Contact lenses are small, curved pieces of plastic shaped to fit your eyes to correct some vision problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Nearsightedness means that you see close objects clearly, but distant objects are blurry. Farsightedness is when you see distant objects clearly, but close objects are blurry.
Contact lenses float on the tear film in front of the cornea (the clear outer layer on the front of the eye). Contact lenses can correct most of the vision problems that glasses correct. They can also correct some problems that glasses cannot.
Often, people wear contact lenses because they do not like how they look with glasses. Contact lenses may be more practical than eyeglasses if you participate in sports or work at jobs where glasses could get in the way. Also, contacts give better peripheral (side) vision than glasses do.
People may prefer contact lenses over glasses if they are very nearsighted or have had cataracts removed. For them, glasses can produce uneven vision. Contact lenses may also provide better vision for people whose corneas have been damaged by disease or injury.
The two main types of contacts used today are soft contact lenses and gas permeable (sometimes called rigid or hard) contact lenses.
Both gas permeable and soft contact lenses can be made into bifocals. Also, both types can be tinted either for use as sunglasses or for cosmetic reasons.
You need a thorough eye exam by an eye doctor who will:
When you first start wearing contacts, you may feel a slight discomfort when they are in your eyes. This is normal. If you have any pain in your eyes that does not go away after removing your contacts or that returns each time you wear your contacts, see your eye care provider. You should have checkups of your eyes and lenses 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year after you first get them. If you have any problems, you may need to go for checkups more often.
You may find it hard to wear contact lenses if you have:
Possible problems include: