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For your eyes only

Though contact lenses have become fashion accessories often changed to match your clothes or mood, few people know that indifferent use can lead to allergies and infections that can damage vision permanently.

delhi Updated: Oct 02, 2010 21:09 IST
Dr Mahipal S Sachdev

Though contact lenses have become fashion accessories often changed to match your clothes or mood, few people know that indifferent use can lead to allergies and infections that can damage vision permanently.

The advantages over spectacles are immense. Contact lenses provide better quality vision and give freedom from spectacles and the fogging that comes with them.

Apart from being used to correct refractive errors including myopia (near sightedness) and hypermetropia (long sightedness), toric lenses are used to treat cylindrical powers (astigmatism). In addition, they can improve vision in people with keratoconus and corneal scarring and provide protection to the eye’s surfaces for conditions such as bullous keratopathy.

Types of lenses
There are two categories of lenses, hard and soft. Hard lenses have almost completely been replaced by semi-soft RGP (Rigid Gas Permeable) lenses., which offer better oxygen permeability, have a longer life and wider range of applictaions.
More popular are the soft lenses made up of silicone hydrogels that come in a wide range of user-friendly options. Soft lenses may be Daily Wear that need to be removed before going to bed, Extended Wear that can be used continuously for up to a week, and Continuous Wear, which can be used for 30 days. Long-wear lenses may increase the risk of corneal infections due to tear film instability and bacterial stagnation. These lenses should not be used beyond their specified time limit.
Daily Wear cost between Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,500, and Continuous Wear is priced between Rs 6,500 and Rs 12,500 for a year’s supply.

If not used and cleaned properly, lenses can cause allergies, conjunctivitis, and infections. Rarely, corneal infiltrates, keratitis and ulcers may occur that can affect vision.

Lenses hygeine
Touch lenses with clean hands
Store lenses in fresh solution.
Use recommended solution and products. Never use tap water or homemade saline solutions.
Unless using Extended Wear, do not sleep with lenses in your eyes.
Discard disposable lenses within the prescribed period.
Apply make-up after putting in the lenses.
Stop lenses use at first signs of watering, redness, pain, discomfort or discharge from the eyes.

Dr Sachdev is the chairman of the Centre for Sight Group Of Eye Hospitals