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Contact lenses: a look at the risks and recommendations

Thanks to the existence of contact lenses, it can sometimes be impossible to tell if someone has a visual impairment or not. These lenses can make huge differences to the lives of their wearers, providing a certain level of freedom that traditional glasses are unable to.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 41 million people in the US wear contact PC lenses.

While they might feel like a relatively modern invention, rigid contact lenses made from plastic were first manufactured in the US between 1938 and 1940. The soft contact lenses currently worn by an estimated 93% of contact lens wearers were first introduced in 1971.

On a personal level, I first started wearing them as a temporary measure when my declining eyesight made playing sports difficult. However, no longer having my vision affected by raindrops and fogging up (along with the boost in self-esteem that came from not wearing glasses) meant that contact lenses quickly became my main method of improving my vision.

But despite their prevalence and the benefits they can provide, many people (myself included) wear contact lenses in a way that can compromise eye health, increasing the risk of damaged corneas and infection from microbes.

This week has marked the second annual Contact Lens Health Week – a week organized by the CDC to increase public awareness and promote healthy wearing and caring of contact lenses. In this Spotlight, we take a brief look at a few of the “do’s and don’t’s” of contact wear. In addition, we will have a look at some of the interesting “can’s and can’t yet’s” of new contact lens innovations.

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