Contact lenses are one of the most versatile solutions for improving the vision of patients who have refractive eye problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness. Unlike glasses, they are worn directly on the surface of the eyes. This means that they don’t impact your appearance, you can wear non-prescription glasses over them as well as safety eyewear, and they are less likely to interfere in many days to day activities or hobbies.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that when it comes to contact lenses, there are only a couple of options to choose from. In fact, the design of contact lenses has continued to evolve and advance, and now there are more varieties of contact lens to choose from than ever before. It also means that there is very likely to be a type of contact lens to suit pretty much every patient and their individual eye needs.
The task of choosing the best contact lenses isn’t easy, and it’s important to select the right ones so that they sit securely, are stable, and don’t irritate your eyes. This is where your eye doctor comes in. Your professional will be instrumental in helping you to select the best contact lenses. Not only do they have the latest and most in-depth knowledge of eye conditions and their effects, but they also have extensive product knowledge when it comes to the different types of contact lenses. Used in combination, this information helps them to make an accurate recommendation as to the right contact lenses for you.
Another thing that will support their decision is the result of your contact lens exam. This is a secondary exam that is carried out in addition to your comprehensive eye exam. It is used to determine which prescription your contact lenses will need, as well as measuring various elements of your eyes to establish how curved your cornea is. This will give them a good indication as to which contact lenses might be best suited to you.
As we know, there are lots of different contact lenses to choose from. Some of the options that may be available to you could include any of the following:
Soft contact lenses. As their name suggests, these are made from fairly thin, soft plastic. They as gas permeable which means that they let oxygen pass through them and reach the surface of your eyes, which helps to make them comfortable and easy to wear.
Rigid, gas permeable lenses. Also known as RGP lenses, these are made from a material that is significantly more rigid than soft contacts. They allow oxygen to reach the eyes, but their unyielding design makes them easier to handle than soft contacts, and they usually last longer too. Being less flexible makes them particularly good for patients with astigmatism and other irregularities since they provide greater stability and prompt the eyes to develop a more even shape.
Bifocal contact lenses. Just like bifocal prescription lenses in glasses, bifocal contacts are recommended for patients who have trouble with both near and far vision. This is because the prescription within the contact lenses will contact both your near and distance prescriptions so that you can see clearly in all situations.
Specialty contact lenses. There are various types of specialty contact lenses, which are recommended for patients who have corneal or other eye abnormalities that will mean that regular contacts won’t be appropriate. Your eye doctor will be able to tell you if you will benefit from specialty contact lenses.
Disposable. As you’ve probably guessed, these contact lenses are called disposables because they are discarded after each wear. This enables the wearer to avoid the time-consuming effort of cleaning and storing them. Patients who choose disposables also have less chance of developing problems like infections, since they are not re-worn.
Extended wear. Extended wear lenses can be worn for between a week and a month without needing to be taken out. They are usually made from soft material so that enough oxygen can reach your eyes while you sleep. You may also hear of them referred to as continuous wear contact lenses since they don’t need to be taken out while you sleep.
If you would like to find out more about contact lenses or would like advice on choosing the best contact lenses for you, please speak to our expert eyecare team.