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We have listed the most common terms to help you understand the contact lens and general eye care terminology that can be used by your eye care provider.
Aged-Related Macular Degeneration: the breaking down of the macula, the back portion of the retina that is responsible for clear vision.
Amblyopia: a condition in which there is loss of vision for no apparent reason; the eye appears healthy, but vision is poor. This is also commonly known as "lazy eye".
Anisometropia: difference in the refractive error of the eyes, e.g.. one eye is nearsighted and the other farsighted.
Aphakic Lenses: a lens designed to meet the needs of patients that have had their crystalline lens removed due to the development of cataracts.
Aspheric Lenses: a premium contact lens for borderline astigmatic patients and emerging presbyopes.
Astigmatism: when the lens surfaces, either on the very front of the eye or inside the eye, are curved irregularly like an oval (football) instead of a sphere (baseball).
Bifocal Lenses: also known as multifocal lenses, contain two or more kinds of correction by providing the wearer with simultaneous distant and near vision.
Cast Molding: a lens manufacturing technique where lens material is poured into a mold.
Cataracts: the clouding of part or all of the lens inside the eye, causing blurred or distorted and loss of vision.
Color Blindness: diminished ability to perceive differences in color, usually for reds and greens, rarely for blues and yellows.
Conjunctivitis: also commonly referred to as pink eye or red eye, the inflammation of the membrane that covers the eyelid’s inner surface.
Contact Lens Cleaners and Disinfectants: soft lenses are easily contaminated by bacteria and microorganisms. Regular cleaning and disinfection keeps them free of organisms and minimizes the risk of ocular sensitivity reactions.
Conventional Wear Contact Lenses: a contact lens prescribed to be replaced after 12 months or as directed by the eye care practitioner.
Coordinated field of movement : With a coordinated field of movement, the eyes work together and move in the same direction. If the eyes are not aligned properly and send different images to the brain, the brain will have to ignore one of the images.
Cornea: the clear front surface of the eye that provides a large percentage of the eye’s optical power . The cornea consists of five layers and covers the iris and pupil.
Corneal Dystrophy: abnormal corneal development resulting in structural or clarity defects. Also known as degeneration, this condition commonly occurs in early childhood, but can manifest in later years.
Crystalline Lens: a transparent body in the front of the eye that serves to focus light rays on the retina.
Custom Toric Contact Lenses: corrects mid to high levels of astigmatism and is generally manufactured on an Rx basis specifically for a particular individual.
Daily Wear Contact Lenses: these lenses are intended to be worn during waking hours (less than 24 hours) and cleaned and disinfected each time they are removed from the eye.
Disposable Contact Lenses: these lenses are prescribed for daily or extended wear and are for single use only. No cleaning or disinfection is necessary, the lenses are simply removed, discarded and replaced with a new lens as prescribed by your eye care practitioner.
Enzyme Cleaning: a disinfecting process that removes the build up of protein deposits.
Extended Wear Contact Lenses: these lenses are indicated to be worn while sleeping for 1-7 days between removals for cleaning and disinfecting.
Farsightedness: a condition in which the eyeball is too short or the cornea is too flat, resulting in the inability to see objects up close. The medical term for this condition is hyperopia.
Finished Inside Polymerization System (FIPS™): a contact lens manufacturing technique involving precision machining the back surface geometry of a lens onto a hardened stainless steel insert
Glaucoma: an ocular condition in which the intraocular pressure increases resulting in damage to the optic nerve and subsequent loss of vision.
Hard Contact Lenses: also known as PMMA lenses, these traditional lenses are made from polymethylmethacrylate.
Hydrophilic Polymers: a plastic that has been designed to hold water. This attribute makes the "water loving" plastics comfortable to wear and assist with the transfer of oxygen from the atmosphere to the corneal surface.
Hyperopia: also referred to as farsightedness, this is a condition in which the eyeball is too short or the cornea is too flat, resulting in the inability to see objects up close.
Infections Of The Eyes: bacteria, viruses, and fungi are among the causes of inflammation. Every area of the eye is susceptible to attack by a large variety of organisms.
Iris: the colored portion of the eye that regulates the amount of light entering the eye by changing the size of the pupil.
J-1: the line on an eye chart that determines whether or not the patient needs glasses or contact lenses for reading.
Keratoconus: a disease in which the cornea tends to grow forward, like a cone. Keratoconus can only be corrected by wearing a contact lens.
Lathe Cutting: a manufacturing technique by which the back surface geometry of the lens is shaped by precision machining.
