Eye contact lenses are worn by many people for cosmetic reasons but wearing prescription contacts are also not uncommon. It is also used to correct some severe eye problems such as astigmatism and keratoconus.
By the year 2020, the contacts industry is predicted to reach $13.5 billion. Interestingly, the majority of wearers are female. The contacts are thought to have been invented by Leonardo da Vinci.
Its wearers do not experience any adverse health effects so long as they follow the cleaning instructions as well as its usage and storage. However, isolated cases of its users suffering complications have also been noted.
Types of eye contacts.
According to materials.
- Soft contacts.
Soft contact is made of soft, flexible plastic. They are comfortable to wear and also allow oxygen to pass through the eyes. Different types of contacts are made of these soft materials, and they are;
- Toric lenses.
- Disposal lenses.
- Colored or tinted lenses.
- Decorative or cosmetic lenses.
- Extended wear contacts.
- Rigid Gas-permeable lens.
RGP or rigid gas permeable lenses are also called hard contacts, and they are made from plastic or other hybrid materials. They are somewhat stiff, so they hold their shape very well, but they also allow oxygen to pass through the lenses and the eyes.
RGP lenses are mainly used for prescription contacts and the special ones that are used for vision correction such as keratoconus and astigmatism. It is also the preferred choice for people who have allergic tendencies and protein deposits in the eyes.
According to functions.
- Corrective contacts.
These are primarily engineered to correct vision problems such as astigmatism, long-sightedness, and short-sightedness as well as presbyopia.
- Cosmetic contacts.
These contacts are used to alter the appearances of an individuals’ eye color temporarily. In Asian countries, cosmetic lenses called circle lenses are very popular. They are different from a regular lens in that their entire lens is colored which makes the wearers’ iris appear bigger than normal. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, contacts are used to correct vision problems and other defects.
- Scleral contacts.
These lenses are specially engineered to fit individual with defective cornea and complications incurred during surgical procedures such as LASIK surgery. Physical injuries to the eyes are also corrected with scleral contacts.
The unique structure and positioning of the contacts on the cornea allow oxygen to flow freely as well as makes it wearable even for people with sensitive eyes. The contacts are firm but comfortable, and it does not cause any discomfort to the injured eyes.
Advantages of eye contacts.
- It can be comfortably worn in any weather conditions. It is not affected by fog, rain, sweat, dust and other external elements.
- It is also an excellent alternative to glasses for people who engage in any physical activity like sports and dance and running and other outdoor activity.
- It is very natural and does not hamper the peripheral vision of the wearer.
- It is used to correct many visual defects in the most natural and personalized manner.
- It is the safest way to change the looks and appearance of the person.
- Colored and special effects contacts provide a realistic look to special characters in mediums like movies.
Disadvantages of eye contacts.
- It needs regular upkeep and can be high maintenance for many. Without regular cleaning, there are serious risks involved.
- RGP contacts tend to slip while wearing and therefore can cause pain and discomfort to the wearer.
- It requires regular appointments with the doctor which can be time-consuming as well as run the bill high, after a while.
- It cannot be worn during an activity such as swimming or any activity involving water.
- Debris can perpetuate the lens causing damage to the eyes as well as the lens.
- It does not function as a cure for all vision defects. There are only a few eye defects and vision problems that can be corrected with eye contacts.
- Soft lenses that are used for extended wear such as a week can be difficult to manage especially for first-time users.
- Except for the RGP lenses, the vision may not be as sharp while wearing eye contacts.