What are the different types of contact lenses?

There are several different types of contact lenses available in the market today. These cover different materials and properties to suit the needs of all users. Before you see your optician for contact lenses, it may help you to know the range of choices available for you. This information can help you make the right choice for your contact lenses in terms of your comfort and budget.

The two basic types of contact lenses are soft contact lenses and hard contact lenses.

Soft contact lenses are thin and very comfortable to wear. Made from a plastic material called hydrogel, these lenses are the most popular in use. You can buy soft lenses to correct your vision due to conditions like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (blurry vision due to change in the eye curvature) and even presbyopia (age-related loss of near vision). Soft lenses come in many varieties such as daily disposable lenses, two-weekly disposable, monthly disposable, extended-wear use and colored lenses.

Daily disposable lenses offer a lot of comfort to the user in terms of cleaning and maintenance. Designed to wear for a day only, with this contact lens type, you don’t need to bother with cleaning solutions and the lens container. Since these lenses are to be disposeddaily after use, there is lesser risk of contracting eye infections.These lenses can be expensive than the other types of contact lenses.

Two-weekly lenses are best for first-time users or those who suffer from dry eyes. You need to clean them everyday, store them in a lens solution and dispose them after using them everyday for two weeks.

Monthly disposable lenses are an excellent choice for those who want to wear lenses daily, but at a reduced cost of daily disposables.

Contact lenses for extended wear are soft lenses made from silicone hydrogel. This material is a fairly new innovation that makes it possible for users to wear contact lenses for up to 30 days without the need to remove them. This type of contact lens is best for people who are pressed for time or are averse to making time for proper maintenance required for lens care.

Colored lenses allow users to change the colors of their eyes. These are available as both prescription and non-prescription ones. If you have myopia or hyperopia, you can more easily find colored lenses for your needs. For other vision problems like astigmatism, finding suitable colored soft lenses may be difficult.

Hard contact lenses are called gas permeable lenses (GP) or rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP). Hard lenses have declined in popularity since the introduction of soft lenses, but these offer many benefits to the user. These are more durable than soft lenses and can be worn for longer periods. You need to replace them as per your optician’s recommendations. Hard lenses are comfortable enough to use and can be made to suit specific eye prescriptions.