Choosing The Right Contact Lenses
You want to wear contact lenses. You’ve probably heard a lot about the different types available today. You may even think you know what type of lens you want. But have you considered all your options?
With today’s technology, most people can wear contact lenses successfully. But no one can wear all types and designs. Your optometrist will recommend what will work for you based on your general health, eye health, vision and occupational needs and lifestyle. But, if you’re like most people, you’ll still have choices. Safe, comfortable, successful wear depends upon your making an intelligent decision together with your optometrist. So take time to review your contact lens options.
Look at The Types of Lenses
- Made of many different flexible water absorbing plastics that allow oxygen to pass through them to nourish the eye;
- Offer easy adaptation;
- comfortable wear almost from the start;
- ability to switch from contacts to glasses without experiencing any blurred vision;
- on and off wear without readaptation;
- close fit, making them less likely to dislodge or get dirt trapped under them.
- Soft lenses don’t correct all vision problems, may not provide the sharp vision some other lens types do and need replacement periodically as recommended by the optometrist
- Most popular contact lenses worn today.
RIGID GAS PERMERABLE (RGP) LENSES
- Made of different rigid or slightly flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through them;
- Offer sharp, crisp vision;
- ability to switch from contacts to glasses without experiencing blurred vision;
- correction for most vision problems;
- durability, with less frequent replacement than soft lenses;
- require a longer adaptation period and consistent wear to maintain adaptation
- Can be dislodged during active sports participation.
- RGP lenses are growing in popularity.
STANDARD HARD LENSES
- Made of tough inflexible plastic that does not permit oxygen to pass through them;
- With proper fit, oxygen goes around and under lens;
- Offers sharp vision;
- Greatest versatility in correcting vision problems;
- Most durability, lasting several years. But require longest adaptation period and almost daily wear to maintain adaptation;
- May cause temporary blurred vision when switching to glasses
- Can slip off the eyes and create cornea1 abrasions if worn too long;
- The oldest type of contact lenses, standard hard lenses are rarely prescribed today.
EXTENDED WEAR LENSES
- Many are soft lenses made of high water content plastics but RGP versions are also available
- Government approved for continuous wear for up to 30 days (soft lenses) or one week (RGP lenses) but eye health protection demands removal for cleaning and a night’s rest every week;
- Require three or four office visits a year for follow-up care and frequent replacement;
- Extended wear is rarely prescribed due to increased risks of eye infection and injury.
- Include toric soft lenses for high degrees of astigmatism; bifocals, available in daily wear lenses only; silicone lenses; and combination RGP/soft lenses.
- Available in soft, RGP, and extended wear lenses, some are light identification tints but many daily and extended wear soft lenses are darker to enhance eye color and others have clear centers surrounded by deep tints that change eye color.
Finding what’s right for you
Several factors go into determining which type of contact lens is right for you.
Your eyes. Your vision problem, lens prescription and eye health needs may limit your lens choices. Using the results of a thorough eye examination and contact lens evaluation, your doctor of optometry will advise you on these matters.
Your lifestyle. Gear your lenses to your activities. If you are athletic, consider soft lenses. Need the sharpest vision possible on the job? Try RGP lenses. Like camping? Travel a lot? Daily replacement lenses may be for you. Seek your optometrist’s advice.
Your personality. Impatient? Soft lenses have the shortest adaptation. Cost conscious? RGP lenses need less frequent replacement. Fashion oriented? Consider deep tinted soft lenses. Talk it over with Dr. Reeves.
Cost. Don’t base your decision on cost alone. You want the lens that is healthiest for your eyes and provides the best vision. Be wary of bargain prices. Be sure the price quoted covers a thorough diagnostic examination, the lenses, lens care kit, training on proper lens wearing and care procedures and unlimited scheduled follow-up visits over a specified time. Thorough care will pay off in years of safe and successful wear.
Your doctor of optometry is a skilled, concerned professional who offers a wide variety of types and brands of lenses, stresses long-term management care and is willing to discuss the contact lens options open to you. Together, you can determine just what contact lens is the best for you.