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Contact Lens Key Terms
Contact lenses are used for a variety of corrective and cosmetic purposes. Understanding the uses for different types of contacts will help you to locate the perfect pair for anything from correcting your vision to accessorizing your Halloween costume. Below are eight terms to be familiar with when purchasing contact lenses.
Prescription Contacts – Contacts prescribed by an eye care professional to correct impaired vision. Prescription contacts are prescribed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or both, as well as, astigmatism.
Disposable Contacts – Contacts designed to be worn and disposed of on a daily basis. Disposable contacts do not have to be cleaned and are useful for infrequent contact lens users.
Extended Wear Contacts – Lenses designed to be worn continuously for a week to a month before being replaced.
Soft Contacts – Lenses made of flexible materials, designed for comfort. Soft contacts can be worn for longer periods of time than traditional rigid contacts, including overnight wear.
Rigid Contacts – Lenses made of firm materials, for example, Plexiglas. Rigid or hard contact lenses are useful for correcting astigmatism or for individuals with very poor vision, who need strong correction.
Circle Contacts – A type of cosmetic contact lens that covers part of the white of the eye with color, enlarging the appearance of the iris. Circle contacts give the eyes a large, cartoon-like appearance and are very popular in Korea and Japan.
Colored Contacts – Cosmetic contacts that cover the iris and change or enhance the color.
Costume Contacts – A type of cosmetic contact used for theatrical purposes or as a Halloween accessory. Costume contacts change appearance of the shape and color of the iris.
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Contact lenses serve two main purposes: to improve vision and to change eye color. People with an astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness, or just poor vision usually require glasses or contact lenses in order to see better. Contacts not only improve sight, they can also change a person's eye color for aesthetic purposes.
Most contact lenses are soft, although some are hard. Some contacts act as bifocals, and some are disposable. Because they are easily put in and aren't too cumbersome, they are often a preferred alternative to glasses. However, glasses are necessary in some conditions, and some people find contact lenses difficult to insert.
Contact lenses are thin glass or plastic circular lenses placed on the cornea of the eye. An optometrist or ophthalmologist can fit patients for both contacts and glasses. They can write prescriptions to be filled on site, off site, or online. There are many types of contacts to choose from, depending on the vision problem, such as oxygen permeable lenses, multifocal, or soft torics, which correct astigmatism.
Prices can range from cheap to expensive, depending on brand and quantity ordered. Some are cosmetic, changing eye color from brown to blue or hazel to green. Others are daily, weekly, or monthly wear contacts. They should be comfortable in the eye. It's important to order the correct type of lenses for your needs.
Many contact lens providers offer regular sales and discounts, plus insurance often covers all, most, or some of the cost. Patients can order contacts from online suppliers or buy them through their eye doctor's office. If ordering online, a current and valid vision prescription is needed. Usually, the more you buy, the less the overall cost is.