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Contact lenses are miraculous pieces of plastic that allow you to see without glasses. In most cases, contact lenses are used as a substitute for glasses, allowing you to dispense with them. Contact lenses may also be used to treat certain eye diseases or may be used for cosmetic purposes to change the apparent color of your eyes.
Soft lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are the main lenses available. Each has specific indications as well as a specific wear and care regimen. The older hard (PMMA) lenses are rarely used today and have risks similar to RGP lenses. There are larger scleral lenses available for special eye conditions.
Contact lenses are mainly used to avoid having to wear glasses in conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism or to avoid the use of bifocals (multifocal lenses).
They may also be used to treat other conditions. Keratoconus is a condition in which the surface of the eye has a very irregular shape (astigmatism). When glasses no longer provide adequate vision, contact lenses are used.
Contact lenses are often used after refractive surgery when under- or over-corrections occur. After surgery, and in some cases of eye diseases of the cornea, bandage soft contact lenses may be used to allow the cornea to heal or may be used to alleviate pain.