Need vision correction – but don’t want to hide those beautiful eyes under glasses? Then, contact lenses can be a smart solution to your vision needs. Sitting close to your eye, contacts help you provide unobstructed peripheral vision and secure your natural look. Meanwhile, giving them the freedom to lead an active lifestyle – they fit people involved in sports and outdoor activities.
If you are also looking to switch to contacts, you might wonder which is the best lens for you? With so many types of lenses available in the market, here we have rounded up the basic types of contact lenses you should know before you head to an optical store to buy them.
Type of contact lenses:
Based on material and comfort:
The material of the lenses is the first thing that defines a lens type. Based on the material they are made, lenses are categorised into:
Typically made from soft, flexible plastic material, soft lenses incorporate silicone hydrogel for easy oxygen permeation in the lenses. Thin, flexible and sit gently on the cornea, these lenses greatly help with eye comfort and optimum vision.
By far less commonly used, hard or rigid gas permeable lenses (RGS) are stiff contacts – made from durable plastic that allows better oxygen supply to the eye.
Because of less flexibility, they offer sharp vision correction and are the best fit for patients with higher astigmatism and other refractive error.
Unlike soft lenses, hard lenses require a longer adaptation period, however after the initial days of use, they become more comfortable to wear than soft lenses.
To let you enjoy the advantages of both hard and soft lenses, hybrid lenses are made with rigid permeable gas material in the centre and flexible hydrogel material at the outer skirt.
They are specially crafted to offer the comfort of soft lenses and the visual acuity of rigid RGP lenses. They are best fit for patients dealing with corneal astigmatism, struggling with soft toric lens movements and looking to switch from RGP to softer lens options.
PMMA is a conventional hard lens that looks very similar to RMS lenses. However, made durable from more rigid plastic (polymethyl methacrylate- popularly known as Plexiglas), they do not mould to the size of eye lenses. And unlike other lenses in the list, they reduce the reach of oxygen to the eye and are considered the least comfortable.
Based on wearing time recommendation:
According to the time you can wear the contact lenses, they are 2 types of contact lenses:
These soft contact lenses can be worn throughout the day with the supervision of an eye doctor, however, they require nightly removal, before heading to sleep. They are again reinstated in the morning to support your vision needs for the day.
Continuous wear contact lenses:
Also known as day and night contacts, these delicate soft lenses are worn easily for an extended period of the day. However, some people may find trouble wearing them for a longer time.
Always consider the doctor’s advice before picking them for you and meanwhile they will also recommend a proper replacement schedule, based on your eye health.
Based on prescription:
There are several vision problems addressed by contact lenses. According to the specific eye prescription need, contact lenses are categorized as:
One of the commonly used simple lenses is designed to correct myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia. These single power lenses are generally easier to adjust to and comfortable to wear.
Toric contact lenses change power across the different meridians of the lens field. The best fit for astigmatism patients, the cylindrical lens can effectively correct the wrap in the retina.
A smart solution to address the range of vision problems with a single lens, the multifocal lenses are intended for people suffering from presbyopia. Enclosing a different power across the different sections of the single lenses, multifocal lenses make transitioning between far and near objects easier.
Cosmetic or coloured contacts are used to change the look of your eye. Though not necessarily used for vision correction, make sure you get your eye examination done before buying cosmetic lenses. The prescription will include the lens type, right measurement and expiration date that will help you choose the right lens for your eye.
Contact lenses are frequently used by people to correct refractive errors associated with nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia. But they may not be the best choice for patients dealing with eye disease involving lens damage or keratoconus.
So whether a specific contact lens is right or not. The best way to determine what is perfect for your vision and lifestyle preference is by talking to your eye doctor.
So once you know the basic type of contact lenses discussed above and with the prescription from an optometrist in your hands, you are good to go buying contact lenses for your vision correction.