Laser : an instrument that transforms an intense beam of light into heat. This instrument is used in many eye operations, including corneal refractive surgery (PRK).
Lazy Eye: referred to in the medical field as amblyopia, it is a condition in which there is loss of vision for no apparent reason; the eye appears healthy, but vision is poor.
Metafilcon: a hydrophilic material used to produce contacts that are highly durable, comfortable to wear and easy to handle.
Monovision: is a contact lens fitting technique where one lens is prescribed for distance and the other for close-up vision. Both eyes work together to bring objects into focus. Your brain must interpret images you see and learns to select the sharpest image.
Multifocal Lenses: also known as bifocal lenses, contain two or more kinds of correction by providing the wearer with simultaneous distant and near vision.
Myopia: also known as nearsightedness, this inherited and sometimes stress-related condition occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved. The result is an inability to see at a distance.
Nearsightedness: an inherited, sometimes stress-related condition that occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved. The result is an inability to see at a distance. The medical term for this condition is myopia.
Non-Specialty Spherical Contact Lenses: correct the most common visual requirements. Most are manufactured by cast molding, but some are by lathing.
Ophthalmologist: The Ophthalmologist has the degree Doctor of Ophthalmology (M.D.) and is a primary and secondary, medical/surgical eye care provider. He/she has completed four years of college, four years of medical school and at least two years, (often more), of residency and internships relating to the diagnosis and treatment, including surgery, of diseases of the eye. Some ophthalmologists specialize in treating very specific eye problems. These include the treatment of retina and corneal diseases. Ophthalmologists may also perform intricate surgical procedures including cataracts removal and crystalline lens transplants and various repairs and therapies utilizing lasers. In some locales, they also provide vision examinations and may dispense contact lenses and eyeglasses. Ophthalmologists may practice as individuals in private or group practices and may be associated with medical clinics or PPOs (preferred provider groups).
Optic Nerve: the two sensory nerves that join the eyes with the brain.
Optometrist: The Optometrist has the degree Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and is a primary vision care specialist. He/she has completed four years of college and a four year doctorate program. The course of study includes basic medical anatomy and pharmacology and specific courses relating to the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eyes and vision system. Since at least the 1970¹s, the education of optometrists has included the diagnosis and treatment of eye health problems. An optometrist can examine your eyes and related structures for health and vision disorders and treats vision problems with spectacle and contact lenses and exercises. In many locales, optometrists dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses. In most of the United States, (as of 4/1/95 all but nine states) Doctors of Optometry also may treat certain eye diseases. The scope of their practice (the type of eye diseases they may medically treat) varies from state to state. Optometrists may practice as individuals in private or group practices and may be associated with medical clinics or PPOs (preferred provider groups).
Optician: The optician is a person who has trained in the skills necessary to grind and shape glass and plastic materials to the optical powers as prescribed by an O.D. or M.D. Education consists of trade school and apprentiships. An optician many hold various certifications and licenses, which vary by state and country of practice. An optician is also the person who operates a facility which dispenses eyeglasses and other accessories. In some states and countries, they may also dispense contact lenses as prescribed by a doctor. In the United States and most elsewhere, they can not examine the eyes.
Orthokeratology: the use of contact lenses to change the shape of the cornea in order to correct refractive error.
Peripheral Vision: the ability to see to the left and the right of direct vision.
Pink Eye: medically known as conjunctivitis, it is the inflammation of the membrane that covers the eyelid's inner surface.
Planned Replacement Lenses: contact lenses that are replaced at regular intervals as determined by the eye care practitioner to avoid the build up of lens deposits which can affect vision and cause discomfort.
Polymers: a specific chemical component in the combination of chemicals that form the plastic that lenses are made from.
Premium Contact Lenses: offer value-added features such as deposit resistance or ultraviolet protection, exceptional visual results, custom parameters and colors.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK):  surgical procedure using an excimer laser to change the shape of the cornea.
Presbyopes: individuals that are diagnosed with one of the most common vision conditions, presbyopia.
