some people mistakenly believe that LASIK eye surgery has made contact lenses a thing of the past. But nothing could be further from the truth. According to Consumerreports.org, over two thirds of people who undergo laser eye correction surgery still wear contacts or glasses in some capacity. And though LASIK is one of the most frequently performed operations in America, 40 million people still wear contact lenses. It also might surprise you how different contacts of today are from contacts of the past. Lens technology is constantly evolving, and now wearing contacts is much more effective in terms of correcting vision problems and much more convenient. These are some of the important advances in recent years which have changed the way people think about their lenses.
1. Extended Wear Safety
It used to be that sleeping in your contact lenses made you 5 times more likely to develop a serious infection. But with advances in extended wear contacts, you can now keep certain brands of lenses in your eyes for up to 30 days with no more risk of infection or complication than you’d find with a traditional pair of daily wear lenses. Extended wear lenses are made of silicone hydrogel material which allows much more oxygen to reach the surface of the eye. In the past, concerns about bacteria and organisms that could thrive under your contacts when your eyes are closed. But the oxygen-rich extended wear contacts are FDA-approved and have the ability to stave off infection due to the flow of air to your corneas.
2. Correction for Astigmatism
Around 15 percent of extended wear contacts are toric lenses, used to correct astigmatism. The toric lens has two orientations which function perpendicular to each other, bending light in such a way as to correct the astigmatic eye. Severe astigmatism often causes changes to the shape of a person’s eye, and now you can actually find custom lenses that are shaped to your individual eye which will eliminate blurred vision. The latest advances in astigmatism contacts also attempt to correct the problem of the shifting lens, which can blur your vision when you blink or when you’re active. Blink stabilization uses the motion of your eyelids to actually adjust the placement of the lens, eliminating a common drawback to toric lenses.
3. Advances for Presbyopia
One of the most significant ways that lens technology has improved is in correcting vision problems that plague most people after the age of 40. Advances in bifocal and multifocal lenses allow older Americans to see clearly and even drive better at night. Mono-vision contacts can correct far distances in one eye and near distances in another, so they combine for maximum vision improvement. And a recent study by Optometry and Vision Science Magazine showed that wearing rigid, reverse-geometry lenses overnight can actually change the shape of the cornea temporarily, so that presbyopic individuals had no need for reading glasses or other vision correction during the day. With a rapidly aging population, there is a large incentive for scientists to find ways to improve vision as people grow older.
It would be ideal if surgery could solve every vision problem, and in the future, that might be possible. But until then, it’s important to understand the many technological advances that have been made in the field of contact lenses so that you know how to find the right pair for you and get the maximum protection and convenience you can find.
Editor’s Note: Writer Marilyn Baur is an avid blogger. Looking for the latest technology in contact lenses? Check out lenses from seeside company.