Diabetes and contact lenses
The debate about the merits of “conventional lenses” versus “contact lenses”, has lasted for years. Currently, whichever you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
Conventional lenses are usually more suitable for children under 12, because they still aren’t ready to deal with proper cleaning and care contact lenses require.
There are 3 types of contact lenses: hard, soft and permeable gas.
Hard contact lenses are in some cases a good alternative; they are cheaper, quite durable and many people see better with these lenses. Sometimes, small prescription adjustments can be done in the lens itself, saving the patient from having to buy a new pair of contact lenses. When hard lenses need to be cleaned or removed, they can be very annoying, but this is far from being a disadvantage, it’s a great benefit. One of the disadvantages of soft contact lenses is that they are so comfortable that they can disguise or hide early signs of eye problems which can culminate in more severe problems. With hard contact lenses however, you’ll know right away when something is wrong. Patients need an adaptation process to use hard contact lenses. During the first and second week a lens schedule is defined until they can used them without discomfort. If this type of lens isn’t used for more than two days, the eyes have to readjust to the lens again, which is why if you wear hard contact lenses, you can’t do it intermittently.
Soft contact lenses are comfortable, they are moderately priced and can be used intermittently however they also have disadvantages. Because this type of contact lens molds to the surface of the cornea, it can’t correct structural problems such as astigmatism, where the defect is caused by the shape of the cornea; also soft contact lenses are more difficult to handle. They also need to be replaced more often (every 6-18 months) and must be carefully cleaned and sterilized to prevent serious infections.
Permeable gas lenses may seem like a good alternative for people who have problems with hard and soft contact lenses. Many people who can’t tolerate hard lenses can, over time, use permeable gas lenses comfortably. In addition, this type of lenses can correct problems almost as effectively as hard contact lenses. This type of lens however, is more expensive and requires special attention in terms of cleanliness. Although extended period contact lenses (several days) are designed for this purpose, they increase the risk of eye damage if left for too long without cleaning them properly, and can also lead to intolerance. Many ophthalmologists don’t recommend this type of lens for people with Diabetes due to the increased risk of infection.