Read these 14 Types of Contact Lenses Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Contact Lens tips and hundreds of other topics.
There are 3 basic types of contact lens materials: hard lenses, gas permeable lenses and soft lenses. Hard contact lenses are specailty lenses that are hardly ever prescribed today. Gas permeable contact lenses are small, rigid contacts that are excellent for individuals with astigmatism or very high prescriptions. Soft lenses, the most commonly prescribed lens, are flexible and generally the most comfortable type of lens for new contact lens wearers.
Recent developments of colored contact lenses with light filtering tints are enabling athletes to gain a performance advantage over their peers. These contacts come in a variety of light hues which mute certain colors and enhance others. This can be helpful in a variety of ways. For example, tennis players can purchase light filtering contacts which enhance the color yellow for greater visibility of the ball.
Contact your eye care professional for more information on these colored lenses.
Toric contact lenses can help patients with an astigmatism. Toric contact lenses are thicker on the bottom to keep them from rotating on the eye. Traditional contact lenses tend to rotate as the wearer blinks but the thicker bottom allows toric lenses to take advantage of gravitational forces to prevent the lenses from rotating on the eye. This is important because toric lenses have two different prescriptions to correct the vision of an eye with astigmatism.
Roughly 85 percent of those who wear contact lenses wear soft lenses, but there is still a need for hard contact lenses in a small percentage of the contact lens wearing population. Fortunately for those individuals, hard contact lenses have become much more comfortable than the original hard contacts that were developed in the 1960s.
The two types of hard contacts are polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contacts. The PMMA contacts consist of a stiff plastic while the RGP contacts combine other materials such as silicone with the plastic to form a lens which allows more oxygen to reach the eye. The increased flexibility combined with increased permeability makes RGP contacts much more comfortable than PMMA contacts.
Although hard contact lenses are much less widely used than soft contacts there are some situations which make the use of hard contacts necessary. These situations include:
• An astigmatism which cannot be corrected by a soft lens
• Allergies to elements used in soft contacts
• Individuals who have a propensity to produce excessive protein buildup
Silicone Hydrogels are approved for extended periods of wear because they are designed to allow plenty of oxygen to reach the surface of your eyes - That's the reason conventional eyewear can't be worn for such long periods, your eyes would become oxygen starved.
Silicone Hydrogels are a type of contact lens that are designed to be worn for an extended period. The Focus Night & Day is the only such lens currently available in the US. This lens can be worn, with your eye-doctor's approval, for up to 30 days continuously.
Most soft contact lenses are sufficiently permeable to maintain good eye health but not all hard contact lenses are permeable enough to allow for sufficient oxygen levels to reach the cornea. In the 1970s, a hard contact lens constructed of plastic mixed with silicone was introduced. This new contact lens was still hard but the use of silicone allowed for oxygen to penetrate the eye. These rigid gas permeable (RGP) contacts allowed those who were not candidates for soft contact lenses to enjoy eye correction without risking oxygen deprivation to the eye.
Extended wear contacts are contact lenses that are approved by the FDA for overnight wear. You still need to check with your doctor if this is safe for you - not everybody's eyes are suitable for overnight contact lens wear. Focus Night & Day Contact Lenses are one popular extended wear lens.
It is true soft contacts are beneficial in many situations but they are not recommended for everyone. The following situations are just a few examples of when even soft contact lenses may not be recommended:
• Those who work in an environment where they are exposed to chemicals which may adhere to the contacts
• Those with Sjogren's syndrome which includes symptoms of chronic dry eyes
• Those with arthritis who would have difficulty handling, cleaning and inserting the contacts
• Those with medical conditions such as diabetes, allergies or asthma which may make wearing contacts uncomfortable
• Those who are not willing to expend the energy to care for their soft contact lenses properly
Acuvue 2 Contact Lenses are one of the most popular brands and have been for some time. Acuvue Contacts are an affordable, quality lens that you can wear for 1-2 weeks. Acuvue 2 Contacts have an outstanding visual acuity which makes everything appear crisp. These lenses are great for the normal, everyday contact lens wearer.
The main difference between hard lenses and rigid semi-permeable lenses is rigid semi-permeable contacts allow oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye, while hard contacts do not allow oxygen to pass through the lens. Both types of lenses are ideal for those who require an inflexible contact lens which will help to reshape their cornea. Those with an astigmatism benefit most from a hard lens because the lenses have an orthokeratology effect in which a series of flatter lenses are used to achieve a desired cornea shape.
Many people, even those who do not require eye correction, like to wear colored contacts to create a different look for themselves. Colored contacts are available in both prescription and non-prescription; however, even when the contacts are not required for vision correction a prescription is still needed. This is necessary because the prescription defines the strength as well as the fit of the lenses. For this reason, a fitting should be done by an eye doctor to ensure the colored contacts do not damage your eye.