Millions of people throughout the world are wearing contact lenses to enable them to see clearly. There’s a huge variety of these lenses available in the market, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding something that will give you a comfortable and sharper vision, without compromising the health of your eye. There are 5 different types of contact lenses. Here’s a description of each of them, including their pros and cons:
Soft Contact Lenses
These lenses are made of plastics that are soft and flexible to permit oxygen to pass through the cornea. When compared to rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, these lenses are much more comfortable, and are easier to adjust to.
- They require very little adaptation period
- Are more comfortable to wear
- Are harder to dislodge when compared to RGP lenses
- Great for active lifestyles
- Available in bifocals and tints
- Require that you visit your doctor’s office regularly for follow-up care.
- They soil easily, and consequently, they have to be replaced regularly.
- They don’t correct every vision problem you may have.
- The vision they provide is less sharp than that of RGP lens
Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
These contact lenses are made of plastics that are slightly flexible, which allows oxygen to pass through the eyes. They are more long-lasting, and are resistant to build up of deposits in the eye, thus are able to give a clearer, crisper vision. Since they are more durable than soft contact lenses, they tend to be less costly over their lifespan.
- They provide excellent vision
- Can correct a majority of vision problems
- Are available in tints for handling purposes, as well as in bifocals
- Have a relatively long life compared to soft contact lenses
- Don’t tear easily
- Are easy to handle
- Aren’t comfortable to wear initially, and can take up to several weeks to get used to
- Requires visits to your doctor’s office for follow-up care
- Compared to other lenses, RGPs can easily slip off the center of your eye
- It’s easy for debris to get under these lenses
Extended Wear Contact Lenses
These lenses are generally soft contact lenses, and are made from flexible plastic to permit oxygen to enter the cornea. They can be worn overnight for a period of one to six nights, or continuously for up to 30 days. Note that the length of time they can be worn continuously, depends on the type of lens, as well as your tolerance for overnight wear as per your the evaluation of your eye care professional.
Though most extended wear lenses are soft contact lenses, there are a few RGP lenses that have been designed and approved to be worn overnight. It’s important that you let your eyes rest for at least one night after removing these lenses.
- Can be worn for up to seven days without removal
- Don’t correct all vision problems
- Requires frequent visits to the doctor for follow-up care
- Requires professional care and regular monitoring
- Can increase the risk of developing complications in your eyes
Extended-Wear Disposable Contact Lenses
These are usually soft lenses designed to be worn for an extended time period, between one and six days, after which they are to be discarded.
- Are available in bifocals and tints
- Have spare lenses
- Requires minimal cleaning time
- Have a lower risk of causing eye infection, provided that the wearing instructions are followed
- Don’t correct all vision problems
- The vision they provide isn’t as sharp as that of RGP lens
- Are more difficult to handle
Planned Replacement Contact Lenses
These are soft daily wear lenses, designed to be replaced on a planned schedule. Most of the time, the replacement is supposed to take place every two weeks, monthly or after three months.
- Are available in nearly all prescriptions
- Are good for your eyes’ health
- Are easy to clean and disinfect
- It’s difficult to handle them
- Can only correct some vision problems
- Don’t offer a sharp vision as RGP lenses
There several different types of contact lenses you can choose for your eye problem. However, it’s important that you always remember to clean them properly, adhere to the wearing schedules, and make an appointment with your doctor for follow-up care.