These days with modern advances in lens and material technology almost every body can wear contact lenses. They do, however, have advantages and disadvantages, so that they may not suit every body. Further, only one type of lens may be preferable, based on the patients prescription, eye shape and wearing requirements.
Contact lenses give a more normal view of the world, free from the restriction of a frame and lenses and since a contact lens moves with the eye, you always look through the centre of the lens, so there is less distortion. Where there is a problem with spectacle lens thickness contact lenses can be particularly useful such that generally the higher a persons prescription the greater the benefit of lens wear. Contact lenses do not steam up when coming in from the cold, they don't fall off in sport and they don't magnify or minify the eyes in the same way spectacles do.
Contact lenses require insertion and removal, usually on a daily basis, this is more hassle than reaching for your specs in the morning. They do require some practice and skill for insertion and removal with a degree of manual dexterity being necessary. Many patients feel that they will not be up to the task and this alone is enough to put them off the idea. I have to say there are very few that do fail to learn - its just a question of time and patience, something we have an infinite amount of!
Contact lenses always cost more than spectacles and for safe wear you will always need spectacles as a back up
Contact Lens Types
There are two basic types of contact lens, soft and hard; soft lenses feel and look like a piece of cling film, they are like a jelly with varying degrees of water content from 35% to around 70%. They are just over a centimeter in diameter and fit over the cornea, slightly over lapping the sclera (the white of the eye).
Soft lenses are further sub-divided in terms of how long the lens is designed to last and normally varies between daily disposable ( wear and throw away) and monthly disposable. Monthly disposable are usually a cheaper option but require more care as the need to be stored in special solutions and need cleaning. There are also silicon hydro gel continuous wear lenses which are designed to be worn for up to a month continuously without removal, my own view is that there is a slightly higher risk of complications with this type of lens and consideration should be given to this before deciding on this type of lens.
Tinted Lenses are soft lenses with either an all over tint or an iris pattern printed on the surface of the lens. The all over tint can enhance the colour of your eyes and may change the colour in light coloured eyes, producing a very realistic and noticable effect. If your eyes are dark or you want to markedly change the colour of your eyes then the iris pattern type is the best option.
Hard Lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses are smaller, about 8 or 9 mm in diameter; they are flexible and resemble a very thin button of transparent plastic. These lenses rest solely on the cornea. Of all the types of lenses, gas permeable rigid lenses appear to be the healthiest option, however, because they are more difficult to adapt to and, in the first incidence, less comfortable most patients prefer soft lenses. In cases of complicated prescription, particularly astigmatism and keratoconus, gas permeable may be the only suitable lenses.
Regular eye tests and after-care are a vital part of contact lens wear to ensure continuing ocular health. Nowadays most of our contact lens patients join our Nu-see contact lens care package, where unlimited sight tests, after-care and lens changes/adjustments are available for the duration of the agreement.