Everything You Need to Know about Contact Lenses

Are you tired of your glasses fogging up or getting in the way of the activities you love? If so, it could be time to try contact lenses, a vision correction option that millions of people utilize today. Learn more about contact lenses before you make the switch.

Brief History of Contact Lenses

In the 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci became the first person to conceptualize wearing corrective lenses directly on the eye. However, it wasn’t until 1887 that the first glass contact lenses were manufactured.

Drastic advancements have been made in the field of contact lenses over the last 80 years. The materials used have evolved from glass to plastic to acrylate to silicone-hydrogel, and the structure has changed from covering the entire eye to just the cornea. Contacts are more comfortable and breathable today than ever before.

Types of Contact Lenses

  • Soft lenses range from daily disposables to two- and four-week lenses that require cleaning and storage between each use.
  • Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses are harder and smaller than soft lenses. You get crisp, clear vision from lenses that last a year or two, but they may be uncomfortable at first.
  • Scleral lenses cover more of the eye. They are suggested for people with irregular corneas or severe dry eye.
  • Toric lenses are available in soft and RGP form. They are shaped to correct astigmatism, which is when the cornea is pointed rather than spherical.

Contact Lens Eye Exams

The exams for prescribing contact lenses are more in-depth than regular eye exams. In addition to checking your vision to determine your prescription, the exam also assesses the shape and health of your eyes to ensure you’re a good candidate for contact lenses.

If you’re new to contacts, your eye doctor will select trial lenses for you to test out. You’ll receive instructions for putting them in and taking them out, and you’ll wear these contacts home to see how you like them. You may need a follow-up exam to discuss any discomfort and try other styles and brands. When you’re ready, your eye doctor will help you order a one-year supply of the contacts you prefer.

Contact Lens Tips

  • Wash and dry your hands before putting contacts in or taking them out.
  • Put in your contacts before applying eye makeup.
  • Don’t sleep, swim or shower while wearing contact lenses.
  • Store your contacts in fresh contact lens solution every night.
  • Replace your contacts as often as your eye doctor recommends.

Contact lenses are the right solution for many people who require vision correction. If you’re interested in trying out contacts for the first time, call Gerstein Eye Institute at 773.596.9545. We’ll set up an eye exam for you at our Chicago, IL office, where our eye doctor will fit you with the proper lenses and teach you how to insert and remove them correctly. We’ll also explain how to clean and store contact lenses to help keep your eyes healthy.

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