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contact lenses

Contact lenses, when used properly, are very convenient, and with the latest advancements in technology, they are extremely comfortable. Most of the time, you will hardly know you are wearing them, though you will certainly notice how clear and accurate your vision is. Contact lenses are small lenses worn on the surface of the eye, or cornea, to correct vision. Lenses are sometimes worn for cosmetic purposes only. We recommend wearing contact lenses in conjunction with eye glasses. This allows you to best meet your overall lifestyle needs while protecting the integrity of your overall eye health.

We will discuss the option that is best for you. Many patients choose contact lenses for their primary vision correction and glasses as a backup option. Many patients who wear glasses have activities and events where they would rather not wear their glasses and they choose contact lenses for these times.

 

Contact Lens Types

The types of contact lenses available have exploded in the past few years. There are contact lenses available for almost everyone. Many or our patients were told in the past that they could not wear contacts, or they tried unsuccessfully to wear contact lenses. You owe it to yourself to see what is new. We carry many options, and promise to do our best in selecting contact lenses that you will love wearing. Choose from the following list for a brief look at some of the options available.

 

Soft lenses are very comfortable and come in a variety of types, depending on the wearer’s needs. Conventional soft lenses are worn during the day, and cleaned and stored at night. Usually once a week the lenses must be cleaned using an enzymatic cleaner, which removes protein deposits. These lenses can last for a year or more if you take good care of them and your prescription stays the same.

 

These lenses are similar to conventional soft lenses except that they are replaced more frequently. Oftentimes, they are worn for one-month periods and then replaced. Other frequent replacement soft lens types are worn two to three months before they are replaced. Like conventional soft lenses, they have to be cleaned and stored at night and cleaned once a week with an enzymatic cleaner to remove protein deposits.

 

Disposable soft lenses are much more popular than conventional soft lenses. These lenses are worn for a period of time and then, of course, thrown away. Disposables may be designed to last for one day or up to a couple weeks. These are perfect for many patients who were told they could not wear contact lenses because of allergies or mild dry eye conditions. They have a low cost per lens and are also popular for athletes and hobbyists who do not necessarily want to wear contact lenses every day.

soft colored contact lenses
 

Interested in a new look?  Then tinted lenses might be a good fit!  These soft lenses are available in conventional, disposable, or frequent replacement types. With tinted soft lenses, you can change or enhance your eye color. Even if you do not need corrective lenses, you can use “plano” colored contacts to change your eye color.  It is important to be fitted by an eye doctor for colored contact lenses even if you do not need a prescription; wearing the wrong style can damage your eyeball.

 

Recent technology has greatly improved bifocal soft lenses. Many patients past their 40s who need bifocals can now enjoy the comfort and benefits of soft contact lenses.  Ask your doctor to see if this would be a good fit for you.

 

Toric lenses are used to correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is a vision condition where an irregularly shaped cornea affects the vision. In the past, the only options for those with astigmatism were either glasses or hard gas permeable contact lenses. But toric lenses, which are lenses with a special shape, now offer an alternative. There are several types of toric lenses to choose from.

 

Extended wear lenses, the result of new technology in lens materials, transmit more oxygen to the cornea of the eye. Some of these lens materials can be worn up to 30 days, day and night, without removal. Extended wear lenses can last one week, two weeks, or one month, depending upon the lens material and your doctor’s recommendations.

 

As the name implies, these lenses are hard and gas permeable. If you’ve been told you cannot wear soft lenses, RGP lenses are often a great alternative. RGP lenses are available in specialized designs to correct just about any vision disorder.

solutions
 

There are a variety of solutions available from many different manufacturers. The important thing to remember is that not every solution is right for every type of contact lens. Some contact lenses require the use of multipurpose solutions, while others require separate solutions for the four steps in contact lens care: disinfecting, cleaning, rinsing, and enzyming. Use only the lens solutions that are recommended by the eye doctor. If you wish to change brands, check with our office first.

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Ask Dr. Stewart Your Eye Care Questions

What can be expected during a contact lens fitting?

A patient can expect to have a different experience when having a contact lens fitting. In addition to the eyeglass exam, questions will be asked to determine which contact lens will work best for them. Will they want to leave the lenses in their eyes overnight or will they remove them every day? Will they wear them only occasionally or will they be for everyday use? Do they want a contact lens that they throw away every day or do they want a contact lens that they have to clean and disinfect? If the patient is over age 40 and has a compromised ability to see up close, how will they see up close with their contact lenses? Will they wear readers over their distant contacts, or will they wear multifocal contacts, or will they wear monovision?

Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?

Experiencing dry eye symptoms is more common as we grow older, particularly in people 50 years of age and older. Hormonal changes in women who are experiencing menopause or who are post-menopausal. Inflammation in our body can affect the tear gland's ability to produce tears. Eye or health conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's Syndrome can be associated with Dry Eyes. Environmental conditions such as dry winter air, dry indoor heated air, working on the computer, and wearing contact lenses can cause Dry Eyes.

Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?

Single-use daily wear contacts are convenient to the patient and a healthy recommendation from their eye doctor. At the end of the day, the patient only has to dispose of the contacts. There is no need to take the contacts out to clean and disinfect them. The patients time and money spent on solutions and caring for them are eliminated. Not to mention that the next time they wear a contact, they will be wearing a brand new contact! The single best recommendation your eye doctor can make is to recommend single-use daily wear contacts. They are the healthiest contact that can be worn. The contact lens pathology issues of wearing the same contact for two or four weeks such as neovascularization, microcystic edema, and bacterial infections are greatly reduced.

What is an eye infection?

Your eyes can get infections from bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Eye infections can occur in different parts of the eye and can affect just one eye or both. Two common eye infections are conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) and lid styes which are swollen lid bumps that can also be painful. Common signs of an eye infection are pain, itching, or a sensation of a foreign body in the eye, photosensitivity, redness or small red lines in the white of the eye, discharge of yellow pus that may be crusty upon awaking, and tears.

What happens during a typical Diabetic Eye Exam?

Your Eye Doctor will evaluate the back of your eye called the Retina to check for leaking blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when elevated blood sugars damage the walls of the blood vessels. The vessel walls may thicken, leak, develop clots, close off, or grow balloon-like defects called microaneurysms.

My eyes tear all the time. Why do you call it Dry Eyes?

Your eyes have extra tears because your eyes produce extra tears to combat irritation and dryness. A better way to describe Dry Eyes is tear film instability, which refers to the composition of your tears not being in the proper composition. Stopping eyes from producing extra tears is a goal in the treatment of Dry Eyes.

At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?

If you ask 10 different Doctors you will get 10 different answers. Newborns have their eyes checked in the birthing ward for starters. From birth to age 5 their eyes are growing. At age 5 is a good time to schedule a regular eye examination, however, if any unusual eye behavior is observed under age 5 an eye exam should be scheduled at that time. Unusual eye behavior such as eye squinting, a head tilt, or having to get close to see.