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Contact Lens Materials
First choice when considering contact lenses is which lens material will best satisfy your needs. There are five types of contact lenses, based on type of lens material they are made of:
Soft lens: Soft lenses are produced using gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels. These lenses are thin and flexible and comply with the front surface of the eye. Presented in the mid-1970s, hydrogel lens reached lens wear considerably more mainstream since they normally are instantly agreeable. The main option at the time was hard contact lenses made of PMMA plastic. PMMA lenses usually took a long time to adjust and numerous individuals couldn't wear them effectively.
Silicone hydrogel lenses are an advanced type of soft contact lenses that are more porous than regular hydrogel lenses and allow even more oxygen to reach the cornea. Introduced in 2002, silicone hydrogel contact lenses are now the most popular lenses prescribed in the United States.
Gas permeable lenses also called GP or RGP lenses — are rigid contact lenses that look and feel like PMMA lenses (see below) but are porous and allow oxygen to pass through them. Because they are permeable to oxygen, GP lenses can be fit closer to the eye than PMMA lenses, making them more comfortable than conventional hard lenses. Since their introduction in 1978, gas permeable contact lenses have essentially replaced nonporous PMMA contact lenses. GP contacts often provide sharper vision than soft and silicone hydrogel contacts — especially if you have astigmatism. It usually takes some time for your eyes to adjust to gas permeable lenses when you first start wearing them, but after this initial adaptation period, most people find GP lenses are as comfortable as hydrogel lenses.
Hybrid contact lenses are designed to provide wearing comfort that rivals soft or silicone hydrogel lenses, combined with the crystal-clear optics of gas permeable lenses. Hybrid lenses have a rigid gas permeable central zone, surrounded by a "skirt" of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material. Despite these features, only a small percentage of people in the U.S. wear hybrid contact lenses, perhaps because these lenses are more difficult to fit and are more expensive to replace than soft and silicone hydrogel lenses.
PMMA lenses are made from a transparent rigid plastic material called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which also is used as a substitute for glass in shatterproof windows and is sold under the trademarks Lucite, Perspex and Plexiglas. PMMA lenses have excellent optics, but they do not transmit oxygen to the eye and can be difficult to adapt to. These (now old-fashioned) "hard contacts" have virtually been replaced by GP lenses and are rarely prescribed today.
Benefits of contact lenses
Seeing clearly: Contact lenses move with your eyes to give you a full field of focused vision, wherever you look. They help you track the action with sharp, direct and peripheral vision.
Feeling free: Contact lenses give you the freedom of movement you need to lead an active lifestyle. Lenses are lighter and less obtrusive than glasses. They won’t bounce up and down or slip off. They don’t pinch your nose or rub against your ears. They don’t interfere with your headgear for active sports. Once they’re in, you won’t have to worry about losing or breaking them.
Looking good: Contact lenses can improve how you see and feel about yourself and how people see you.They give you a natural look, without frames obscuring your face. You can wear the latest style of fashionable, non-prescription sunglasses. They don’t get in the way of showing off your eye make-up.
What are the uses of contact lenses ?
● To correct Myopia, Hypermetropia, Astigmatism or Presbyopia in individuals who want to avoid glasses or to be free from glasses.
● To change the colour of the eye or to give a normal appearance to the eye in individuals having birth problems in the eye or to hide unsightly scars in the eye by using cosmetic contact lenses.
● Therapeutic contact lenses are prescribed in patients with an aim to reduce pain and discomfort or to promote healing in certain eye conditions.
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