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If you have an active lifestyle, contact lenses might be for you. Contacts are great for all sorts of sports:- from windsurfing, biking and rugby to dancing and walking in the rain. They provide superior peripheral vision. They don’t fog up or get wet in the rain. And, they don’t get knocked off and broken.

 

Contacts give you a chance to look your very best. With the latest disposable contacts you can wear spectacles one day and contact lenses the next. For those special occasions, there are even contact lenses you can wear only once and then throw out.

 

In recent years there have been great technological advances in contact lens materials and designs. These advances have made today’s contact lenses comfortable and easy to wear for most wearers.

 

Contact lenses may be for you if:-

You want to play an active sport, like rugby.
You want better peripheral vision.
You want lenses which don’t fog up and which let you see in the rain. (This can be very helpful if you are a cyclist).
You want people to see your eyes more clearly and not have them hidden behind spectacles.

 

Contact lens wear may not be for you if: -

Your eyes are severely irritated by allergies like hay fever;
You work in dusty surroundings or with lots of chemicals;
You have very dry eyes from arthritis or certain medications
Your tears are disturbed from pregnancy;
You have an overactive thyroid or uncontrolled diabetes.

 

 

 

Hard. RGP. Soft. Permanent. Disposable. Daily wear. Extended wear.

 

Contact lenses made from more rigid materials are often called hard contact lenses. The new varieties of hard lenses are permeable to oxygen and so they are called gas permeable hard contact lenses, or gas perms for short. These lenses are also sometimes refered to as RGP lenses which standards for rigid gas permeable. Gas perms are often used for more difficult prescriptions like keratoconus and high myopia (shortsightness). Gas perms are generally harder to adapt to, are more expensive and are not suitable for active sports. They are available in daily wear and extended wear options.

 

Contact lenses made from more flexible materials are called soft contact lenses. Permanent soft contact lenses are made from thicker but flexible materials and generally last about 9 months before they need replacing. Disposable contact lenses are made from softer, thinner and more flexible materials which ‘breathe’ better ( are more permeable to gases ) and need replacing regularly.

 

Some disposables need to be replaced monthly, some 2 weekly, others weekly and some daily. Most people wear disposable soft contact lenses rather than permanent soft contact lenses

 

Most disposable contact lenses are taken out each night and so they are called daily wear lenses. However, there are specially designed disposable contact lenses that can be worn 24 hours a day. These are called extended wear contact lenses.


There is a higher incidence of eye problems with these extended wear contact lenses so they are not suited to everyone.

 

It is very important to take advice to work out which type of contact lens is best for you.

 

 

 

Below is a brief comparison of Soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses. A thorough eye examination and a better understanding of your specific vision requirements will help determine the best options for you.

 

ADVANTAGES

Greater initial comfort than hard or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses.
Shorter adaptation period for new wearers.
Ideal for intermittent wear.
Less susceptible to the intrusion of foreign objects under the lens, such as dust.
Less sensitivity to light than with hard or RGP lenses.
Rarely fall out of the eye, making them ideal for sports, particularly contact sports such as football or basketball.
Available in tinted versions.

DISADVANTAGES

Less durable than hard or RGP lenses.
May dry out, causing discomfort for some, especially under a hair dryer, in hot rooms, or in windy, dry weather.
More involved lens care, especially for conventional soft lenses.
Susceptible to more protein or lipid deposits, which reduce lens performance in the long term.
May absorb chemicals from the environment, which can cause irritation.

 

ADVANTAGES

Good vision.
Correct most corneal astigmatism.
Good durability.
Good handling characteristics.
Easier care

DISADVANTAGES

Less initial comfort than soft lenses.
Longer adaptation period required than soft lenses.
More easily dislodged.
Can scratch and break.
Intermittent wear is less feasible

 

 

 

 

Enhancer. Opaque. Visibility tint. UV filter. Novelty.

 

Soft contact lenses can be tinted.

 

Enhancer contacts are tinted to enhance your natural eye colour. If your eyes are blue, they will make them look bluer. These contacts are best for light-colored eyes (blues, greens, light hazel or grays). Brown eyes don’t change colour at all.

 

Opaque tinted contacts are coloured patterned contacts which will change the colour of your eyes no matter what colour they are. If you have dark brown eyes you can change them to blue.

 

Visibility tinted contacts have a visibility tint; a very pale tint which doesn’t change the colour of your eyes but makes it easier to find your contact lenses.

 

UV filter. Some contact lens brands have a filter to filter out harmful UV rays.

 

Novelty contact lenses are lenses that are tinted or coloured in a variety of ways for special effects. They have no vision correction but are great to wear to parties or special occasions where you want to make a statement.

 

 

 

Baby boomers, how can you avoid those telltale signs of aging - wearing bifocals or reading glasses?


There are three contact lens options for correcting the close-up blurred vision that typically begins in middle age; a condition referred to as presbyopia. (One of the three options still calls for reading glasses, but they can be used discreetly.)


These three options are:

Wearing Bifocal contact lenses – either for simultaneous vision or for translating
Wearing Monovision lenses
Wearing Contact lenses for distance vision with supplementary reading glasses slipped over the contacts for close work

 

Simultaneous vision

With simultaneous vision bifocal contact lenses you look through both the reading and the distance portions of the lenses all the time. This means that whenever you look at an object, you see two images of it. One will be clear (from the portion of the lens most matched to the distance at which you are observing). The other will be blurred (from the other portion of the lens). Your brain learns to ignore the blurred image so that you see just the clear image.


Translating

Translating bifocal contact lenses are similar in concept to bifocal spectacle lenses. They have a thicker lower edge, which when you look down to read, rests on the lower lid. As your eye turns downward to read, it looks through the reading portion in the lower part of the lens.


It is important to note that if you wear either of these types of bifocal contact lenses, they will normally perform best in bright conditions. You may find that seeing is more difficult at night and in dimly lit conditions because the bifocal lenses divide the available light into two images. Driving at night may be a problem for you.

 

Monovision lenses are an option in which one eye is fitted with a lens for seeing things at a distance and the other eye is fitted with a lens for seeing close-up. After a period of adjustment, the brain switches to the eye that is giving the clearest image at the time.


While many people successfully use monovision lenses, some find adapting difficult. Mildly blurred vision, dizziness, headaches and a feeling of slight imbalance may last for a few minutes or for several weeks as you adapt. Generally, the longer these symptoms last, the more unlikely it is that you will adapt successfully. Approximately two-thirds of patients eventually adapt to a monovision correction.

 

If you are new to monovision lenses you may benefit from avoiding visually demanding situations at first, and instead wear your new lenses only in familiar situations. For example, it may be better to be a passenger, rather than a driver, in a car. In fact, you should only drive with a monovision correction if you can pass your driver's license eye examination while wearing it.

 

Some people with a monovision correction are uncomfortable in situations with low illumination, such as night driving. To help with this, we can prescribe an additional lens to correct both eyes for distance for those times when sharp distance vision is required.


If you require very sharp near vision, you might want to ask about an additional lens to correct both eyes for close-up work. Or, to occasionally have the clearest vision for critical tasks, you may want to request supplemental glasses to wear over your monovision correction, converting the distance eye to a reading prescription so that you can use both eyes at near distance.

 

The final option for correcting presbyopia is to wear contact lenses for distance and to wear reading glasses over the top of them for close-up work.


An alternative is to have a pair of glasses with additional power in the reading eye so that the combined power of your contacts and the spectacles match your distance prescription.


Perhaps not the perfect answer but this option does enable you to avoid wearing bifocal glasses.

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