The contact lens today has been manufactured to structurally fit a human eye and maintain consistent results for the person it is being worn by. But what are contact lenses? The three most important things of having contacts are knowing what they’re made of, what kind of contact is being worn, and how to manage or take care of the contacts themselves.
The material that a contact lens can be made of depending on whether the contact lens is a soft lens or a hard lens. The material of a soft lens is made of Hydrogel which is a water absorbing polymer that uses the moisture content to transmit oxygen to the eye through the lens. Another material for soft lenses is Silicone Hydrogel which has been developed for even greater oxygen permeability, which has become more of use since it is considered more comfortable. As for hard contact lenses, they are manufactured with hard polymers (plastics) that are naturally porous enough to allow oxygen to reach the eye. The hard plastics give the lens wearer a higher level of optical clarity at the risk of initial discomfort while getting used to the lens. So that you can have a high level of oxygen breathability, scientists had to add fluorine to the lens material to achieve the required oxygen permeability that would allow hard lenses to be worn long-term. Through adding fluorine, rigid lens materials develop microscopic holes and pores which allow oxygen to flow freely through the lens despite the fact that the lens is a solid material.
After knowing what a contact is made of, you need to know what kind to wear. The four different types of contacts to consider, when finding the best contact for you, are dailies, weeklies, monthlies, and extended wear. Each contact is unique, but some are more efficient than others based on who is wearing them. Here is a brief description of each contact lens mentioned so far.
Dailies: Daily disposal contact lenses are discarded every night and replaced every morning. Daily disposable contact lenses are ideal for people with sensitive eyes because they are replaced every day. They do not accumulate the same bacterial and dirt build-up to which other contacts are prone, and they require much less care because they do need to be washed or stored overnight.
Weeklies: Like daily disposable contact lenses, weekly disposable contact lenses are made to last a short period; however, they do need to be disinfected and stored every night. They are made to be worn for a week and then replaced with a fresh pair. They, like daily disposable contacts, offer a comfortable and fresh feeling because they are frequently replaced.
Monthly Disposable: Monthly disposable contact lenses are very common. They are perhaps even the most common style of contact lenses. They should be changed every night, disinfected with a solution, and stored in a proper receptacle. Monthly disposable contact lenses are safe to wear and provide clear vision for one month.
Extended Wear: Extended wear contact lenses are typically those that can be worn continuously for up to seven days and six nights. Some extended wear contact lenses, Know your contact lenses and how to manage them namely those made with a silicone hydrogel, can be worn for up to thirty days straight.
Extended wear contact lenses have a high oxygen permeability, which means they allow oxygen to pass through them into the cornea. Extended wear contact lenses are best for people who live a highly active or unpredictable lifestyle that may not enable them to remove their contact lenses every night. They are also ideal for people with binocular vision abnormalities and those with especially bad vision who want to be able to see clearly at all times, even when waking up at night or first thing in the morning. Extended wear contacts lenses are typically worn for six days and nights and then stored in a contact lens case for cleaning while the eyes are allowed to rest. It is important to check with and adhere to the wear schedule for each brand and type of extended wear contact lenses as it can differ from brand to brand.
Once you are ready to start wearing the contacts, managing them is going to be the most important aspect of wearing contact lenses. Before you handle contacts, wash and rinse your hands with a mild soap. Make sure it doesn’t have perfumes, oils, or lotions. They can leave a film on your hands. If they get on your lenses, your eyes could get irritated, or your vision might be blurry. Be sure that you are wearing the contacts to their prescribed extent and no longer, as mentioned before through the types of contacts. Some contacts need special care and products.
Always use the disinfecting solution, eye drops, and enzymatic cleaners your doctor recommends. Some eye products or eye drops aren’t safe for contact wearers.
Wearing contact lenses may not be for everyone, but if you or a loved one are seriously considering wearing contact lenses, be sure to know these components of a contact lens. Knowing what the contact is made of, what type of contact is being worn, and how to manage the contact will help with safety issues that can occur when handling and wearing contact lenses.