Have you decided it is time to put your glasses in a case and try out the benefits of contact lenses? You do not want to put your glasses off completely, but are you looking for a suitable alternative that allows you to actively perform all kinds of activities without restrictions? Then you will probably be interested in what contact lenses are available on the market. Although at first glance almost all look the same (with the exception of colored lenses), there are actually differences between them. Closer familiarization with the character of individual contact lenses can help you in choosing the most suitable for your needs.
So, before going to your eye care specialist for prescription, read some basic information about the available types of contact lenses.
Contact lenses are divided into three groups:
- Disposable soft lenses
- Hard contact lenses or gas-permeable lenses (RGP – Rigid Gas Permeable)
- Colored contact lenses
Disposable soft lenses
Nowadays they are the most widespread type of contact lenses. Their popularity is mainly due to comfortable wearing, excellent grip to eyes, extreme breathability and hydration, which give the eyes for hours of wearing. Thanks to modern silicone hydrogel materials and innovative technologies, soft contact lenses are suitable for a wide range of users.
Soft lenses are used to correct the following refractive visual defects:
- Myopia - Person sees blurry distant objects. Contact lenses for this defect are marked with a minus sign on the prescription.
- Hyperopia - A person with this defect does not see sharply objects located in close proximity. Hyperopia correcting lenses have a plus sign on the prescription.
- Astigmatism - Blurred vision due to this defect is caused by uneven curvature of the eye. Contact lenses to correct astigmatism are called toric.
- Presbyopia - This refractive error mainly occurs in the elderly over 40 years. Eye aging reduces the ability to focus quickly at close range. Lenses are labeled multifocal or bifocal.
Depending on your needs and lifestyle, you can choose between soft contact lenses with different wear times. There are the following variants:
- ONE-DAY LENS
Daily disposable contact lenses are disposable and disposed of at the end of the day. They do not require special care or solution, as is the case with reusable lenses. The user does not need to take a solution, special eye drops are sufficient in case that after long hours of wearing begins to feel a slight drying up at the end of the day.
These lenses are ideal for:
- Busy persons or those who do not want to devote time to care and maintenance of lenses.
- Occasional wear, for example in sports or in society.
- Allergy sufferers - During a brief, single use, allergens are less likely to settle on the lens surface.
- TWO WEEK LENS
As the name implies, these lenses are intended to be worn for two weeks, each being removed from the eyes at the end of each day, cleaned and stored in a small container of solution. You will be informed by the treating eye specialist about how to treat the lenses correctly and which solution to choose.
Two-week contact lenses are suitable for:
- Novice users - They are often recommended for young people who want to enjoy the benefits of lenses, while not having to take care of them like monthly lenses.
- Persons with dry eye syndrome who are comfortable with monthly contact lenses.
- Users who want to reduce average cost compared to daytime lenses.
- MONTHLY LENSES
Monthly contact lenses, like biweekly lenses, are worn repeatedly every day. At the end of the month, the user exchanges them for a new pair. After removing it from the eyes at the end of the day, it is very important to properly treat and clean the lenses and store them in solution overnight.
Monthly lenses are the optimal solution for:
- Users who want to wear lenses five or more days a week.
- Persons who also take into account the financial aspects of the use of contact lenses. Monthly lenses are more affordable than disposable daytime lenses in terms of average cost per day of wearing.
- ANNUAL LENSES
It is one of the most cost-effective contact lenses. However, their disadvantage may be the increased need for long-term, thorough care. In everyday wear throughout the year, the probability of clogging and settling of unpleasant bacteria is greater than in other types. In order for the user to fully enjoy the cost benefits, quality disinfectant solutions must be used for cleaning and maintenance, which must be changed regularly.
Annual lenses appreciate:
- People for whom the need for careful lens care is not a major problem.
- Those who want to enjoy the benefits of wearing contact lenses, but the financial aspect is also important to them.
- LENSES WITH EXTENDED MODE
These special lenses allow continuous wear for several days or weeks without having to remove the lenses from the eyes at night. They are made from state-of-the-art silicone hydrogel materials with up to five times higher oxygen permeability. However, as there are certain risks in carrying them, it is always advisable to consult their use with a specialist.
Extended mode contact lenses can be a good solution for:
- Very busy people with busy work and private life.
- Anyone who does not want to devote too much time to lens care.
RGP (GPL) – Gas Permeable Lenses
This type of lens is an alternative to the soft contact lenses it is the predecessor of. Occasionally, the designation of a hard contact lens may be misleading and discouraging their use. Although GPL does not contain water, it still provides a high level of comfort.
Their use has decreased significantly since the introduction of soft lenses. However, it still brings important benefits to some patients or is the only possible solution. They can also be made to order for persons with a prescription that cannot be easily covered by the soft lens range. Their advantage is also higher durability and therefore the possibility of wearing for a longer time. Even with daily wear, they can last six to twelve months.
Hard permeable lenses can be the solution for:
- Patients with astigmatism because they have a stiffer structure.
- Persons with eye defects leading to abnormally irregular eye shape.
Colored contact lenses
These are daily or monthly soft, cosmetic contact lenses that change the color of the iris. They are available in a wide variety of colors and shades, offering those interested in wearing them the opportunity to experiment with the appearance of their eyes.
Cosmetic lenses can be used by people with myopia or hyperopia. For more complicated defects such as astigmatism or presbyopia, the range of colored lenses offered is much more limited. Colored lenses can also be worn by persons without refractive errors. If your eyesight is OK, you choose a prescription value of 0.00. However, do not forget to observe the principles of hygiene when handling lenses.
The article is based on scientific publications.