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ABOUT CONTACT LENSES
Most people who need to wear glasses can wear contact lenses. Contact lenses can have a number of practicalities:
- Enhancing or changing your appearance – getting away from spectacles which sometimes can feel uncomfortable and heavy
- An alternative to Laser Correction – modern contact lenses can give great vision without the need for invasive surgery
- As a cosmetic makeover – coloured prescription lenses can look great and give you a new look
- For activities and sports – when glasses aren’t suitable and optimal vision is essential
- For children – improving confidence and where spectacles are not a suitable alternative
There are two main types of contact lenses:
- soft lenses which mould to the shape of your eye
- rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP lenses) which are fitted closely to the shape of your eye and are less flexible
Most contact lenses fitted in the UK are soft lenses.
Which type of contact lens is best?
The type of lens that is best for you will depend upon several factors. These include how often you want to wear your lenses – for example do you want to wear them just for certain activities such as sport, or do you want to wear them most of the time, instead of glasses?
As soft lenses are initially more comfortable than RGP lenses, they are ideal for people who only want to wear lenses occasionally. RGP lenses are a little more uncomfortable than soft lenses at first, so they take a bit more getting used to.
Can I wear contact lenses if I have astigmatism?
Yes – Astigmatism is where the cornea (the window at the front of the eye) or the lens inside the eye is shaped more like a rugby ball than a football. This is known as a toric contact lens and it takes the rugby ball shape into account.
Can I have bifocal or varifocal contact lenses?
When you reach your forties it is common to find that you need a different prescription for reading than you need for distance. This is called presbyopia. This may mean that you need two pairs of glasses, or you need bifocal or varifocal glasses.
There are three main options to correct presbyopia with contact lenses:
- You may choose to have contact lenses to correct your distance vision, and wear reading glasses over the top when you need them.
- You may have varifocal contact lenses.
- You may wear lenses to have one eye corrected to see in the distance and one eye corrected for near vision. This is called monovision.