GLASSES come in all kind of shapes and sizes nowadays, from rimless and extremely light to bold fashion statement. But millions of people still feel that glasses impose unnecessary restrictions on their lifestyle.
That is why many prefer contact lenses, tiny round plate-like objects that the wearer can easily place inside their eyes and later remove using just their fingers.
One advantage of contact lenses is that, unlike glasses, they allow for a complete field of vision: people who wear contacts have the impression that they can see well naturally.
According to one survey that was carried out in Germany in 2014, the majority of people who wear contact lenses – 81% – wear soft ones, and only 12% wear the hard variety, technically known as form stable lenses.
Which contact lenses are actually better?
“That will always depend on the individual case,” says Oliver Hoppe, head of the contact lens working group at the German Professional Society of Ophthalmologists.
If you would like to wear contacts, you will first need to undergo an examination with an eye specialist. If your eyes look healthy, the doctor will measure
the size of your eye and analyst your tear film, which is important to see whether the eye tends to get too dry. If that is the case and you intend to wear contacts all day, soft lenses will not be a good idea.
“The soft material would take even more moisture away from the eye,” Hoppe explains. That could cause irritation. Form stable lenses will be the best option in such cases.
What and when you need wear contact lenses?
Another important factor when choosing contact lenses is when the patient is planning to use them.
“For someone who is only going to wear them every now and then to do sports, soft lenses are ideal,” says Gunther Oesker, contact lens specialist at the German umbrella organisation for opticians and optometrists.
Before making a decision to buy contact lenses, you should try them out. The optician will help you put them in for the first time, and you should keep them in for at least 15 minutes.
“Only then can you reliably check, in a preliminary evaluation, how the lenses fi t and how they perform visually,” says Katrin Andruschow of the consumer rights organisation Stiftung Warentest.
Next, you will need to test the lenses in your everyday life. If everything works out, you will be able to order and buy individually prescribed lenses.
Quality type of contact lenses
How much they cost will depend on the lens type and the material. Form stable lenses cost several hundred dollars, but can be worn for up to two years. Soft lenses are cheaper and come in daily, weekly and monthly formats, with the price varying accordingly.
In theory, lenses should only be worn during the day, and they should only be used for as long as the packaging says: one day, one week or one month. You should take them off about an hour before going to sleep, and you should also clean and disinfect them if you are planning to use them again.
If your eyes burn, itch or become red, you must not use your contact lenses and should see your optician.
People who wear contacts should always have a pair of glasses at hand just in case, Hope notes.