Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hydrogel lenses help eyes breathe.

New Straits Times

 | April 19, 2009
 | Copyright
Byline: Dr Haliza Abdul Mutalib
YOU can sleep with it and you can wear it for up to 30 days. No wonder eye care practitioners are calling silicone hydrogel lenses the "miracle invention".
Suitable for all, even babies and the elderly, these lenses have become the first choice for eye care practitioners since it was introduced in Malaysia in 2000.
Optometrists are using it for babies who had gone for cataract surgery and children with very high refractive errors, in which wearing glasses may be unsuitable. The handicapped and elderly also benefit since the lens can be worn for extended hours without excessive handling of the lens.
The silocone hydrogels, with up to six times more oxygen transmissibility than traditional hydrogel contact lenses, allow the eyes to "breathe". They can also be worn continuously for 30 days.
Eye care practitioners are recommending silicone hydrogel lenses because they are comfortable, promote eye health, minimise lens deposits and can be worn for a longer periods.
Compared to traditional soft lenses which provide an oxygen transmissibility of around 30 dk/t, the silicone hydrogel lens provides a high oxygen transmissibility up to 175 dk/t, well above the recommended level of 125 dk/t for overnight wear.
The lens being so permeable to oxygen from the environment that you can wear them even while you are asleep.
Because of its high oxygen permeability, silicone hydrogel lenses are also used by practitioners for therapeutic reasons. For patients experiencing certain painful eye diseases where the growth of eye tissue is disrupted, silicone hydrogel lenses promote epithelium growth and act as a bandage to help heal the cornea.
Air Optix Aqua lenses, for instance, are designed to bring the advantages of high oxygen transmissibility lenses to a wider market.
Practitioners have noticed a marked reduction in symptoms of end-of-day dryness and increase in general awareness among wearers who switched to these lenses from traditional soft lenses. Patients have showed a dramatic improvement in wearing time and less redness generally associated with long wearing times of traditional soft lenses.
Patients who switch to silicone hydrogel lenses also have clearer, whiter and healthier eyes.
Generally, they hydrogel lenses are suitable especially for those who have to be up and about until very late at night, such as doctors and nurses and also nursing mothers.
* Associate Professor Dr Haliza Abdul Mutalib is the head of the Department of Optometry at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. This article is brought to you by Ciba Vision. For more information, call 03-79562828 or

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