Contact lenses are thin discs made of a transparent material that fits over the cornea
Contact lenses are thin discs made of a transparent material that fits over the cornea

Contact lenses are thin discs made of a transparent material that fits over the cornea (clear front layer of the eye). These are used to correct the refractive error. The doctor will select the best types of lenses after a proper eye examination. Contact lenses correct the following refractive errors of vision:

What are contact lenses?

Contact lenses are thin transparent discs that help improve vision. They settle on the tear film that covers a clear layer in front of the eyes. They are a cosmetically better alternative to eyeglasses.

The refractive error occurs when the eye does not refract (bend or focus) light properly into the eye causing a blurred image.

There are different types of contact lenses, such as:

  • Hard contact lenses: Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses are usually made from plastic combined with other materials that firmly holds shape. It helps to correct the vision of those with distorted vision or bulging of the cornea (clear front layer of the eye).
  • Soft contact lenses: These are more comfortable than hard contact lenses.
    • Daily wear contacts or extended wear contacts
    • Toric contacts lenses
    • Colored contacts lenses
    • Decorative cosmetic contacts lenses
  • Contacts for presbyopia: Designed to correct normal vision issues that generally occur in people older than 40 years.
  • Mono-vision correction: One eye wears a near vision lens and the other eye wears a distance vision lens.
  • Bandage lenses: It covers the surface of the clear front layer of your eye (cornea) after an injury and surgery.

How do you take care of your contact lenses?

You may get a serious eye infection if you use unclean, infected lenses or if you store them incorrectly. To take proper care of your contact lenses, you must follow the instructions below:

  • Ensure the lenses you are putting in your eyes are clean and disinfected.
  • Avoid wearing lenses if you have allergies or if your eyes tend to form protein deposits.
  • Discuss with your eye doctor about the best cleaning solution for your lenses.
  • Use fresh cleaning solution every time.
  • Never change solutions without consulting the doctor first.
  • Store the lenses correctly to avoid severe eye infections.
  • Schedule the time of wearing and replacing lenses.
  • Follow the instructions given by manufacturers and your doctors to clean and store your lenses properly.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses that have been stored for 30 days or longer without re-disinfecting.
  • Ensure your lenses fit properly because they can distort over time. 
  • Examine your eyes from your eye doctor regularly.
  • Avoid showering and swimming in contaminated water or any place where water gets in your eyes when wearing contact lenses.
  • Remove the lenses before going to bed.
  • Clean and rewet the lenses with the no-rub technique.
  • Avoid using spit, tap water, sterile water, or homemade saline solutions to rinse them.
  • Use a new solution each time to clean and disinfect your lenses.
  • Replace the case at least every 3 months or if it gets damaged.

What are the risks of wearing contact lenses?

Contact lenses may cause:

  • Scratch or itch in your eye if the lens doesn’t fit or is old.
  • Very red, painful, watery eyes that are sensitive to light.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Blood vessels growing into your cornea (fatal).
  • Vision loss.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/3/2021
References
Boyd K. Contact Lenses for Vision Correction. American Academy for Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/contact-lens-102

WebMD. How to Care for Your Contact Lenses and Eyes. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/caring-contact-lens