Contact lens is a thin plastic lens placed on the surface of the eye to correct visual defect. Like spectacles, it is used to correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism of the eye. The differences are that it is smaller in size compared to the spectacles, and is placed directly on the surface of the eye (cornea). According to Utusan Online dated 23/03/2013, the total numbers of contact lenses users in six major markets, namely China, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore have reached 846 million in 2012. Why so many people choose to use contact lenses? Isn’t the use of spectacles are much easier? One of the advantages of using contact lenses is that the user will be able to perform vigorous activity more comfortably without worriness on damaging the spectacles. You will also feel confident and look more stylish with your desired sunglasses. Above all those reasons for using the contact lenses, we still have the necessity to know the main purposes of contact lenses being invented. It is actually a technology that had been designed for better vision. However, it should be emphasized that contact lens is not an ALTERNATIVE. This means that contact lens will not be the main suggestion from any consulted optometrist if you are having eye-sightedness.
Figure 1 : Difference Between Soft Contact Lens And Rigid Gas Permeable Lens
Who Will Benefit From Contact Lens Wear
1. Individual with high refractive error
- Long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism
- Difference in power between one eye to another (exceeding 2.00 D). This will cause imbalance in vision. Normally an individual who has this problem will feel uncomfortable using spectacles. Contact lens will give a better vision and solve the problem.
- High power of the eye due to Aphakia. Aphakia is the absence of the crystalline lens. It can happen in one or both eyes due to cataract surgery or one was born without the lens. In this situation, using spectacles will make you look unattractive because of the excessive thickness of the lens. Furthermore, the spectacles are weighty and will be limiting your field of view.
Figure 2 : Baby Wearing An Aphakic Spectacle
Figure 3 : Adult Wearing An Aphakic Spectacle
2. Individual who wears spectacles and involved actively in sports Soft lenses are more practical if they are used during any sport activity. They enhance your confidence, give better eyesight and they reduce the risk of having eye injury compared to spectacles.
3. Replacing spectacles if the patients have corneal problem such as:
- Keratoconus – Keratoconus is a progressive? where the cornea became thin and abnormal. Keratoconus patient will have high and irregular astigmatism which cannot be corrected with spectacles. This is because normal spectacles will not be able to give satisfaction towards good visual acuity due to the aberration of light on the uneven corneal surface. Usually, rigid gas permeable lenses are the best solution to rectify this problem and give perfect vision to patient.
- Irregular astigmatism – due to post trauma to the cornea or patient who had undergone corneal transplantion.
4. Individual who has defect or scar on the cornea
- Prosthetic contact lenses are used to mask any defects on the cornea. Any injuries to the cornea might change the cornea from its transparency condition to a cloudy state. Hence this will alter the eye color and make the eye look weird.
- This might cause the patients to suffer with embarrassment and lose their confidence to face the public. In this case, prosthetic contact lenses might be able to help the patients to change the eye color to normal, thus helping them to boost their confidence level to be in the society.
Figure 4 : Abnormal corneal appearance
Figure 5 : Corneal appearance after wearing prosthetic contact lens Recently, there has been dumping of colored contact lenses in the market for cosmetic purposes. These lenses are sold with very low prices. The occurrence happens due to the lack of enforcement on the sale of these lenses. Consumers were not given the right information regarding contact lens and its usage. Eventually, it will given rise to problems such as sore eyes, watery eyes, itchiness and blurring of vision. The worst thing that can happen is permanent scar caused by corneal ulcer which can lead to blindness. Before deciding to use contact lenses, consumers are highly encouraged to get a comprehensive eye examination from an Optometrist. By doing so, you will be able to get an accurate information regarding your own spectacles and contact lenses refractive power. As a consumer, you should know and always realize your rights. Choosing contact lenses is like selecting your own shoes or T-shirts. They are made with various sizes and we ought to make sure that the contact lenses are suitable for our eyes.
Children Can Use Contact Lenses Too
Children also can wear contact lenses like adult too. A comprehensive examination need to be carried out to determine the suitability of wearing contact lens. Optometrist will give consultation on every aspect of contact lens wear including on handling the contact lens, cleaning regime, eyes and contact lenses care and wearing schedule. The parents or guardian willingness and motivation to stay committed in managing the contact lenses is definitely more essential. There is no specified age limit for children to start using the contact lenses. It can be at the very early age depending on the eye condition and needs of the child.
People Who Are Restricted From Using Contact Lenses
Not all people are suitable to wear contact lenses. Before a person wants to use contact lenses, a series of eye examination need to be carried out on them to determine the health status of the eye. In general, an individual that is not suitable to wear contact lenses are:
- People with allergies
- Diabetes patients
- Those with severe dry eyes
- Those who don’t abide to the contact lens method of handling and care
- Those who are working in a polluted surrounding either chemical or dust
- Those who practise poor hygiene
Only those who had undergone eye examination and has been identified suitable can wear contact lenses.
Using contact lenses is not an offence, even the colored type. Nevertheless, awareness on the proper user of contact lenses is very important to the users especially among the teenagers. These group of consumers are easily allured by the trends. Proper handling, cleanliness and eye safety are the vital aspects that should be taken into account all the time, as these steps can avoid injury and reducing risk of infection to the eye.
1. http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2003&dt=0615&pub=utusan_malaysia&sec=Kesihatan&pg=kn_01.htm 2. http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/Ekonomi/20130323/ek_03/Pengguna-kanta-sentuh-cecah-846j-tahun-lalu
|Last Reviewed||:||20 June 2014|
|Writer||:||Pn. Syuhairah bt Hamzah|
|Translator||:||Pn. Syuhairah bt Hamzah|
|Accreditor||:||Pn. Nor Azizah Binti Ismail|