a pair of glasses on eye chart

Eyewear: Glasses and Contacts

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Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses have come a long way over the years. As the general population continues to age, more and more people are wearing glasses. Eyeglasses themselves have become fashion accessories. The variety of lenses on the market, meanwhile, has made consumer awareness more important. 

Materials

  • Glass is more durable and resistant to scratches, but less impact resistant.

  • Plastic lenses are thinner and lighter, more impact resistant, but scratch more easily.

  • Polycarbonate is like plastic, but even more impact resistant.

Types

  • Unifocal

  • Bifocal

  • Invisible bifocals

  • Progressive lenses

  • Trifocal or multifocal

  • High index (thinner lenses for strong prescriptions)

  • Photochromatic or light sensitive

  • Safety lenses

  • Tinted lenses can be functional, fashionable, or both.

  • Sunglasses soften indoor or outdoor light. Lens tints can be uniform or gradient, lightening gradually from top to bottom.

Chemical coatings serve many purposes: anti-scratch coating minimizes lens abrasions; anti-reflective coating eliminates frustrating reflective glare; metallic or mirrored coating is popular with sunglasses; and UV coating blocks solar ultraviolet radiation.

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Contact Lenses

Contact lenses have long been the corrective choice for people who prefer not to wear eyeglasses. For particularly active people, eyeglasses may not be the most appropriate solution.

These small plastic lenses require greater responsibility for those who wear them. Your optometrist can specify for you the precise cleaning and care requirements of your contact lenses. They can also provide a complete fitting and consultation, allowing you to choose between a variety of contact lens styles. The provincial Medical Services Plan (MSP) does not provide coverage for contact lens therapy, although there are some medical exceptions. Your optometrist will inform you of any charges that may apply to your contact lens-related visits.

Materials

Soft contact lenses are easy to wear, particularly for the first-time wearer, coming in a range of disposable options from one day to one year—your optometrist can recommend the best one for you.

Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses are more durable and may provide sharper vision, but since they are not water permeable, they may be more difficult to wear.

Ortho-Keratology is a treatment for myopia involving a progression of rigid contacts designed to alter the shape of the cornea and eventually reduce the wearer’s nearsightedness.

Types

Extended wear lenses can be worn overnight and continuously for up to one month (with the latest lens materials available), but require more attentive care to prevent infection and related extended wear problems.

Disposable lenses are the most common, and are discarded after a specified length of time—reduced cleaning time, costs and healthier eyes are among the benefits.

Toric lenses are specially curved lenses designed to correct astigmatism.

There are a variety of other types, including coloured, novelty and UV-blocking lenses, and lenses for astigmatism and bifocal needs.

Pools and Hot Tubs

Water recreation is a great way to relax and exercise, but it’s no place to forget about your eyes. No matter how well they’re maintained, pools and hot tubs contain human bacteria. If you’re not careful, eye infections can impair vision.

When you’re in a pool, wear a snug pair of swimming goggles. Also be careful when wearing contact lenses in water environments.

In hot tubs there is a particular bacteria risk. Ensure that you keep your eyes out of the water, or provide yourself with a thorough shower rinsing afterwards.

Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a disease of the eye in which, slowly over time, the cornea becomes distorted.

Symptoms may not be obvious, as they are vision and eye health conditions themselves, such as light sensitivity, nearsightedness and astigmatism. It is not clear how keratoconus may develop, although heredity may play a role.

Since keratoconus is a progressive disease, appropriate treatment varies over time. Simple correction may suffice at an early stage, followed by rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, and eventually a cornea transplant.

All content is provided for education and information, and is no substitute for the advice of your optometrist. This information is provided courtesy of the British Columbia Association of Optometrists (B.C.A.O.). The B.C.A.O. assumes no responsibility or liability arising from any errors or omissions or from the use of any information contained herein.

Contact Dr. Deane T. Gerry, Optometrist to book your appointment today!

Dr. Deane T. Gerry, Optometrist

360 Seymour Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2G2

Phone: 250-374-2464

Toll-free: 1-888-288-6188

Hours

Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Saturday and Sunday


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