Contact Lenses vs. Traditional Glasses | Jacksonville Eye Doctors
If your eye doctor has written you a prescription for corrective lenses, you have an important choice to make: contact lenses or traditional glasses?
If you currently wear eyeglasses but are considering making the switch to contact lenses in Jacksonville, FL or if you are currently having trouble with your contact lenses, you might wonder what can and cannot be done with contact lenses.
Eyeglasses History: Our Jacksonville Eye Doctors Explain
Glasses have existed for much longer than contacts – nearly 800 years – and today they are nearly ubiquitous in our culture. Millions of people rely on glasses not only to correct their vision but also as an indispensable fashion accessory. While each patient’s personal style plays an important role in the decision, it’s also important that they consider the everyday tasks and long-term costs associated with each.
According to some studies, most problems associated with contact lenses are caused by human error or poor contact lens hygiene. When utilizing contact lenses, it is important follow this simple lists of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Following these simple rules will help promote good eye health and ensure that you get the most out of your contact lenses in Jacksonville, FL.
Understand the Different Types of Contact Lenses Before Choosing Your Contacts
There are several types of contacts. It’s important that you understand the difference between the two to help you determine which type is right for you. There are two main types of contacts:
Soft Contact Lenses
These are the most popular and known as the most comfortable contact lenses to wear. Soft contacts are used to correct vision problems such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, blurred vision (astigmatism), and age-related presbyopia.
Soft contact lenses derive their name from the fact they are pliable and conform to the shape of the eye. They do not slip out of position easily. This makes them ideal for people who lead highly active lives such as weekend warriors and athletes, where the risk of the contacts slipping out of place is high.
There are various types of soft contact lenses. These are:
- Daily Wear Contacts – These are designed to be worn during the day and taken off at night when they are cleaned and disinfected. The length of time that a pair of soft contacts lasts varies from one manufacturer to another.
- Extended Wear Contacts – Extended wear contacts can be worn even while sleeping. They, however, should be removed to be cleaned and disinfected at least once per week. Although overnight use is approved for these lenses, it’s advisable to do this with caution since it can increase the risk of infection.
- Disposable Contacts – these are the most expensive of the 3 options. They are worn during the day and taken off at night. They do not require cleaning or disinfection. They are designed to be used for a specific time frame such as a single day, week, or month after which they are discarded. They are ideal for people who only wear contacts occasionally or for those who do not tolerate the disinfecting solution used on contacts.
Hard Contact Lenses
These contacts are rigid and gas-permeable. Their main advantage is that they provide crisp vision, especially for people with blurry vision (astigmatism). If you have previously worn soft contacts and were not happy with the results, then hard contact lenses may be a better alternative.
Hard contacts are more breathable than soft contact lenses, a fact that can help reduce the risk of eye infections. They should be removed at night to be cleaned and disinfected.
It is, however, sometimes difficult to adjust to hard contacts. They are also more prone to slipping out of place than soft contacts.
If well taken care of, hard contacts can last between 2-3 years.
Wearing Our Contact Lenses In Jacksonville, FL: What To Do
Because contact lenses are placed directly on the eyeball, care must be taken to ensure the lenses are sterile before putting them on each day. The
risk of infection from non-sterile contact lenses is relatively high.
While most infections are not serious, they are painful and inconvenient and will require you to discontinue use of the lenses until an infection heals.
Additionally, when lenses are not sterile, the possibility of debris getting in the eye and irritating it or scratching it exists. Here are few DOs to follow:
- Wash your hands before putting contacts in or taking them out. Keeping your hands clean is the first step to avoiding infection.
- Use fresh solution each time you are cleaning off your lenses or storing them for the night. Fresh solution is sterile, but solution that has been sitting in a case can easily collect dust and debris.
- Keep your contact lenses in a contact storage case when they are not in use.
- Always take out contact lenses when swimming or while in a hot tub. It is advisable to take them out to shower, as well.
Wearing Our Contact Lenses In Jacksonville: What NOT To Do
On the flipside, there are some things you should not do in order to maintain your contact lenses and promote overall eye health.
- Don’t use tap water to clean contact lenses or to moisten them. This can cause bacteria to enter the eye, resulting in an infection. When lenses need to be cleaned or moistened, only use the drops or solutions recommended by your doctor.
- Don’t use lenses for longer than is recommended by your doctor. For example, disposable lenses may be discarded daily, while others may last much longer. Many people try to “stretch” the use of disposable lenses out longer than is recommended. The contact lenses given by a doctor have a time schedule attached to them for a reason. Soft lenses breakdown over time, so always replace lenses when recommended.
- Don’t sleep in contact lenses that are not approved for extended wear. Extended wear contacts do exist, but traditional lenses lower the oxygen level in the eye. When you are awake, this is compensated for with tears and blinking, but, when sleeping, the eye is deprived of needed oxygen. The lenses may also move at night, potentially causing microscopic tears in the cornea.
- Don’t use a contact case for longer than three months. Even when cleaned regularly, bacteria can build up, which can lead to infection. Swapping out a contact lenses case every three months is an easy way to avoid infection.