Thinking about trying contact lenses? Whether you need corrective lenses for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia, contact lenses offer many advantages over eyeglasses:
Wider field of view
Contact lenses give you a wider field of view than eyeglasses. Eyeglass frames block your peripheral vision. This is especially true with today’s smaller frames. You get a wider view of your world with contact lenses.
More natural vision
Contact lenses rest directly on the cornea of your eye to provide more natural vision than eyeglasses. Things appear just as they should in size and position, with no distortion. With eyeglasses, the distance between the lenses and you eyes makes objects appear smaller or larger that they actually are. If you are nearsighted, things look smaller and farther away. If you are farsighted, objects appear unnaturally magnified.
Better peripheral vision
No matter which direction you look, contact lenses move with your eyes so you are always looking through the optic zone – the clearest part of the contact lens. With eyeglasses, when you move your eyes to the side you are no longer looking through the optical center of your lenses. This may cause objects to appear blurred or distorted.
More stable vision
Contact lenses remain securely in place on your eyes – even during quick body movements. This keeps you vision clear and accurate during sports and other activities. With eyeglasses, your lenses can “hop” on your face when you run. This can make your vision unstable and affect your performance in sports.
Unaffected by weather and body heat
With contact lenses, you don’t have to worry about your lenses fogging up when you come in from the cold or getting splattered by rain on a rainy day. And contact lenses also won’t steam up from body heat and perspiration like eyeglass lenses do.
Contact lenses don’t pinch your nose or rub against your ears like eyeglasses do. And you won’t have to worry about glasses sliding down your nose if you perspire.
More choices of sunglasses
Contact lenses allow you to wear the latest styles of sunglasses – including “wrap” style sunglasses that reduce glare from peripheral light and provide better eye protection. (Prescription sunglasses must be made with relatively flat lens curves to avoid optical distortions.)
So why doesn’t everyone wear contact lenses?
Some people are just not interested in contact lenses. And some eye doctors don’t recommend contact lenses unless their patients specifically ask about them.
Most people are excellent candidates for contact lens wear. There are contact lenses to correct nearly every kind of vision problem, including astigmatism and presbyopia. Even if you enjoy wearing eyeglasses, contact lenses can be worn on a part time basis to suit your needs. Contacts are especially a good choice for sports, working out at the gym, and other leisure activities.
Which contact lenses are best for you?
There are basically two types of contact lenses: soft contact lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses. Both soft and RGP lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Because soft contact lenses are initially more comfortable and can more easily be worn on a part-time basis than RGP lenses, over 85 percent of contact lens wearers choose soft lenses.
The first step in determining the type of contact lens best suited for your visual needs is to have a complete eye exam and a contact lens evaluation with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. When you call to make an appointment for your exam, be sure to tell the receptionist that you are interested in wearing contact lenses. This will help them schedule the appropriate amount of time with the doctor so all your questions can be answered and a contact lens fitting can be performed.
Eyeglasses are still required.
Even if you wear contact lenses full time, you should have an up-to-date pair of eyeglasses handy to wear when you are not wearing your contact lenses. For the greatest safety and comfort, you should remove your contact lenses at least one hour before sleep. You should also remove your contact lenses and wear eyeglasses if your eyes feel dry or become uncomfortable for any reason. If the discomfort persists, see your eye doctor immediately.