Contact lenses are worn over the cornea (the front clear structure or top of the eye) and are used for a variety of eye disorders. These days, special contact and cosmetic lenses are helpful in eye condition. Since contact lenses are worn over the eye, it is important to clean and maintain them regularly to see properly, and to ensure that eye infection do not occur due to improper use. There are many types of contact lenses; here is a brief over view of contact lenses currently available.

  • Hard or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP)lenses: These lenses are harder and more rigid as compared to soft lenses, and therefore take more time getting used to. They are durable, and if the power does not change, they can be worn for a period of up to two to three years, if taken care of. As they allow the eye to breathe better, corneal damage is less likely. They are useful in correcting numbers that have a high astigmatism or cylindrical component of the glass number. Due to their hard nature, they can slip off easily from the cornea.
  • Soft contact lenses: Soft contact lenses, as the name suggests, are soft and pliable in nature. They are more comfortable and are less likely to fall off on their own. They can be used to correct vision in a variety of number correction disorders, including myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism.
  • Daily wear lenses can be worn every day, but should be removed at night and need to be cleaned regularly.
  • Single use lenses or disposable lenses are meant for single day use only.One should always remove any contact lens prior to sleeping.
  • Extended wear lenses can be worn continuously, both day and night, for a certain number of weeks. It is still recommended to take lenses off night to prevent infection and so that the eye can breathe.

Specialised contact lenses: Mono-vision lenses are used when one of the eyes is being corrected for distance, and the othernon-dominant eye for near vision. For presbyopia or near vision related problems due to age after forty years, usually one is recommended to use bifocal contact lenses. These lenses may take some time getting used to. Cosmetic lenses are tinted, and therapeutic coloured lenses help colour a certain part of the eye to attain normality in cosmesis.

You should contact your ophthalmologist immediately if you have any unusual problems with contact lenses, such as pain, redness or watering, or even reduced vision. An early visit to your eye doctor can save a lot problems.

Important do's and dont's

  • Clean and/or change your contact regularly.
  • Wash your hand properly before handling contact lenses.
  • Change the soaking solution in the lens-case daily and clean it too.
  • Never wear your lenses on a pink eye or infected eye.
  • Do not over use your lenses. Your eyes need to breathe.
  • Follow the instructions of your treating doctor.
  • Do not sleep with your lenses overnight.
  • Identify the right and left lenses on the box.
  • Try to avoid direct heat or air from blowers onto the eye whilst wearing lenses.
  • Avoid using any drops, unless recommended, over contact lenses.
  • Keep your fingernails trimmed and clean to avoid the contact lenses getting dirty.
  • Do not wear the contact lens if the eye is smarting or hurts in any way,or is red.