Contact Lenses – The Basics

Contact lenses have been around for a long time. Many people today prefer to wear contact lenses as opposed to traditional eye glasses. Some people wear contact lenses for sports and outdoor activities, while choosing to wear eyeglasses for the day to day. 20% of Americans who are in need of vision correction wear contact lenses. However, not many people take the time to truly understand what they are and how to get the most out of their contact lenses.

Contact lenses are used to correct vision problems, such as farsightedness, nearsightedness as well as astigmatism. They provide the wearer with the opportunity to go glasses-free without having to invest in vision correction surgery.

Benefits of Contact Lenses

  1. They provide a more natural field of vision. This is because they are placed right on the eye. This means that there is far less (and sometimes no) distortion of what you are seeing.
  2. Contact lenses provide a wider field of view than glasses. Glasses do not provide peripheral vision. The wearer has to turn her head in order to view items on the side.
  3. There are no annoying reflections off the lenses or frames obstructing your view.
  4. Contact lenses are practically weightless. There is no frame to slip down your nose or cause discomfort.
  5. No one will know that you’re wearing devices to correct your vision unless you tell them or they carefully examine your eyes close up. Contact lenses allow you to maintain your natural look.

Types of Contact Lenses

There are different types of lenses available in the market. These include:

  1. Rigid gas-permeable lenses

    These are made of plastic that is slightly flexible. They allow oxygen to penetrate the lens to the eye beneath.

  2. Extended wear

    These are designed for extended use. You can wear these glasses for up to seven days without having to remove them. They can be worn overnight.

  3. Daily wear soft lenses

    These are made of plastic that is soft and flexible. The plastic allows oxygen to penetrate and therefore pass through to the eyes beneath.

  4. Extended wear disposable lenses

    These are soft lenses that are designed for extended periods at a time. They can be used for up to 30 days and should then be discarded.

  5. Planned replacement lenses

    These are soft lenses that can be used for daily wear. They are to be replaced based on a planned schedule.

Should You Get Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses are beneficial in many cases. However, they can also cause serious problems. It is important to see an eye care professional for advice before getting contact lenses. If a prescription is approved, be sure to stick to the maintenance guidelines for contact lenses.

Your Lenses: What You Need to Know

What’s the most important thing to you when selecting a new pair of glasses? If you’re like most people, you probably thought of the frame first. However, the lenses are far more important. Stunning frames with lenses that don’t help you see better would be a disaster.

The choices you make with your lenses will have a huge impact on your vision quality, safety and comfort, not to mention your appearance. For that reason, it is extremely important to learn all that you can about lenses and your choices so that you and your eye care specialist can make the best choice for you.

Age Matters

When selecting lenses, you should first consider your age and the stage of life you are in. This is because different lenses have different features in addition to correcting vision.

Lenses for youth, for example, are designed with their developing eyes in mind. If you are selecting lenses for your child, ensure that they are no-glare lenses. They should be protective and durable. Many professionals recommend polycarbonate lenses for children. These lenses are clear and shatter proof. They also offer UV protection and are resistant to impact.

People who are 40 years or older often have difficulty viewing items at multiple distances. It is therefore advisable for people in this age group to invest in progressive lenses. Progressive lenses are also a good option for anyone needing bifocals. They have no lines and provide a better appearance.


Lenses are made up of different materials. These include:

  1. Standard plasticThese lenses are usually thick. They are not impact resistant or shatterproof. They are amongst the cheapest lenses in the market for eyeglasses. 
  2. PolycarbonateThese are thinner and lighter. They provide UV protection and are impact resistant and shatterproof. They are great for those looking for a durable and safe option for eyeglasses. 
  3. High index plastic

These are very thin and light. They provide UV protection and are considered attractive. They can include no-glare treatment if required.

It is important to discuss your options with your eye care professional in order to make an informed choice.

Special Features

There are various other features you may want to consider when it comes to selecting lenses. These include:

  1. Polarized lensesThese provide protection to your eyes from UV rays and glare. They are a great option for people who like to spend a lot of time outdoors or driving. 
  2. Photochromic lensesThese adjust to different light levels automatically, therefore protecting the eyes from glare and strain.
  3. Digital surfaced lenses

These are customized to your needs. They provide sharper and crisper vision.

For more information, consult an eye care specialist in your area.

What is Recovery Like after Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery sounds scary, but it is a very common and safe procedure. If your cataracts are interfering with the activities you used to enjoy, cataract surgery can be very rewarding and restore your quality of life. The recovery period is not long or difficult. Patients often notice improved vision immediately after their procedures or within the first few days after surgery. Your eyes should be fully healed in one to two months.

Caring for Your Eyes During Recovery

When scheduling your cataract surgery, you need to know how recovery will inconvenience you, so you can time your procedure accordingly. Following your cataract surgeon’s post-operative care instructions is crucial to a speedy recovery, minimizing your risk of complications, and achieving optimal results.

