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A contact lens, or simply contact or CL, is a thin lens placed directly on the surface of the eye. CLs are considered medical devices and can be worn tocorrect vision, or for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons.[1] In 2004, it was estimated that 125 million people (2%) use CLs worldwide, including 28 to 38 million in the United States.[2] In 2010, worldwide CL-market was estimated at $6.1 billion, while the U.S. soft lens market was estimated at $2.1 billion.[3]Multiple scientists estimated that the global market would reach $11.7 billion by 2015.[3] As of 2010, the average age of CL wearers globally was 31 years old, and two thirds of wearers were female.[4]

People choose to wear CLs for many reasons.[5] Aesthetics and cosmetics are the main motivating factors for people who want to avoid wearing glassesor to change the appearance of their eyes.[6] Others wear CLs for functional or optical reasons. When compared with spectacles, CLs typically provide better peripheral vision, and do not collect moisture (from rain, snow, condensation etc.) or perspiration; this makes them ideal for sports and other outdoor activities. CL wearers can also wear sunglasses, goggles, or other eyewear of their choice without having to fit them with prescription lenses or worry about compatibility with glasses. Additionally, there are conditions such as keratoconus and aniseikonia that are typically corrected better with CLs than with glasses.[citation needed]

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