Contact lenses: when are they recommended and what types are available?
Contact lenses emerged many years ago with the aim of improving the quality of life of patients and even, in some cases, improving vision.
Contact lenses must be fitted by an ophthalmology and contact lens specialist who, before approving the fitting, takes into account not only optical parameters (corneal diameter and corneal radius of curvature) but also the quality of the tear, corneal topography and the absence of conjunctival and eyelid pathology, choosing in principle, both the type of lens to be used and the time of use.
Evolution of contact lenses or contact lenses
The evolution of both the materials and their design has evolved significantly over the last 25 years, so that today it is difficult to find someone to whom they cannot be adapted.
It could be said that ophthalmologists now have “a la carte” contact lenses and can customize them according to both the patient’s needs and the specific characteristics of each eye.
Types of contact lenses and when they are recommended
Although there are rigid contact lenses, their use is restricted to eyes with specific corneal pathology and they can be considered practically obsolete. Semi-rigid gas permeable contact lenses are used for patients with significant astigmatism that cannot be corrected with soft contact lenses and, although optically very good, they are not very comfortable. We currently fit the largest number of patients with soft contact lenses. Spherical models are manufactured (for myopia and hyperopia), toric (to solve the associated astigmatism) and also multifocal (to correct the associated presbyopia). These lenses are very well supported, can be worn throughout the day (no more than 12 hours on average) and can be added to the astigmatism that the patient presents.
In addition, ophthalmologists have lenses for daily, weekly, monthly and annual use, and their indication will depend on the characteristics of the eye and the patient’s needs and/or activities. There are, for example, people who only want to use contact lenses for the practice of an occasional sports activity, in which case we prescribe daily contact lenses, and other people who want to use them daily, who will be prescribed monthly or yearly contact lenses.
There is a generalized trend towards the use of disposable contact lenses, i.e. contact lenses that, once the established term for their use (daily, weekly or monthly) has expired, are discarded. This has favored the fact that they are hygienically better and has minimized their maintenance (previously several maintenance products were needed).
It should be borne in mind that abuse in the use of contact lenses can irreparably damage the cornea and it is therefore necessary to strictly comply with the instructions for use that specialists provide to patients.
Contact lens wear in children
The adaptation of contact lenses in children has undergone a great transformation in recent years and, with the current models, they can be prescribed in younger and younger patients with excellent results. The most experienced ophthalmologists have been doing this for more than 20 years with remarkable success. To achieve this, it is essential to have a good motivation on the part of the child and a lot of patience on the part of the specialist, especially when teaching how to put them in and take them out.
Nowadays, specialists are able to fit contact lenses to children from 10-12 years of age.
Before deciding on the fitting, the ophthalmologist asks the parents a questionnaire to find out if their child is a candidate. This survey consists of four questions and we have designated it with the acronym LORA which stands for: Clean, Orderly, Responsible and Autonomous. If the child does not meet any of the above requirements, we postpone the adaptation until he/she does.