Various Uses of Contact Lenses

Are your glasses sliding down your face while playing sports? Do you have a wedding or special occasion coming up? Are you ready for a change from your glasses? Contact lenses may be just what you need. Did you know that there are several uses of contact lenses aside from just improving vision? Some of the uses are below.

Improve Both Central and Peripheral Vision

Contact lenses rest against the cornea, the front surface of the eye. Different prescriptions in the lenses help correct vision similar to glasses. Some people may notice their vision is sharper through a contact lens rather than in glasses. This happens because light travels less of a distance to enter the eye through a contact lens than it does through glasses. Another advantage of wearing contact lenses, as opposed to glasses, is very sharp peripheral vision that is not distorted when looking from side to side.

Cosmetics

Coloured contact lenses are another great option for anyone looking to add a little flare to one’s natural eye colour. They can even be used to change one’s natural eye colour altogether for a completely different look. Coloured contact lenses can also be used for more than just cosmetic purposes. For instance, they may be used on people who have suffered from iris trauma (damage to the coloured part of the eye). This type of opaque, cosmetic coloured lens prevents excess light from hitting the retina, reducing discomfort and improving vision.

Aid in Red/Green Colour Blindness

Did you know that people who are colour blind may benefit from contact lenses? The X-Chrom® contact lens is specifically designed to fit over one eye and helps with colour vision deficiencies. It aids in distinguishing between red and green colours slightly better than without wearing the lens.

Protection After Injury

Contact lenses are sometimes even used as a bandage when the front surface of the eye (the cornea) gets injured. The cornea has many nerve endings and is one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. Damage to the cornea (such as a burn or laceration) can cause excruciating pain. The use of a bandage contact lens in this case is for pain relief and to help the cornea heal in an environment safe from more sources of injury. Bandage contact lenses are also used quite often in people with dystrophies, corneal degenerations, and after refractive surgery to help the cornea heal (such as PRK – photorefractive keratectomy).

Hard Lenses

Besides soft contact lenses, hard contact lenses (also known as rigid gas permeable lenses – or RGP lenses) are another contact lens option that is available. These lenses are typically recommended for people with very high astigmatism or ocular conditions such as keratoconus. Keratoconus occurs when the cornea starts thinning and distorting. In advanced cases, the cornea can become cone shaped. Rigid gas permeable lenses can provide crisper vision than a soft lens and even glasses in these types of conditions. This happens because RGPs do not easily deform or lose their shape like soft lenses. There is also a layer of tears between the contact lens and the eye that helps sharpen the vision through the contact lens. This occurs because light travels over a smooth surface to enter the eye rather than a distorted surface.

OrthoKeratology

Another use of hard lenses is in the practice of orthokeratology (ortho-K). This is where hard lenses are worn at night to flatten the cornea. This is most commonly seen in Asian countries where the claim is that by wearing these lenses, myopia (or nearsightedness) progression will decrease. While in the short term this is true, no long term studies have been done to prove this yet.

Managing Dry Eye

Contact lenses have a reputation for exacerbating dry eye (read more about why you shouldn’t over wear contact lenses). However, there are contact lenses on the market which actually relieve dry eye symptoms. For instance, scleral lenses (hard lenses with a soft skirt around them) provide continued hydration to the eye improving dry eye symptoms.

In general, contact lenses provide lifestyle benefits and are an excellent alternative to glasses. For instance, multifocal and bifocal contact lenses make it easy to carry out day to day activities such as cooking, reading, driving, and watching TV without the use of glasses. Contact lenses also allow for the use of fashionable sunglasses. More practically, contact lenses are more comfortable while playing sports such as soccer, football, swimming, etc.

Schedule your eye exam today with one of our optometrists to discuss which contact lens option may be right for you!

Guest post co-authored by Dr. Farah Lakhani & Dr. Benxiao Ma