After cataract surgery, you will need to:

  • Use your eye drops as instructed – typically one week for antibiotics and up to three weeks for anti-inflammatories.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, even if you feel discomfort
  • Wear sunglasses when you go outside
  • Avoid wind, dust and other irritants
  • Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, submersing your face in the bath, scuba diving and similar activities for one to two weeks to minimize risk of infection
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup for one week

Physical Activity

Immediately after your cataract surgery you should avoid activities that create pressure in your eyes, such as bending over or sneezing. Do not try to drive the day after surgery. You can go back to light activities right away, but strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least one week.

Learn more about cataract surgery recovery by talking to an experienced ophthalmologist in your area.

Your Questions about Ocular Allergies Answered

Ocular (or eye) allergies are allergic reactions that affect the eyelid. The eyelid is a thin layer of skin that covers the eye. The eyelid is connected to the eye directly via the conjunctiva. The thin skin of the eyelid is prone to irritants including cosmetics, pollen and detergents. When exposed to these irritants, an allergic reaction occurs. The symptoms of these allergic reactions can last for a long period after exposure.

What are the symptoms of ocular allergies?

Ocular allergies can present themselves in various ways. However, the primary symptoms for these allergies include itching, eye fatigue, a burning sensation, swelling of the eyelids, eye redness, sensitivity to light, a gritty feeling in the eyes and swollen eyes.  

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a condition that occurs when you are unable to produce adequate tears to lubricate the eyes. The eyes dry out too quickly and become swollen, red and irritated. The condition occurs due to various factors including age, medications, gender and exposure to irritants.

Are eye allergies common?

Eye allergies are quite common. In America, more than 60 million people suffer from some sort of allergy. 24 million of these people develop ocular allergies. Allergies can be a nuisance to deal with. Many of them can result in the development of even more serious conditions such as Dry Eye. It is therefore advisable to have your eyes examined regularly and seek treatment for any allergies identified.

How can eye allergies be treated?

The treatment for eye allergies varies depending on the cause of the allergy and the effects. Preventative care is the first and foremost goal of any eye health care professional. Health care professionals advise patients on preventative care, which includes ocular hygiene, avoiding allergens e.g. avoiding pets and eating foods that improve eye health.

Regular eye exams ensure that any conditions are detected early. This will help your doctor administer treatment to relieve the symptoms of eye allergies such as itching. This may include the administration of medications such as Cromolyn. It may also include the use of a cold compress or discontinuing the use of contact lenses for a period.

If your eyes have reddened as a result of the allergic reaction, your doctor may suggest cosmetic relief for the redness.

Avoiding the allergens in the first place will help to promote eye health and prevent painful allergies.

Your Questions on Cataract Surgery Answered

The eye is like a camera. It has a lens that refracts light. The lens lies in the middle of the eye. When the proteins in the lens begin to degrade, they form a white cloudy substance as they clump together. This is what is known as a cataract.

Cataracts obscure vision. If they remain untreated, they can cause blindness.

Are cataracts only found in elderly people?

Cataracts often form as a result of the natural aging process. The proteins in the lens of the eyes degrade just as in other parts of the body as the body ages. However, cataracts can also occur as a result of other factors.

Cataracts can result from trauma to the eyes. They can also occur as a result of other medical conditions that cause degeneration, such as diabetes. Exposure to radiation can also result in the development of cataracts. Some people are born with cataracts (i.e. congenital cataracts).

In all cases of cataracts, treatment is necessary as they can result in blindness.

How are cataracts treated?

The only truly effective way to treat cataracts is through cataract surgery. Cataract surgery allows your doctor to remove the cataract.

How are cataracts removed?

Cataract surgery is fast and simple. The surgeon makes a small incision on the front of the eye using a surgical instrument or a laser. An ultrasonic device or laser is then used to break down the lens of the eye. The small pieces of the lens are removed and replaced with an intraocular lens implant. This lens implant will restore the vision of the patient.

Do I need to have cataract surgery right away?

It depends on how advanced your cataracts are. Your doctor may advise against cataract surgery if the cataracts are still small. Many doctors will prefer to wait until the cataracts have grown to the point that they interfere with your lifestyle or work.

Is the surgery safe?

Like with any other surgery, cataract surgery has risks. However, the success rates are very high (99%). It is the most common surgery performed in the US. Many ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery procedures regularly and have extensive experience. Having an experienced surgeon significantly reduces the risks associated with the procedure.

Will I be awake during the surgery?

Most surgeons choose to sedate their patients for the procedure. However, sedation is only light and some patients remain awake during the procedure. Even if you are only lightly sedated, however, you will not remember what happened during the procedure. In most cases, patients are in and out of surgery center within a few hours.

How do I find a cataract eye care specialist?

The best way to find a cataract eye care specialist, is to do research. It’s likely that you found this article doing just that. Keep digging. The more you know, the greater your chance for finding the help help for you.  Take some time today to learn more about cataract surgery. Or start searching your area for a cataract specialist.