The Eyes Have It: Advances in Glasses and Contact Lenses

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Thursday 14th October 2010
In this article
  • Advances in contact lenses.
  • The latest fashions in glasses.
  • A little insight into the vision world.

The saying, "the eyes have it" isn’t so far off. Think about how much we learn about others just by watching their eyes. The interest shown in the eyes of others leads to a greater level of attention paid to our own — including sun and vision correction eyewear and contact lenses. As it turns out, there’s quite a bit that’s new in the world of eye care. Yes, even for those of you with 20/20 vision. Check it out:

A Look at Contact Lenses

As hard contact lenses (also known as rigid gas permeables) gradually become less universal, disposable soft contact lens options continue to expand. Now, the most commonly prescribed soft contact lenses are designed to be worn for two weeks at a time. With these lenses, you take them out to clean them each night and then — after two weeks — you throw them away and break out a fresh, new pair.

Unfortunately, not everyone can wear the two-week lenses. Whether or not you can will depend on how much moisture and oxygen your eyes need. Each type of lens is a different thickness and allows a different amount of oxygen into the eye. Moisture and oxygen are the two prime factors that contribute to your comfort — and your eye doctor can help you determine what your eyes require and which lenses suit your needs.

The good news is that there are now replaceable monthly lenses, as well — removed each night for sleep, but only replaced once a month — for those who can’t wear the two-week type. Your eye care provider will help you determine which wear-time works best for you, again, based on how much moisture and oxygen your eyes need.

New no-rub cleaning solutions make it easy to throw your lenses into their case and let the solution do the work. But taking the time to remove and cleanse your contact lenses isn’t for everyone. For those who prefer to skip the dip, daily lenses are the best way to go. With daily lenses, you open a new pair each day and throw them away at night.

If that is still more maintenance than you care to do, have no fear — extended wear lenses are here. With a lens like the Focus Night & Day, you can wear the same pair of lenses for up to 30 days without ever taking them out or cleaning them. Yep, that means you even sleep with them on.

Don’t wear contacts at all? Cosmetic prescription and non-prescription contact lenses are available for those interested in "trying on" a different eye color. Color contact lenses allow you to change your eye color in either a subtle or dramatic manner — regardless of what color your eyes are naturally. Brands like Freshlook offer everything from Colors, which completely cover your current eye color in order to make them appear hazel, green, violet or blue, to Radiance Lenses, which add a pearlescent effect to light or dark eyes. Creeeeepy.

The Modern Age of Eyeglasses

Today’s eyeglass frames are made of metal, plastic or a combination of the two. The materials used in some of today’s most popular designer frames are becoming more and more durable, adjustable, cost-effective and most importantly, lightweight.

If you are hard on your lenses, think about getting frames made of a durable material like Flexon7, derived from a titanium-based alloy with a memory factor that allows a twisted frame to return to its original shape. The Flexon material also holds adjustments longer and is lighter in weight than traditional metal frames.

Also surprisingly light are frames made of Titanium Ti-227, which is nearly 50 percent lighter than most metal frame materials, or Cobalt — so lightweight that you will hardly notice you are wearing your glasses.

With designer frames from licensed brands like Porsche or Armani — to funky and retro classics — finding a style, fit and material to fit your needs and tastes isn’t too hard. The hard part might be narrowing down your choices

A Few Questions Answered

Q: If I already have a prescription for glasses, can I get contacts?

A: To get contact lenses, you need a prescription that is different from your prescription for eyeglasses, as it includes a measurement of the "fit" or shape of your eye. Two different measurements take into account the curve and the diameter of your eyeball.

Q: If I have 20/20 vision, do I need to see a doctor or get a prescription to purchase colored contacts?

A: You do need a prescription, even if you have perfect vision. While the contact material won’t have any "power" to correct your vision if you were nearsighted or farsighted, you still need to find out what brand works best and fits the measurements of your eyes.

Q: I have astigmatism; can I still wear contact lenses?

A: Yes. The lenses specifically designed to take your astigmatism into account are called toric lenses. In addition to the three measurements needed for standard contact lenses, toric lenses have two additional factors that take the astigmatism into consideration.

Q: What are my options if I need bifocals?

A: If you wear bifocal eyeglasses, you don’t have to get lenses that have that traditional line trough the middle of them. Today’s eyeglasses can be manufactured so the lens gradually transitions to the bifocal without any noticeable line in the lens. If you wear contact lenses, there are a number of brands that offer bifocal contacts, as well. Your prescription will have one additional factor called an add power.
This article last updated on Thursday 14th October 2010
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