Contact lenses are the second most popular form of vision correction and countless people rely on them to help them to enjoy clear vision day to day. Although many people think of contact lenses as a single treatment, today there are many different designs of contact lenses, and a range of materials to choose from. This gives patients greater control over their vision than ever before. Even if you have tried contact lenses in the past and found them tricky to handle, uncomfortable to wear, or unable to provide you with the clarity of vision that you desire, it is worth being open-minded and considering them again. Today, there is a contact lens suitable for virtually every patient, and our dedicated eye care team at Look! Optometry will be delighted to help you find the contact lens that suits you best. In the meantime, here is what you need to know about the different types that are available.
If you have come across contact lenses before, you have almost certainly encountered the soft variety, which is the most common and popular. In fact, around 85% of all contact lenses are traditional soft lenses. These are made from a combination of soft plastic polymers and water and enable oxygen to pass through them and reach the surface of your eyes – something which can counteract dryness.
As you may have guessed from their name, most people find soft contact lenses comfortable to wear right away, without any transition period. They are also available in most prescriptions and designs, making them suitable for the vast majority of patients.
Also known as GP or RGP lenses, these are sometimes confused with the older-style, hard contact lenses because they are much more rigid than conventional soft lenses. While hard lenses are nearly never prescribed today, RGP lenses provide a good compromise. Their rigidity helps them to hold their shape when you wear them, which means that they provide sharper visual clarity than soft contacts. They are also easier to handle and more durable. Oxygen can pass through them too, and since they do not contain water, they attract fewer deposits onto the surface of the lens.
Despite all these benefits, it’s important to be aware that the rigidity of RGP lenses does mean that they are less comfortable – at least initially. It can take a few days or more for patients to get used to how they feel.
Unsurprisingly, disposable contact lenses are extremely popular among people with busy lifestyles and who do not want to spend time and effort cleaning their contact lenses at the end of each day. Instead, these lenses are worn and then discarded on either a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly basis, depending on which type you choose. As well as being low-maintenance and highly convenient, disposable contact lenses are also a great choice for patients with allergies. This is because, over time, deposits can accumulate on the surface of the lenses, even with cleaning. These deposits can contain allergens that can irritate your eyes and make allergy symptoms worse. They can also affect the health of your eyes and your vision.
Do you often fall asleep with your contact lenses still in? Do you work shifts and don’t know whether you are coming or going with your contact lenses? Extended wear contact lenses may be the best variety for you. They are made from rigid gas permeable or soft material and can be safely worn for up to 30 days of continuous wear. There is no need to remove them at night, although sleeping in them will increase your risk of developing infections, corneal ulcers, or other complications. Speak to our Look! Optometry team to find out if you are a suitable candidate for extended wear contact lenses.
Toric lenses are a special type of contact lens and are recommended for people who have astigmatism. This is because they have one vertical power and one horizontal power, along with being weighted at the bottom which helps them to positioned correctly in the eye. Toric lenses are available in both soft and gas-permeable material.
Just like bifocal glasses, bifocal lenses have more than one power so that the wearer can have clear vision at both near and far distances. Alternatively, patients can opt for monovision correction, which is where vision in one eye is corrected for close distances and the other is corrected for distance vision. Unsurprisingly, both types of contact lenses require careful fitting by our Look! Optometry team.
If you have ever wanted to change the color of your eyes, you will be pleased to know that tinted contact lenses are widely available, enabling you to have the eye color you desire. As well as changing your eye color, there are also lenses with interesting patterns that can transform the appearance of your eyes. However, it is important to be aware that cosmetic contact lenses aren’t available in all prescriptions and shouldn’t be used every day, but instead for occasional wear.
Find out more about the different types of contact lenses, contact Look! Optometry in Manhattan Beach, CA at (310) 796-5665.