Contact Lenses A Better Vision Option
There are over 34 million contact wearers in America. The idea of contact lenses has been around for hundreds of years. It is said that the first person to conceptualize the idea of contact lenses was Leonardo da Vinci in the early 1500's. It wasn't until 1971 that soft contact lenses entered the market, followed by GP or gas permeable contact lenses in 1978. Extended wear contacts received FDA approval in 1981 and disposable contacts were introduced in 1987.
Today's contact lenses do more than improve vision. Some contacts are specifically manufactured to change eye color only. With dozens of different colors available some contact lens wearers change their eye color slightly, and some go for a totally different look, such as brown eye to green or blue eye to brown. There are contacts that have special effect lenses that produce effects on the eye such as jaguar and zebra stripes, a yellow cat eye with a vertical pupil, black spiral, stars & stripes and fire. The FDA considers lenses described above as cosmetic only. Depending on your state you may not need a prescription to purchase them. If your contact lenses are to be corrective then you will require a prescription to purchase them.
Another recent advancement in contact lenses is light filtering lenses. These lenses work as do lens specific sport sunglasses by filtering certain lights such as blue light, so that baseballs, golf balls and tennis balls are easier to see. There are also contact lenses that block ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light has been linked to cataract formation.
There are many types of contact lenses available, hard contacts, gas permeable lenses and soft lenses. We will now give you some advantages, and disadvantages of each kind. Hard contact lenses are less costly in the long run as they aren't replaced often, and actually allow the wearer better, clearer sight. Soft contact lenses are easier to fit than hard lenses. Gas permeable or GP lenses allow you eyes to breath better and will not dry your eye out as much as soft lenses. Soft lenses are comfortable from the moment you put them on whereas hard lenses at first are very uncomfortable and take some getting used to.
There are safety concerns with any type of contact lenses. Extended wear contact lenses, soft or rigid, when worn long term and overnight can lead to risk of infection and corneal ulcers which can permanently damage eyesight. Most ophthalmologists believe it is better for your eye that you do not wear any type of contact lens overnight. Cleanliness if also of utmost importance for lens wearers. To reduce the risk of infection you should only use commercial sterile saline solutions when cleaning your contact lenses.
It is best to check with your licensed ophthalmologist to discuss which contact lens is best for you.
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