Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses
The latest improvements to hit the contact lens market are silicone hydrogel contact lenses.
What is it about silicone hydrogel contact lenses that give them such capabilities?
It all comes down to the material that's used. Unlike standard Soft Contact Lenses which are made using a considerable amount of water, these contact lenses contain silicone.
Silicone is highly gas-permeable and as such it allows the free flow of ample amounts of oxygen through each of the lenses.
Such a flow ensures that the Cornea gets a continuous supply of oxygen which promotes a healthier eye.
When the cornea gets sufficient oxygen, the corneal epithelium is more likely to remain intact and that's necessary for ensuring clear and acute vision.
When the epithelium breaks down, microbial keratitis may become an issue.
These new lenses, because of their low water content, are also effective at keeping bacteria from adhering to the lens surface.
That greatly reduces the likelihood of a microbial infection.
Another benefit of these lenses is that because of their low water content, they are less likely to dry out after extended periods of wear.
This is not the case with standard soft contact lenses which regularly dehydrate and need constant replacement.
Plus, the plastic materials used in soft lenses are not gas permeable meaning that oxygen can only reach the cornea by passing through the water.
Since water is far less permeable than silicone, insufficient oxygen can become a problem.
The people who may benefit most from lenses made with silicone are those who prefer extended or continuous wear contact lenses.
Several contact lens manufacturers have come up with silicone hydrogel contact lenses that can be worn up to 30 days, day and night, without needing to be removed.
At the end of the 30-day period, the pair is thrown away and a new pair is inserted. Most brands using silicone, however, are still only approved for 7-day usage.
When comparing silicone contact lenses to other types of daily wear contact lenses, the benefits are not as noticeable.
There is minimal difference in comfort levels, but more importantly, only a few prescriptions are so far offered using the new silicone hydrogel materials.
That alone places a significant limitation on who is and is not a viable candidate for silicone hydrogel contact lenses.
If a person is comfortable with extended wear lenses, and has the correct prescription, silicone hydrogel contact lenses can be an affordable and safer alternative to undergoing Lasik eye surgery.
Lasik Surgery costs are in the range of $2,000 and that's per eye!
For many people, the procedure is unaffordable especially since most health insurance policies consider it to be Cosmetic Laser Eye Surgery and won't cover the costs.
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