As more people discover the advantages of contact lenses, and with the persistence of the global need of vision care, the use of this form of vision correction is increasing around the world.

There are now in excess of 130 million contact lens wearers globally, but with more than 2 billion myopic people in the world to cater for now and a predicted 5 billion by 2050, the Brien Holden Vision Institute continues to strive for new innovations to treat eye conditions and making advances in the development of better contact lens products.

Contact lenses can now correct almost all eyesight problems including:

  • Myopia (short-sightedness)
  • Hyperopia (long-sightedness),
  • Astigmatism
  • Presbyopia (age-related reading problem).
Even with the many recent advances in spectacle lens technology and the rising popularity of surgical interventions such as laser eye corrections, the use of contact lens remains a safe, effective and inexpensive way of achieving clear comfortable vision for many people.

Contact lenses offer various benefits over spectacle wear and refractive surgery. Compared to spectacles, contact lenses enable more ease of wear during sports and leisure activities by providing a wider field of view, less chance of dislodgement, less susceptibility to fogging, slipping off the face due to sweating, and dirt. Contact lenses also allow sunglasses and protective eyewear to be worn on top without any hassle.
In addition to the obvious benefits of offering natural peripheral vision and enhancement of appearance, in some cases, contact lenses may also offer better visual acuity. It has been found that optimal vision correction offered by contact lenses can improve performance in some elite athletes.

Breakthrough contact lens materials

Contact lens practice has come a long way since the prescribing of the very first contact lenses, made out of the non-oxygen permeable and rigid PMMA material, over forty years ago.

The ongoing advances in technology have allowed contact lenses to be increasingly comfortable, more breathable, and able to be worn for longer periods of time with minimal complications of the eye.

Contact lenses are now soft and easy to adapt to. They come in frequent replacement and daily disposable modes of wear, which reduces the risk of infection and
other adverse ocular events by minimising lens deposits, lens contamination, and general lens wear and tear.

The development of the silicone hydrogel material which is highly oxygen permeable (a breakthrough achievement of the Institute and its partners), allows lenses to be worn for long hours and still keep the eyes healthy and clear.

If the lens cleaning regime is adhered to, lenses are being replaced as they should be and regular eye tests undertaken with an optometrist, contact lenses are a safe and convenient way of obtaining good vision.

Benefits for children

Several studies1-3 have shown that children and adolescents significantly benefit from the use of contact lenses when compared to spectacle wearers, by improving self-esteem and vision related quality of life. There are many reports4-7 of successful contact lens wear among children and adolescents. It has been shown that children aged 12 or younger are comparable to those who were fitted with lenses during their teens in terms of satisfaction, compliance and ease of fit2.

With proper training from qualified optometrists and under the supervision of parents, children can be equally successful contact lens wearers in the long term. Studies2,8,9 show that children involved in recreational activities such as sports and dance, children who are motivated to wear contact lenses and those who do not like their appearance with glasses, will benefit most from contact lens wear.

Many children may delay their vision correction or tolerate blurry vision due to a lack of confidence in their appearance in glasses.
Clear comfortable binocular vision is essential for good reading comprehension and an effective learning experience. Contact lenses enable clear vision without the negative perceptions about appearance the some associate with spectacle.

Studies10,11 have also shown that special design contact lenses which effectively manipulate the peripheral vision can slow down the progression of myopia. There is growing evidence that contact lenses are a more effective way of retarding myopic progression than spectacle wear. However, much work is needed. The Brien Holden Vision Institute has been working on this exciting area of development, envisioning contact lens as an important myopia control strategy in the near future.

Foreseeing the many potential benefits that contact lenses may further bring to people in need of vision correction around the world, Brien Holden Vision Institute is continuing to lead research and further development in contact lens technology.


  1. Walline, J.J., et al., Randomized trial of the effect of contact lens wear on self-perception in children. Optom Vis Sci, 2009. 86(3): p. 222-32.
  2. Walline, J.J., et al., Benefits of contact lens wear for children and teens. Eye Contact Lens, 2007. 33(6 Pt 1): p. 317-21.
  3. Terry, R.L., P.S. Soni, and D.G. Horner, Spectacles, contact lenses, and children's self-concepts: a longitudinal study. Optom Vis Sci, 1997. 74(12): p. 1044-8.
  4. Walline, J.J., et al., Contact Lenses in Pediatrics (CLIP) Study: chair time and ocular health. Optom Vis Sci, 2007. 84(9): p. 896-902.
  5. Jones, L.A., et al., Purchase of contact lenses and contact-lenses-related symptoms following the Contact Lenses in Pediatrics (CLIP) Study. Cont Lens Anterior Eye, 2009. 32(4): p. 157-63.
  6. Jones, D.C.f.C.L.R., University of Waterloo, Canada, Acceptance of children and teens to contact lens wear, in British Contact Lens Association Conference 2012: Birmingham, UK.
  7. Soni, P.S., et al., Will young children comply and follow instructions to successfully wear soft contact lenses? CLAO J, 1995. 21(2): p. 86-92.
  8. Rah, M.J., et al., Vision specific quality of life of pediatric contact lens wearers. Optom Vis Sci, 2010. 87(8): p. 560-6.
  9. Walline, J.J., et al., The Adolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment (ACHIEVE) study design and baseline data. Optom Vis Sci, 2006. 83(1): p. 37-45.
  10. Sankaridurg, P., et al., Decrease in rate of myopia progression with a contact lens designed to reduce relative peripheral hyperopia: one-year results. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2011. 52(13): p. 9362-7.
  11. Kang, P. and H. Swarbrick, Peripheral refraction in myopic children wearing orthokeratology and gas-permeable lenses. Optom Vis Sci, 2011. 88(4): p. 476-82.