Contact lenses are small plastic or silicone discs shaped to correct refractive errors. They are placed directly on the eye, where they float on a film of tears in front of the cornea. It is essential that you have your contacts fitted in order to ensure you are wearing the correct design as well as for comfort, safety, and accurate vision correction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 30 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses and two-thirds of contact lens wearers are female. Due to the fact that 50 percent of those that wear contacts are between ages 25-44, the average age of contact lens wearers worldwide is 31 years old. However, children under 18 make up 10 percent of contact lens wearers, 15 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24, and 25 percent are age 45 or older.
Contact lenses can be used to correct nearsightedness, also known as myopia, farsightedness or hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Lenses can also be used to correct astigmatism. However, need to be custom-made and may cost more than ordinary contact lenses. Additionally, contact lenses can be used by people who have had cataract surgery and were unable to have an artificial lens implanted in the eye. They may also be used to treat eye diseases, including keratoconus or damage to the cornea caused by injury or infection.
Lenses are also preferred by many over glasses because of both convenience and because many people prefer the way they look without eyeglasses. Lenses are also less likely to interfere during sports or other activities. In addition, because they are worn right on the eye, your entire field of view is in focus and there are no annoying obstructions or reflections are in view. Moreover, there is no weight or resulting discomfort and you do not have a frame to have constantly slipping down your nose and contacts do not fog up.
However, contacts are not for everyone and it is best to discuss your options with your optometrist, especially if you suffer from certain medical conditions including uncontrolled diabetes or hyperthyroidism as well as allergies, asthma, or other chronic respiratory disorders that can make it difficult to wear contacts. In addition, they are not recommended for those with dry eyes or chronic, recurrent infections or sores on the cornea.
Additionally, if you are unable or unwilling to care for the lenses properly or if your job exposes you to particles, chemical fumes, or other vapors that may be absorbed by or stick to the lenses, then it is not a good idea for you to be fitted for them.
If you do choose lenses for vision correction, be sure to remove and clean them as directed. Lenses are designed to be worn daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. You need to ask which ones you have been prescribed so that you know how often to change them. In addition, it takes time to get used to them and ensure that you have the best fit and prescription for your eyes.