An annual exam at the eye doctor may seem like a no-brainer, especially if you already wear contacts or glasses. Getting a new prescription may be a tradition, or maybe you only go when there seems to be a noticeable change in the way the eyes function. Perhaps night vision is getting dimmer or watching…
Get to Know Your Contact Lenses Options
Contact lenses have come a long way over the years. There used to be only a few options for lens wearers, but now the industry offers a variety of choices based on the patient’s needs and preferences. With new types of materials, contacts are now very comfortable and easy to wear.
Types of contact lenses
An optometrist may prescribe a certain type of lens based on the eye issues the patient is experiencing, or a patient may choose a certain kind based on replacement frequency.
Soft contacts are made from a type of plastic that is flexible, absorbs water and allows for the passage of oxygen to the eye. One of the complaints some contact wearers have is that the lenses are a pain to put in and take out every day. One option is extended wear lenses. These can be worn overnight for multiple days in a row. With this type, it is important to clean them thoroughly once a week and to have regular progress visits to ensure eye safety.
Disposable soft contact lenses are considered a more hygienic option because residue builds up over time. Some lenses are disposed of and replaced daily, while others are replaced monthly. There are also planned replacement contacts, which are a bit more economical than disposable types.
Like the extended wear soft contacts, the day-night option can be worn 24 hours a day. However, the silicone material provides more oxygen to the eye and works with natural tears to keep it wetter. This allows someone to wear the lenses continuously for 30 days without having to take them out.
As a newer option in the contact world, bifocal lenses provide the wearer with both close-range and distance correction. These contacts are very advanced technologically, and it typically takes longer to get used to them. Patients must follow the optometrist’s specific care instructions and wear recommendations for the best results. While someone is adapting to the lenses, they should avoid performing important visual functions such as driving a vehicle.
These lenses help correct astigmatism, which occurs when the eyeball is not completely round. This can lead to symptoms such as double vision, difficulty reading and failure to see both distance and closeness without squinting. To accommodate the shape of the eye, toric contacts are designed specifically to fit over the natural egg shape.
As with the bifocal lenses, the astigmatic type is very technologically advanced. Unlike regular contact lenses, which have only one power requirement, the toric one has two so it can align in a specific direction.
These combine the comfort-related qualities of soft contacts with the durability and visual correction of hard contacts. They let oxygen pass through, which allows the eye to breathe easier. This type of lens requires more consistent and frequent cleaning than most of the other choices.
There are many options for those who are new to contact lenses or who want to transition from glasses. Each of them has its own advantages and care instructions, so it is important that people choose the right one for their needs.
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