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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:31 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:31 pm

Contact lenses are optical devices made to fit over the cornea of your eye to change its refractive characteristics and improve vision. Wearing them is a highly individual experience, and you may love them, or you may not be able to wear them, no matter how hard you try. There are several advantages to wearing contacts over wearing glasses. The most obvious reason is cosmetic: many people don't like the way they look in glasses. Contact lenses can offer better sight. They move with your eye, allow a natural field of view, have no frames to obstruct your vision, and greatly reduce distortions. If you're nearsighted, when you wear a contact lens, the lens stays right on the cornea and moves when you move your eye, so you're always looking through its optical center, where there's virtually no visual distortion. With glasses, as you get away from the center of the lens, the lens has to be thicker around the periphery (per-RIFF-fer-ree), so it doesn't correct your vision as well, and the correction stops at the edge of the frame. With contacts, your vision is more natural and is almost true to size, while objects when you wear glasses may appear distorted in size and shape. Contact lenses don't fog up, and drops of rain, snowflakes, or mud won't splatter on them. With some types of contact lenses, you don't have to even take them on and off, as is required with glasses. They may be worn 24 hours a day, or even days at a time. Others are worn once and then discarded. One other advantage is that with some medical conditions, wearing contacts is the only way to get good sight.

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