Presbyopia: a visual condition, which becomes apparent in middle age, in which the loss of elasticity of the eye causes difficulty or inability to focus sharply for near vision.
Progressive Lenses: spectacle lenses that feature a continuous field of vision from up close to far away with no visible segment lines like traditional bifocal lenses.
Protein Deposits: a debris that is naturally produced by the eye.
Radial keratotomy: a surgical procedure in which incisions are made into the epithelium of the cornea to correct refractive error.
Retina: a multi-layered membrane that lines the eye and receives light rays and translates them into impulses and transmits these impulses to the brain. The impulses are then interpreted as a visual image.
Retinal Detachment: this is usually caused by the presence of a hole or tear in the retina which allows fluid to collect under the retina, thereby separating it from the intermediate coat of the eyeball.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses: manufactured from silicon or fluoro-silicon acrylate base material, these lenses are used for irregular eye prescriptions.
Saccades:are the abrupt voluntary shift in fixation from one point to another. When children are reading, this occurs as their eyes jump from word to word or from the end of one line to the beginning of another.
Saline Solution: a salt solution that is available preserved or preservative free. It is used as a rinse prior to disinfection.
Sclera : the white visible portion of the eyeball. The muscles that move the eyeball are attached to the sclera.
Soft Contact Lenses: these lenses are made from a flexible plastic know as a hydrogel. The lens becomes flexible as a result of absorbing approximately 40 to 70% its weight in water.
Specialty Lenses: corrects visual demands such as astigmatism or special ophthalmic disorders, also opaque lenses for cosmetic color enhancement. Manufactured by cast molding, lathing or by FIPS™, CooperVision’s patented combination of automated lathing and cast molding.
Spherical Aberration: occurs when a lens is ground perfectly spherical causing light rays to fall at different points on the macula where by a common focus can not be achieved.
Spherical Contact Lenses: contact lenses that correct nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia).
Stereopsis: the ability to perceive three dimensional depth
Tetrafilcon A: one of the most durable lens materials on the market, it produces a thinner, more comfortable lens with exceptional tear resistance. It also resists build up of protein deposits on the lens surface and requires little or no enzymatic cleanings.
Therapeutic Contact Lenses: this lens, also know as a bandage lens, is usually a large lens which blankets the cornea, retains its moisture and protects the surface of the cornea. Because the lens is well tolerated, it provides an effective and often times pain-relieving cover for the eye.
Toric Contact Lenses: there are two types of soft toric lenses. A back surface toric is a lens which has two curves on the back surface of the lens to provide an even surface on the uneven astigmatic cornea. A front toric has two curves on the front surface of the lens to correct the internal astigmatism of the eye.
Trifocal Lenses: lenses that correct vision for those with three focal lengths.
UltraSync™: a synchronized molding technique that produces completely finished edges and higher overall lens reproducibility.
Ultraviolet radiation: radiant energy with a wavelength just below that of the visible light. UV-c is the shortest wavelength at 200-280nm and is absorbed by the atmosphere before reaching the surface. Extremely damaging to living tissue. UV-b, a t 280-315nm is "burning rays" of the sun and is damaging to most living tissue. UV-a, at 315-400nm is "tanning rays" of the sun and is somewhat damaging to certain tissues. UV radiation has been described as a contributing factor to th e processes which result in ARMD and cataracts and causes exposure keratitis
Vergence:This involves the ability of the eyes to rotate toward or away from each other to remain focused on an object as it approaches or moves away.
Version: The ability to follow a slow moving target.  Also called tracking.
Vision therapy: (orthopedics, vision training, eye exercises) a treatment process for the improvement of visual perception and/or coordination of the two eyes for efficient and comfortable binocular vision.
Visual acuity: the clearness of vision which depends upon the sharpness of the retinal image
Visual field: the area or extent of space visible to an eye in a given position of gaze. There is a central visual field--that is directly in front of us, the target at which we are looking, and a peripheral visual field---that which we perceive in our "side vision". The fields of each eye partly overlap. We do not perceive the blind spots from each eye because the area that is missing in one eye is present in the other.
Water Content: the amount of water a soft hydrophilic lens material holds in terms of percent weight. Soft lenses are from 29% water by weight to 81% water by weight. More water translates to greater oxygen transmission through the lens material.
Contact Lens Terminology
  • How To Avoid Tearing Contacts
    Start With Correct Removal From Package / Vial

