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Types of Contact Lenses

Soft and Hard Contact Lenses

There are two main types of contacts lenses - termed soft and hard rigid contact lenses. Which is best contact lenses for you will depend on how wear time and for what purposes. Contact lenses can reduce oxygen levels to the cornea and this amount will vary according to material and type of contact lens

 

Hard Rigid Gas Permeable contact lenses  

The rigid gas permeable contact lenses are made of harder material and so they do not bend - hence rigid in shape and look bit like a tiny dome or cap.  The contact lenses are sometimes referred to as hard lenses or RGP lenses.

 

The rigid gas permeable lenses allow more oxygen to flow through than some soft lenses. They are smaller than soft lenses and so don’t cover the entire cornea like soft lenses. This allows more oxygen direct to cornea.

RGP lenses move more on blinking which allows fresh tears to pass under the contact lenses instead of accumulating under.

 

The downside is hard contact lenses are initially not as comfortable as soft lenses and so tend to take longer to adapt.  The amount of wear time in one session for hard lenses needs to built up slowly but comfort does improves with time.

 

The hard contact lenses are very useful in correcting astigmatism and especially of irregular type like keratoconus and may be the only option for some people.

 

Soft contact  lenses

The soft contact lenses are water filled plastic lenses that are bit larger than rigid lenses. They are flexible and can bend.  The soft material tends to be more comfortable and easier to get used to.

 

There are many types of soft lenses with different water content and different oxygen levels. The modern silicone hydrogel soft contact lenses allow more oxygen through than conventional material and can be used for extended wear.

 

 

 

 

How often contact lenses are worn or replaced.

 

Rigid gas lenses tend to be replaced after longer intervals than soft lenses.

 

Daily disposables

These soft contact lenses are thrown away after one use. Daily disposables are convenient esp for those who do not want the fuss of having to clean and disinfect. There is less risk of infections as a result

Monthly contact lenses

These contact lenses are replaced monthly. This gives a fresh start each month with new lenses. Otherwise deposits from the eye accumulate on the contacts lenses such as protein that can encourage bacteria to grow or reduce clarity.  

Contact lenses that last for six months or year may need cleaning with protein tablets or more stronger disinfecting solutions like hydrogen peroxide.

 

Extended wear contact lenses.

These are worn and left in overnight and are termed extended wear contact lenses. They are made of modern material called  silicone hydrogel lenses. This provides much more oxygen to the eye than conventional soft lenses and so have been approved to leave in eye over night.

 

Do not attempt to do this with other contact lenses - as it can cause lot of pain afterwards as well as compromising the cornea of the eye. Over wear can cause lack of oxygen to the eye.

The extended wear contact lenses have been designed to leave in and so saves the hassle of having to take insert or remove lenses.

 

 

However there is still the risk of eye infections - and build up of materials from the eye.  So some extended wear are designed to be replaced at regular intervals as recommended by your eye care professional.  This is very important to prevent serious eye infections.

 

 

 

Click for information on Cleaning Contact Lenses and Hygiene.

What are Contact Lenses Intro below  Contact Lens Products : soft, hard, daily, monthly

Cleaning Solutions for Contact Lenses : How to clean and look after contact lenses.