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The Basics of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses, like eyeglasses or LASIK, can correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

While some people enjoy making a fashion statement with eyeglasses, others prefer their appearance without them. Contact lenses can achieve this without irreversible refractive surgery. In addition, contact lenses move with the eyes in any direction so that wide peripheral vision can be ensured. Hence, it is a great option for sports.

Contact lenses have been around for a very long time. During this time, many advancements have allowed just about everyone to wear contact lenses. If you were told in the past that the contact lens does not fit you, odds are that that is not true today. There are more convenient and healthy contact lens options than ever.

If you are new to contact lenses, your first step is to see an eye care professional. If you come to Jerry Tan Eye Surgery, we will evaluate your visual needs, your eye structure, and your tear quality to help determine the best type of lens for you.

The many types of contact lenses currently available can be grouped in various ways according to:

  • Material
  • Frequency of replacement
  • The design of the lens

Contact Lens Materials

Classified by material, there are two types of contact lenses that are commonly prescribed:

  • Soft lenses are made from gel-like, water-containing plastics, and are most common.
  • GP lenses, also known as RGP or "oxygen permeable" lenses, are made from rigid, waterless plastics and are especially good for people with high astigmatism.

Frequency of Replacement

Even with proper care, contact lenses should be replaced frequently to prevent the build-up of lens deposits and contamination that increase the risk of eye infections. This is especially so for soft contact lenses.

Soft lenses have these general classifications, based on how frequently they should be discarded:

  • Daily disposable lenses - Discard after a single day of wear. They are generally thinner due to lower requirements for durability. They are good for people with ocular allergies and people who use them infrequently.
  • Bi-weekly disposable lenses - Discard every two weeks
  • Monthly disposable lenses - Discard every month
  • Extended wear lenses - These lenses have high oxygen permeability and are approved by the FDA for overnight wear. If you consult with JTES, we will advise you if you are suitable for overnight use of these lenses.
  • Conventional lenses - Discard every one to two years. They have lost favour since the introduction of disposable lenses which are thinner and have shorter wearing times which limit deposits. They are usually an option for people who have a spectacle/refractive power out of the normal parameters the frequently disposable lenses offer.

Gas permeable (or hard) contact lenses are more resistant to lens deposits and do not need to be discarded as frequently as soft lenses. They often last two to five years if taken care of well.

Contact Lens Designs

Many lens designs are available to correct various types of vision problems:

  • Spherical contact lenses are the typical, rounded design of contact lenses, which can correct myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Toric contact lenses correct for astigmatism, as well as for myopia and hyperopia
  • Multifocal contact lenses contain different zones for near and far vision to correct presbyopia

Which Contact Lens Is Right for You?

First, your contact lens must address the problem that is prompting you to wear lenses in the first place. Your contact lens must provide you with good vision by correcting your myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or some combination of these vision problems.

Second, the lens must fit your eye. Contacts lenses come in different powers and sizes. A good fitting technique is involved in finding the right contact lens for you.

Third, you may have other medical needs that drive the choice of lens. At JTES, we will evaluate your eye's condition and health to determine the appropriate lens choice for you.

Soft Contact Lens Insertion

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap. Be sure to rinse all soap off of your hands before handling contact lens. It is important for the first time wearer to keep the nails short to avoid scratching the eye.
  2. Close or cover the drain outlet when working over a sink.
  3. Verify that the lens is not turned inside out by placing it on your forefinger and checking its profile. The lens should assume a natural, curved, bowl-like shape (Fig. A). If the lens edges tend to point outward, the lens is inside out (Fig. B). Another method is to gently squeeze the lens between the thumb and forefinger. The edges should turn inward. If the lens is inside out, the edges will turn slightly outward.
  4. Place the lens, like a bowl shape, on the tip of your right index finger. (Always start with the right eye first to prevent mixups)
  5. Reach your left arm up over your head and use the middle finger of your left hand to lift the upper eyelid and eyelashes up to the bone in the eyebrow.
  6. Place the middle finger of your right hand at the lower eyelid and pull it down.
  7. Now that your lashes are out of the way, slowly bring the right index finger, with the lens on it toward the eye. Gently place the lens on the center of the eye.
  8. Wait for the lens to adhere to the eye.
  9. Release the lower eyelid first, look down/left and right a few times, then slowly release the upper eyelid.
  10. Blink slowly several times. Cover your other eye and look at distant objects to make sure the lens is in place.
  11. Repeat the same procedure for the other eye. After inserting your lenses, rinse your contact lens case thoroughly with your rinsing solution and let it air dry.

Removal of Soft Contact Lenses

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap.
  2. Place the middle finger of your right hand on the lower eyelid of the right eye, and pull down gently.
  3. Roll your eyes upwards, and pull the contact lens down using the index finger of your right hand.
  4. Gently squeeze the contact lens between the index finger and thumb and remove the contact lens from your eye.
  5. Place the contact lens into the right side of the contact lens case, fill with multi-purpose solution and replace the lid.
  6. Repeat the same procedure for the other eye.

RGP Lens Insertion

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with fragrance free soap. Be sure to rinse all soap off of your hands before handling the contact lens. It is important for the first time wearer to keep the nails short to avoid scratching the eye or damaging the contact lens.
  2. Close or cover the drainage outlet when working over a sink.
  3. Place the lens, like a bowl shape, on the tip of your right index finger. (Always start with the right eye first to prevent mix-ups)
  4. Reach your left arm up over your head and use the middle finger of your left hand to lift the upper eyelid and eyelashes up to the bone in the eyebrow.
  5. Place the middle finger of your right hand at the lower eyelid and pull it down.
  6. Now that your lashes are out of the way, slowly bring the right index finger, with the lens on it toward the eye. Gently place the lens on the center of the eye.
  7. Blink slowly several times. Cover your other eye and look at distant objects to make sure the lens is in place.
  8. Repeat the same procedure for the other eye. After inserting your lenses, rinse your contact lens case thoroughly with your rinsing solution and let it air dry.

RGP Lens Removal

  1. Wash with mild soap and dry hands thoroughly.
  2. Close sink drainage outlet. Rigid lenses are much smaller than soft lenses; therefore, it is best to make certain you can see the lens if it is dropped during removal.
  3. Lean over the sink, and begin with the right eye. Some people who wear hard gas permeable lenses use a small suction cup to remove the lens from the eye. The suction cup should be placed directly on the lens (not the eye) and gently twisted off. The lens should slide off of the suction device so the lens can be cleaned and placed in the storage case. The other method will be to cup left hand beneath the eye. Place right index finger at outer corner of the right eye and pull eyelids sideways toward outer corner of eye socket. This action loosens the suction of the contact lens and pops it out of the eye.
  4. Place lens in storage case after cleaning and cover with storage solution. Repeat the process with the left eye.

JERRY TAN EYE SURGERY
Camden Medical Centre
1 Orchard Boulevard #10-06
Singapore 248649
T: +65 6738 8122
F: +65 6738 3822

After Office Hours:
+65 6535 8833

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