Optometry and Contact Lenses
Mass. Eye and Ear provides comprehensive eye examinations, which include screening, diagnosing, and managing eye conditions.
Our optometrists specialize in glasses and contact lenses for patients with vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia (difficulty reading up close). They have extensive knowledge of contact lens fitting methods, techniques, and newly available lenses.
Many people choose to wear contact lenses as an alternative to eyeglasses, even though the full visual potential can be achieved with glasses. In some cases, ophthalmologists may recommended contact lenses as medically necessary to achieve the best visual potential.
Types of Contact Lenses
A contact lens is a medical device. Because the lens makes contact with the eye, a thorough evaluation and fitting is needed.
Soft contact lenses—or hydrogel or hydrophilic lenses—are very flexible and are often the most comfortable lens to be worn initially. While very safe to use, these lenses are often disposable to decrease risks of complications, such as infection.
Rigid gas permeable contacts are stiffer lenses and require an adaptation period for best comfort. For some prescriptions, these lenses offer crisper vision and excellent oxygen permeability.
Daily wear contact lenses are worn during the day and are removed at night for cleaning and disinfection. This is typically the healthiest type of contact lens.
Extended wear contact lenses can be worn for longer periods of time or while sleeping. Typically, wearing contacts for a long time reduces the amount of oxygen and tears that reach the cornea. This can result in eye infections, swelling, and abnormal vessel growth.
Conventional contact lenses need to be replaced every 8-12 months. These lenses are frequently selected for difficult prescriptions. They need to be meticulously cleaned and disinfected daily.
Planned replacement contact lenses are replaced on a planned schedule that can be anywhere from once a week to every six months. These lenses need to be removed and disinfected each day before sleeping.
Disposable contact lenses are thrown away after each use. Although lenses that are thrown away after 2-4 weeks are often called "disposable" lenses, a true disposable lens is only kept for one day. These lenses significantly decrease the chances of contamination by bacteria or other dangerous microbes. Additionally, these lenses are exceptionally convenient for occasional use or for people with active lives.
The Contact Lens Service at Mass. Eye and Ear is able to assess and prescribe contact lenses for a variety of specialty uses, including:
- Contact lenses for astigmatism
- Bifocal contact lenses
- Color-enhancing contact lenses
- Contact lenses for dry eyes
- Contact lenses for color deficiencies
- Prosthetic-contact lenses
- Post-surgical and post-trauma contact lenses
- Specialty lenses for keratoconus and corneal irregularities
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Did You Know?
Learning how to properly insert and remove soft contact lenses can help prevent long-term damage to your eyes.