    Foil Packaged Contact Lenses
    • Shake the package to suspend the lens within its solution. 
    • Peel back the foil closure to reveal the lens. 
    • Swirl the package.  Occasionally, a lens may adhere to the inside surface of the foil.
    • Quickly pour the lens into the palm of your hand to remove the lens.  If the lens adheres to the bottom of the plastic package, rinse with saline and try pouring again.
    • Avoid scooping the lens from the package and never use tweezers or other tools to remove the lens.

    Vial Packaged Contact Lenses
    • Shake the vial, and quickly pour the lens into the palm of your hand. 
    • Rinse the container with saline to suspend the lens again if the lens sticks to the inner walls of the vial.
  • Proper Contact Lens Case Procedures
    • When removing the lens from its cleaning case carefully pour the lens and solution quickly into the palm of your hand and discard excess solution.
    • Use care when inserting your lenses into the case to ensure that you do not catch the edge when closing the lid.
    • Do not use fingernails to remove the lens from the case.
  • Cleaning Contacts To Reduce Tearing
    • Gently rub the contact lens when cleaning...you don't need to push.
    • When handling and cleaning a contact lens use the soft pad of your fingertip and never use your nails.  Please keep fingernails short.
    • During cleaning avoid repeatedly creasing the lens (folding and pressing the lens over on itself), as this will cause material stress and subsequent tearing.
    • Never clean a contact lens by rubbing between two fingers.  Always rub the lens surface back and forth with your index finger in the palm of your hand. 
    • Never rub the lens in a circular motion.  Never allow a contact lens to dry out.  It will deform and possibly tear. 
    • Always store the lens in saline solution.  If a lens happens to dry out, replace the lens with a new one.
    • Remember, don't try to unfold a folded lens with two hands/fingers. While applying solution, roll it open between you thumb and index finger.
  • Avoid Tearing A Contact Lens Upon Removal
    • Use rewetting drops to moisten the lens before removing it, if your eye feels dry or uncomfortable.
    • Do not attempt to remove your lens if it is dry without rewetting first with artificial tears or lubricating drops.
  • Dehydration Of A Contact Lens And Tearing
    • Never allow a contact lens to dry out.  It will deform and possibly tear. 
    • Always store the lens in saline solution.  If a lens happens to dry out, replace the lens with a new one.
    • Always store contact lenses at room temperature. 
    • Never store contact lenses in water since this will cause them to swell, put stress on the plastic, and subsequently tear them.
  • Living With Soft Contact Lenses
    Follow These Steps For Smart Contact Lens Wear
    If you are like most patients, there comes a time when its nice to have a reference check list of what to do certain situations when wearing soft contact lenses.
    Contact Lenses Direct cares about your eye health and hopes that you find the following tips useful for safe contact lens wear:
    Cleanliness Next To Godliness
    It starts by making sure you always wash your hands before handling contact lenses, especially before putting them on. More Information
    Tips: 1. Your lens case can build up mineral deposits so please replace them on a regular basis.
    2. Deposits can harbor bacteria and fungi.  After putting your lenses on, run the entire case under hot tap water and leave it open to air dry on a clean towel.
    3. Keep a spare, dry, contact lens case and some solution at work or school.
    4. If kept wet, lens cases sometime develop slippery patches of gray or brown around the lid or on the threads of the case.  This is a fungus.  If this happens, replace the old case.  Please leave them clean and dry during the day.
    5. To transport a case in a purse or gym bag, place them in zip lock bag.  More Information
    Do Not Let Soft Contacts Dry Out
    If you have problems at school or work and do not have solution (why not?) then put them in a paper cup with tap water.  Clean and disinfect it carefully before trying it again. Care For A Dehydrated Contact Lens There are two comprehensive products on the market that make lens care convenient, especially in an emergency.  ReNu (Bausch & Lamb) and Solo Care Plus (Ciba Vision)are widely available in drug stores internationally.  These products can clean and disinfect, and only a select few find these brands uncomfortable.  If you do, try the other brand.  If you are sensitive to a product, it will sting or make your eyes red, usually right away and every time you use it.  Afternoon and evening problems are not often solution sensitivity; more commonly a bad fit or dehydrating/drying contact lens. Chemical Disinfection of Contacts
    Keep multipurpose solutions in a locker or drawer at school or work and always fasten the cap on the bottle to prevent bacterial contamination.  Never use a solution that smells funny or unusual.  All eye solutions have expiration dates.  For many, there is good reason.
  • Contact Lenses and Eyedrops
    Contacts can make your cornea more "porous" (OTC redness drops can dilate your pupil when your cornea is scratched.

