Saturday, 17 December 2011

Contact Lenses-Myths and Realities

Contact lenses,these tiny weightless and invisible pieces have changed the way each of us sees the world.Ask an actress,an actor,a model list has become endless for what contact lenses do for them,a thing which was introduced to correct eyesight issues and certain medical ailments has now become one of the major cosmetic tool.Eminent painter Leonardo da Vinci illustrated the concept of contact lenses in fifteenth century,for centuries different people tried to develop them,initial contact lenses were made out of glass which used to cover whole of the eye and were heavy making it cumbersome for use and were worn only for 2-3 hours.It was only in 1970s’ when American company Bausch and Lamb commercially launched soft contact lenses which actually revolutionized the idea of contact lens vision.Latest introduction to the list of available contact lenses are, Custom-manufactured silicone-hydrogel lenses launched in 2010.
There are three types of contact lenses:
  • Hard lenses, the original type of contact lens, now virtually obsolete
  • GP contact lenses or rigid gas permeables,or RGPs
  • Soft lenses, made from gel-like plastic .
      • Conventional-used for months/year.
      • Disposable-used for a day/weeks/months
Contact lenses are like two edged sword,you use them properly –rewarded ,if you don’t –punished.Few years back U.S President injured his eyes while wearing contact lenses,so badly that he was probably hospitalized.
Numerous myths have been surrounding these little oval shaped structures,I’ve taken help from some of my opthal colleagues and contact lens companies websites to formulate this post.
1.Contact Lenses are just waste of money,a marketing gimmick.
  • A myth,Contact lenses today has become the need of the hour,offering one of the most modern,reliable and non-invasive method of vision correction.
  • Contact lenses have numerous advantages to a spectacle wearer and weighing the benefits they are not very expensive. Besides, due to technology enhancements and increased demand they are very much affordable.
  • The advantages that contact lenses offer are:-
    • Contact lenses enhances field of vision and distortion free vision as they move with the eye movements.
    • Contact lenses give your natural looks back
    • Contact lenses are best for people who are in outdoor sports & other physical activities like dancing, jogging.
    • Contact lenses offer an opportunity to a spectacle wearer for sunglasses
    • During temperature changes, contact lenses do not fog up like spectacles do.
    • Contact lenses do not leave tell-tale marks on your nose as spectacles do.
    • Contact lenses helps you to change color of the eye,any shade/color –you name it and it is there.
2.Contact lenses will improve/stabilize eyesight.
  • Contact lenses help only in clearer and better vision with advantages as written above,while offering no solution to refraction error or power no.,which are actually related to medical ailments in body,changes in eyes,etc.
3.Contact lenses are tough to handle
  • No, not at all.Just a teaching of 20-25 min will do.lenses these days are easy to handle and use,you need to take care of sanitation and hygiene issues.
4.Contact lens are uncomfortable to wear.
  • With modern technology and customized lenses ,after a brief adjustments and adaptation period ,they have become very comfortable to use .Yes to certain percentage of people they are troublesome but once cause is notified problem in general is resolved.
5.Contact lens maintenance is cumbersome and tough.
  • Gone are the days when it was, one need to sterile them into sterilizer,dip into tablets,wash them after few hours,etc.,these days one bottle solution has made cleansing,sanitization and maintenance issue so easy. But if you are too lazy for that also opt for daily disposable or a month wear type lenses will do.
6.Contact lens could go inside my eyes.
  • This is termed as wearied thinking ,till date how many times your tears or eyelash or any foreign particles got inside,answer would be no…Mother nature has taken care of this.A very thin invisible layer covers human eye and connect from inside to eyelid making this impossible..
7.Contact lens causes eye diseases/infections.
  • This is a rare possibility these days if you a alert and do’s and don’t follower,but then certain people do get diseases which are mostly reversible after discontinuation of lenses.I’ve mentioned about possible complications at the end of this.Contact lens industry will never highlight this part but this should be kept in mind,after all eyes are most precious…
8.Contact lens – very high power means thickness and discomfort
  • No not at all,with specialized material used and modern technology these days have made all lenses irrespective of power of same thickness.
9.Contact lens-Presbyopia/astigmatism means I can’t wear contact lenses.
  • No,contact lens on the contrary improves astigmatism,a type of refractive error(toric lenses) and there are lenses for presbyopia(mono vision lenses).
10.Contact lens can come(pop) out of my eyes suddenly.
  • Old hard lens had some problem but with the invent of these new lenses this is not a cause of worry any more.
11.Contact lens can’t be worn at night while sleeping.
  • Ideally lenses should be removed after normal usage but these days continues wear category lenses are being introduced by lens companies in the market ,claiming they can be used for 30 days without removal/cleansing,this claim has been challenged by many ophthalmologist ,research paper of Dr.Umang Mathur-says lenses can be worn maximum for 6-7 days.
12.Contact lens –Conventional or Disposable.
  • This is a general question asked , most of the people think that all lenses are same ,no,these days range of lenses have become vast ,so one needs to visit ophthalmologist to find suitable lenses. Here I’m just giving a slight comparison between the commonly asked difference.
      • Conventional are cheap,last longer but are infection prone and ned high maintenance.
      • Disposable are less infection prone,clarity of vision remains same through out as there is less deposition of protein and bacteria.
      • Some claim that disposable lens provide high level of oxygen flow to eye making it healthy.I was unable to find any research paper/article on this issue.
13.Colored contact lens are harmful.
  • No not at all,colored contact lens use FDA/other authorities approved color and material ,after all its all about eyes,but yes you cannot use them as frequently as normal contact lens,colored lenses these days are very common in movies,dramas and even normal parties to give a different look.
N.B;-RGP lenses are best suited for,Keratokones and Post R K Disorder.
  • Lens industry always poses a rosy picture about contact lens usage but they might create some infections and might damage eye/power permanently if one does not adhere to guidelines of lens usage.
        • Keratitis-symptoms.
              • Blurred vision
              • Redness/Itching of eyes.
              • Discharge/tear from eyes.
              • Pain.
              • Feeling of some foreign body inside eye.
        • Corneal Ulcer.
        • Corneal abrasions(scratches).
  • Any quires to this post are welcome.

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