft Contact Lenses
These lenses are made of flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the eye. Soft contact lenses are easier to adjust to and are more comfortable than other lenses.
2. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
RGPs are more durable and tough in its buildup among all, and generally give a clearer, crisper and lucid vision and they tend to be less expensive over the life of the lens since they last longer than other lenses plus there is less maintenance cost.
3. Extended Wear Contact Lenses
Extended wear contact lenses are available for overnight or continuous wear ranging from a day to a month. these lenses are usually soft contact lenses. They are also made of flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea.
4. Disposable Contact Lenses
Majority of soft contact lens wearers are prescribed with some type of regular replacement schedule. “Disposable,” means used once and discarded so with each day it should be replaced.
Advantages of Contact Lenses
1. Vision Correction
Contact lenses provide predictable vision correction. The lenses are reliable remedies for different vision issues, which covers both myopia and hypermetropia.
2. Elimination of Eye Glasses
Contact lenses blend with the eyes and do more or less the same work of an eyeglass, plus it has the advantage of a wider field of view in comparison to eyeglasses so they eliminate the need to wear eyeglasses all the time.
3. Better Vision
Contacts provide better side vision than eyeglasses. The material used is more lucid than plain glass and fibre of wearable glasses.
4. Wide Availability
A wide range of lens types is available to meet individual needs. They come in different shape, type and colours. One can get whatever lens they are prescribed easily alongside their complimentary stuff like cleaners and glasses to wear in certain circumstance.
If taken care properly contact lenses are reliable. People using it for many years have no problem using it on a regular basis. Contact lenses cost more than eyeglasses but less than surgery.
6. Aesthetic Appeal
many people prefer the way they look when wearing contacts rather than eyeglasses. They always prefer contact lenses over glasses just because of that aesthetic appeal.
Disadvantages of Contact Lenses
1. Maintenance Difficulty
Cleaning and disinfecting the lenses can be complicated and inconvenient for many of us who lack patience. good hand-eye coordination to clean, insert, and remove the lenses are very essential.
2. Risk of Infection
There is an increased risk of corneal infections, scratches, and scrapes. Various eye irritations and even severe eyes diseases due to germs and fungi are associated with lack of proper use of contact lenses.
3. Risk of Losing
Lenses can be easily damaged or lost easily because they are so very small. If special care is not given to its maintenance and care then losing them can be regular and costly.
Some people can’t wear contact lenses comfortably. After going through the initial discomfort and expense of contact lenses, some people continue to find them uncomfortable or otherwise unsatisfactory.
Wearing contact lenses can cost much more than wearing glasses, including the costs of cleaning and disinfecting solutions. People who have to replace their lenses or change prescriptions regularly may spend much more. The cost of the lenses varies according to the type of lens we prefer.
5. Use of Complementary Wears
In some work areas, protective eye wear is needed to be worn if contact lenses are used. Thus the likelihood of using both glasses and lenses arises in such a situation, which could be frustrating to many.
Contact lenses have been a wonderful development for people who don’t want to wear glasses and have other eye complications that are eased by simply wearing according to prescription. 150 million people are using contact lenses worldwide with a prediction of increasing by 110 million more in 2025.
Apart from its aesthetic appeal, they are preferred more in terms of clarity, convenience and versatility over glasses. However, its costly nature of maintenance and lack of proper handling leading to various irritation and infection causes many from disregarding as a viable optical solution. Nonetheless, it all boils down to a personal preference of the user in the end.