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Are you considering contact lenses? Which so many types on the market, it can be hard to know which lenses to choose. Here's an overview of different lenses and their pros and cons.

Contact lenses are a wonderful alternative to glasses. Not only may people who have been wearing glasses for ages prefer the way they look without glasses, they'll also be amazed to find they can see clearly even when they look up or down, and they won't have to battle condensation in winter or when cooking anymore. With more types of lenses on the market than ever before, deciding which lenses to get can be quite the task, however. We're here to help you out. 

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Soft Contact Lenses

Soft lenses, the most popular type of lenses worldwide, are used to correct a variety of vision issues. They include myopia or nearsightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness, astigmatism (blurred vision), and even presbyopia, the age-related inability to see nearby items (the problem most people use reading glasses for). Soft lenses, you may be surprised to hear, come in a wide range of varieties. Let's look at them all. 

Daytime lenses are the most well-known and least expensive option, generally speaking. You wear these lenses during the day, but remove and store them at night. These lenses should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. These lenses are used for various lengths of time: they can be monthly, bimonthly, and even yearly.

The instructions for these lenses should always be followed carefully. Do not sleep with them, and make sure to discard them after wearing them for the prescribed length of time. 

Extended-wear lenses can be worn while sleeping too, though your ophthalmologist may advise you to take them out daily anyway, because there is still an increased risk of infection. Users of extended-wear lenses may find it especially convenient that they are able to go to the bathroom at night without putting glasses on, or can nap on a plane or train without removing their lenses. Extended-wear lenses have to be removed and cleansed at least once a week. 

Disposable lenses are ideal for people who are new to wearing lenses, and are sometimes described as being an especially great option for teens. Daily disposable lenses don't have to be cleaned and disinfected at all. They are simply used and then thrown away. These lenses are, however, expensive compared to other types of lenses. 

Caring For Soft Lenses

Your ophthalmologist will give you detailed instructions on inserting, removing and caring for your new soft lenses the first time you get a prescription. You will usually practice these skills at your optician's and will only be able to take your lenses home once you can demonstrate that you have mastered them.

In short, here's the regime you can expect with soft lenses.

To prepare for inserting your lenses, wash your hands carefully and make sure they are dry. Use a paper towel to ensure your hands stay clean. Then, place the lens at the tip of the index finger of your dominant hand, and hold your eye open with the other hand. Gently place the lens on your eye, and slowly remove the index finger. Close your eye, open again, and you're done.

Removing lenses follows a similar routine: wash your hands and dry them. Slide the lens down to the lower part of your eye and, using your thumb and index finger, gently squeeze the lens. Remove it. 

Any lens that isn't disposable will also need regular cleaning and disinfecting. Use a lens fluid recommended by your ophthalmologist, suitable for your lenses. Place at least three drops of the solution on your lens, and rub it gently for around 20 seconds to remove deposits. Then rinse the lens with a generous amount of lens fluid, on both sides. Place both your lenses in a clean contact lens container with fresh lens fluid. Soak for at least four hours. 

Note: Never, ever be tempted to use tap water to clean or store your lenses!!! Lens fluid may be pricey, but you do not want an acanthamoeba infection that can make you blind, and this is a very real risk.
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