Contact lenses are often touted as being far better than glasses and in many ways they are. However, it's a good idea, like anything, to know enough about contact lenses before buying them to make an educated decision.
Types of Contacts There are three main types of contact lenses, hard, soft and disposable. Hard contact lenses are rigid and can be more irritating to the eye, but they do last a lot longer, up to three years. Soft contact lenses are easier on the eye and can be worn for longer periods of time. They are usually replaced after a year or so of use. Disposable contact lenses are becoming very popular these days, since you can just use them and dump them. These are the cheapest types of lenses, but they are usually not specifically made for your eyes, which can cause issues.
In addition to disposable contacts, you can get 1 week or even 1 month contacts which are designed to stay in your eye for longer periods of time, but need to be tossed afterwards. Many people prefer disposable contact lenses because they eliminate the need for cleaning and saline solutions, etc. which can get confusing and messy, not to mention they are rather time consuming.
Your eye care professional is the best person to help you choose the right type of contact lenses for you. Different eye conditions require different types of contact prescriptions which may only be available in one type of contact. Also, your daily activities may dictate the need for a specific type of contact lens.
Wear and Care of Contact Lenses Many people find that the first few times putting their new contact lenses in is a bit scary. You need to overcome the natural instinct to keep foreign objects out of your eye in order to insert them and this is more difficult for some people than for others. Usually this is just something you have to do a few times in order to get over it.
There are other issues with wearing contact lenses. For example, you shouldn't wear them in the pool or while showering, since they could be flushed out of your eyes or get water trapped behind them. Water that has chlorine in it is particularly irritating, but even regular tap water can contain bacteria that can be caught behind the contact lens and cause an infection. The easiest way to prevent problems like this is to simply remove your contacts while you shower or swim.
Looking after your contacts can be simple or complicated, depending on what type you use. Disposable contact lenses don't require any cleaning, you simply toss them when you are finished using them. Other, reusable contacts will need more care. You will have to soak them in a cleaning solution and rinse with saline. In some cases, more drastic measures need to be taken to remove protein or calcium deposits, including special tablets that dissolve in the regular cleaning solution. If your eyes are sensitive, you may have to experiment with various brands of cleaning solution to find one that doesn't irritate your eyes.
Contact lenses offer a freedom from glasses, but they aren't completely hassle free. Knowing what to expect is the best way to make a good decision as to whether contact lenses are for you or not. Talk to your eye care professional as well to get more information, since he or she will know your specific case and is in a good position to recommend the type of contacts necessary.
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