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Contact lenses are lenses placed on the eye, usually to correct eye disorders like myopia. They are also used for cosmetic purposes to change the appearance of the person or therapeutic purposes when there is an eye infection. Many people prefer to wear contact lenses instead of spectacles, for aesthetic reasons. If contact lenses are not worn properly, they can cause irritation or infection of the eye.

There are different types of contact lenses available, which can be used for varying periods of  time and are priced accordingly. The type of lenses used varies from country to country. In most countries, corrective contact lenses can only be prescribed by qualified eye doctors, optometrists or opticians. The 2 main types of contact lenses available are:

1. Soft contact lenses which are flexible, gel like and conform to the shape of  the eye. Most users adjust to these lenses quickly. Most users have daily use contact lenses, which are worn in the morning and removed at night. They should not be worn while sleeping and usually last for a year. Disposable lenses can be thrown away after wearing them once.

2. Gas permeable contact lenses allow more oxygen to pass through to cornea compared to soft lenses, reducing the possibility of  corneal irritation. They are made of harder plastic material which does not contain water, so some users take a longer time to adjust to these lenses. They are less likely to cause an infection in the cornea and usually last for two to three years. For many eye disorders, only gas permeable lenses can be used. These lenses can slip off the eye more easily and are not recommended for sports activities.

Using contact lenses, involves some amount of risk, since the amount of oxygen available to the cornea is reduced. To reduce infection, wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling the contact lenses. Replace the lenses as recommended.

Take proper care of the lenses. Sometimes, even recommended contact lens solutions do not stop bacterial and fungal growth on soft lenses. So if  you are feeling uncomfortable wearing the lenses, contact a doctor immediately.

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