Given the strides in contact lens technology, it’s hard to believe that the first concept was illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century. Today, contact lenses hold enormous appeal for the many patients who want clear vision without the constraints of glasses, especially in our fashion-conscious society. Although contact lenses provide enhanced peripheral vision and clearer visual images, the key benefit for many patients is freedom from eyeglasses.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
While contact lenses offer potential freedom from eyeglasses, they certainly have advantages and disadvantages. To receive a clearer, more precise image of the world while removing nearly all the prismatic effect of glasses, one must accept the higher risk of infection. Ocular dryness is another issue that needs ongoing attention for many patients. Before even considering how contact lenses feel in the eye, the patient must first master the mechanics of lens insertion and removal.
Basic hygiene is a key component of contact lens safety. Patients may engage in risky behaviors such as reusing solution; wearing lenses past their recommended timeframe; rinsing them with water; and sleeping, swimming and showering in lenses. These behaviors are all too common, and it’s our job to continually educate our patients regarding their lens habits.
Contact lenses continue to be an innovative option for vision correction. The rise of the single-use contact lens modality gives enhanced comfort and safety. Additionally, the rebirth of scleral lenses and the advancement of hybrid lenses have given rise to exciting new options for otherwise hard-to-fit patients.
Contact lens patients are almost guaranteed to visit their eye doctors annually to update their prescriptions and order new lenses. However, many patients still need a reminder as to the importance of an annual eye exam for overall vision and full-body health.
I’m proud to support Think About Your Eyes and its efforts to encourage the greater public to get an annual eye exam and prioritize vision health. As advocates for our patients’ vision health, we need to take advantage of every tool that promotes annual eye exam habits.