Contact lenses have come a long way, and are appealing for the sight-impaired who want to give up their glasses for good. Looking for a pair? Here are the three main types of contact lenses, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Soft Contact Lens
As their name suggests, soft contact lenses are made of a flexible and soft gel-like material that bend to fit the shape of your eyeball. They offer better comfort and staying power, making them suitable for sports and outdoor activities.
Soft contact lenses come in single use, daily wear, and extended wear varieties. Single use lens are usable for only one day, and don’t require any cleaning at all, since you can just throw them away at the end of the day. However, they are the most expensive compared to other types of soft contact lenses.
Daily wear lens have a lifespan of a few weeks, and have to be removed before you go to sleep. Because they last longer than single use lens, daily wears are more cost-efficient. Unfortunately, they need to be cleaned regularly to avoid build up and reduce the risk of eye infection.
Extended wear lens also last a few weeks but unlike daily wears can be kept on at night. They are made of a special material that let the eyes “breathe”, allowing a certain amount of oxygen in. They’re also as cost-efficient as daily wears. Yet since extended wear lens are left on for longer periods, they carry and increased chance of buildup and infection.
Hard Contact Lens
Compared to their soft counterparts, hard contacts are smaller and more rigid. This means they take a while to get used to, and don’t fit as well, meaning the chance of the contacts falling off the eye is higher. Sometimes they can also slip off the center eye of the eye, causing blurred vision.
On the other hand, hard contact lenses also let oxygen in, which means a lower risk of infection, though they still need to be taken off at night before sleeping. One pair of hard contact lenses can last two to three years, provided they are properly maintained. They can also correct a wider set of visual problems more effectively than soft contact lens.
Specialized Contact Lens
Some unique visual problems require a more specialized approach, which is reflected in these kind of contact lens. Hybrid lens combine a hard center with a soft outer ring, and is used for eyes with irregular corneal curvature or that can’t “breathe” properly with hard contacts. Bifocal lens are just a pair with a different prescription for each side, and are used for those whose eyes need different kinds of visual corrections. Monovision contact lens also have differing prescriptions for either side, but are designed to correct the vision in both eyes so that they eventually “merge” into the final result.
It goes without saying that you should visit an opthalmologist or a similar eye care specialist to have your eyes properly measured. This will allow you to find a pair of contact lens that fits your eyeballs properly. The specialist can also educate you on proper use and maintenance, some of which is detailed below.
When using contact lens, keep the following rules in mind:
Minimize water contact: Remove your lens if you are submerging your head in water, such as in the swimming pool or bathtub.
Use the proper contact lens solution: Always go for a solution that’s recommended by your specialist. Don’t use solution that’s discolored.
Follow your specialist recommendation: Need to know if you have to remove the contact lens at night, how often to replace the contact lens case, and when to replace the lens themselves? Check with your specialist regularly, and follow his or her advice.