    If you are using eye drops for redness, allergy, glaucoma, or other eye problems, take your lenses out before using the drops, and wait at least fifteen minutes before inserting again.   Use only drops labelled for soft contact lenses.  If you wear contacts overnight, its normal to need a couple of drops in the morning, and many people sleep with a bottle by the bed.

    It is NEVER normal to need drops all day!

    Lubribating Eye Drops
    All aqueous drugs penetrate into spongy soft contacts, delivering several times the normal dose of medicine.  Other therapeutic drops are suspensions, mixtures of oil and water, that gum up your contacts.  Neither should be used while wearing contacts.  Ointments can be used outside the eye (on the lids), but contacts should never be used if you have to use an ointment.  Ointments containing steroids and should not be used around contacts without supervision.
  • Mascara And Contacts
    Mascara And Eye Shapes

    Ever wonder how to best apply mascara and makeup to highlight your eyes best features.  We have the shinny on just how to accomplish the feat of producing alluring drop dead gorgeous eyes. Follow our tips and see the amazing results that can be had to complement colored contact lenses.

    First we will show you what goes best when you want blue eyes. Switching color to violet eyes gives stunning results.  Not to be out done, green is much more than for St. Patrick's Day.  Shades of green invoke more than jealously but a passion than fires within.  For a complete switch, try hazel eyes as no one can resist puppy dog eyes.

    Almond Shaped Eyes

    • Use a thickening and lengthening mascara with denseley packed bristles.
    • Coat top and bottom, and concentrate on the outer corner to elongate the eye.

    Asian Eyes

    • Use a curl recipe with medium-width bristles.
    • To open up the eyes, do not apply as many coats.  Your goal is to separate and lengthen since lashes tend to be shorter.

    Deep Set Eyes

    • Use a curl recipe with medium-width bristles.
    • To open up the eyes, do not apply as many coats.  Your goal is to separate and lengthen since lashes tend to be shorter.

    Round Eyes

    • Medium brush and drier mix equals spiky look.
    • Concentrate on the lashes in the center, top and bottom, to emphasize shape.
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