Here is a quick glossary of contact lens terminologies to help any newcomers to contacts understand all the lingo, and maybe a few of us old heads remember some of the things we’ve forgotten.
Top Lens Lingo
A space between the iris and cornea filled with aqueous humor. Glad we could clear that up for you.
Goo, basically. A transparent, gelatinous fluid with a similar texture to plasma to be more precise. So yeah, it’s goo.
Cleaning solution is a solution used to clean contact lenses. I know, I know, I’m still trying to get my head around it as well. Truth be told, it is a very special liquid (hence the term ‘solution’) as lenses should never be washed with ordinary tap water which can contain germs and certain bodies you don’t want festering between your eyeball and a contact lens. Also see Saline Solution.
Colored Contact Lenses
Also referred to as cosmetic contact lenses, wear these to completely change the color of your eyes or to give them a spooky effect. Color contact lenses can make costumes for fancy dress or Halloween parties really come alive.
The transparent front of the eye covering the iris, pupil and anterior chamber, which helps to refract light should you ever need a bit of light refracted.
Daily Wear Lenses
Lenses specifically designed to be worn all day and removed at night to be placed in some of that mind-bending cleaning solution for safe keeping.
You wear them once and then kick them to the kerb like some low down dirty dawg who just don’t respect you. You go, girl. (Are we still saying that?)
Dry Eye Syndrome
Otherwise known as ‘tough guy eye’ because it’s caused by the eye not producing enough tears and thus drying out. Cry baby wimps hardly ever get this problem and contact lens wearers can be particularly susceptible to it because they’re extremely tough and strong and something about the lenses drying out the eye or whatever.
Extended Wear Lenses
Lenses you can wear while sleeping thus negating the need to remove them each night. Most types can be worn for about a week before removal though there are some brands which will go for 30 days or so before you remove them.
Being farsighted isn’t as exciting as it sounds, and simply means you struggle to focus on nearby objects (hence you are far-sighted, as you can only focus on stuff far away). It’s caused by light rays not focusing properly by the time they reach the retina because the eyeball is too short and fat.
Hard Contact Lens
Originally the name of the first ever type of contact lens, which while functional also starved the eye of oxygen. That kind of lens is obsolete now, and the term is more widely used to refer to Rigid Gas Permeable lenses, further detail of which is not alphabetically appropriate to discuss here.
The hoity-toity term for farsightedness, which I’ve already explained has nothing to do with being able to divine the future. It just means you’ve got a short, fat eyeball. Sorry.
This is the colored area of your eye, usually brown, blue, green, hazel, gray or sometimes a little bit of everything. It regulates the pupil to let in or shut out light.
Another term fancy people use, this time for nearsightedness, which I’m alphabetically obligated to explain in the next paragraph.
Instead of a short, fat eyeball, you have a long, lanky one. All it really means is that the light rays focus before they reach the retina, which somehow results in a difficulty to focus on far away objects. Far away objects are far away though, so screw ‘em.
As well as being the ultimate nightmare for a lisp sufferer, ophthalmologists are eye specialist doctors. They have white coats and everything. They often diagnose and treat eye poblems and diseases, and even perform the surgeries to fix them. These guys and gals are the top rung on the ‘please fix my eye’ ladder.
These guys aren’t doctors, though they do generally know a thing or twenty about eyes. Their knowledge will be concentrated on the relationship between the eye and lenses in general. Many actually specialize in contact lenses specifically and end up even more qualified in dealing with specific contact lens issues than the opthas- optsssalom- opthamologsthth- them other ones.
The middle rung of eye care (it’s not the biggest ladder in the world, to be honest). They are proper doctors too, though they will not perform surgeries themselves but will engage more in pre-op and post-op care and a hell of lot of more besides.
The little black bit in the middle of your eye that gets really big when you talk to someone you find attractive. With the help of the iris, it regulates the amount of light that hits the retina.
At the back of the eye lurks a thin squib of tissue that receives the light rays, and thus image of what the eyes are looking at, which it then translates into electrical impulses and fires them off via optic nerves to the brain. And that’s how we see stuff.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
These are longer lasting lenses made from breathable plastic that is usually custom-shaped to the specific curve of the cornea. They are often referred to by the initials GP or RGP, because why not.
Saline solution is the more technical term for the contact lens cleaning solution in which contact lenses are cleaned and stored. It’s a sterile salt solution, so you don’t have to worry about it breeding.
Soft Contact Lenses
These are known for being more comfortable for anyone new to contact lenses. They are made from a more flexible gel-like plastic which contains water, though the amount of water will depend on the brand. They are also what colored contact lenses are made from.
A moistening solution which helps combat dry eye syndrome and eases the application of lenses in general. Wetting drops are advised when wearing contacts for any significant length time, especially during air travel or extended time outdoors.