Being able to see well is essential to performing the activities of day-to-day life. Find out what contact lenses are and what type is the best for you.
If you are new to contact lenses, the sheer variety available can be overwhelming. The first thing you should do is talk to your eye doctor. A thorough eye examination can tell you everything you need to know about the health of your eyes and how you should best care for them.
An eye exam can tell you the health of your eyes, and it includes a vision test to assess your vision. An eye exam can tell you if you have astigmatism, which affects your vision, or if you have a strong corrective need in your prescriptions. This information can act as parameters for which contact lens brands you should get for vision correction. Once you know that, WebEyeCare's blog can also help you choose the right lenses.
Picking the right contact lenses also includes considering your budget and your daily routine. Your ideal price range could change which brand you should get, and your routine could affect the type of lens that is right for you. Some lenses can be replaced daily, bi-weekly, or monthly. The correct contact lens brand is different for everyone, and all based on personal needs and preferences. This blog will help decipher what contact lenses are and how they can work for you.
What Are Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses have become a common alternative to glasses for vision correction. They are thin lenses that can be placed on your eyes’ surface. These thin lenses can have a vision prescription developed from your vision tests, or they can simply be cosmetic. There are many reasons why contact lenses are an alternative vision correction method. It is partially because of aesthetics and convenience.
Some do not want to wear glasses and prefer the look of not having glasses. It's also more convenient for some people if they don't have to keep track of where their glasses are, and some people have trouble keeping their glasses in one piece. Contacts are also ideal for playing certain sports, where there's a risk of breaking your glasses due to flying objects or other players. A contact lens also provides more peripheral vision than glasses, which tend to obstruct it with their frames.
There are also eye color-changing contact lenses available. These lenses have colors on their lenses that cover the original color of your eye. New technology has widened the demographic of contact lenses from those who need mild vision correction to those who need stronger correction, and even those who need no vision correction at all.
Types of Contact Lenses
There are many types of contact lenses that serve different purposes for various vision needs. This includes lenses that correct refractive errors and presbyopia. Refractive errors affect how an eye focuses on objects and refracts light. Corrective contact lenses are shaped in a way that redirects light and refracts it evenly for the eye. This is done with either soft toric lenses or rigid gas-permeable lenses, which we will discuss in further detail later in this article.
Multifocal lenses are often used to correct presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition that requires differing prescriptions for reading and distance. Multifocal lenses address this requirement by having multiple focal points, or multiple prescriptions within the lens. There are also monovision lenses that have a prescription for seeing long distances in one lens and a prescription for reading in the other lens. The brain is trained to use the different eye lenses for different uses.
Some people have color deficiencies where they find it difficult to distinguish between different colors. There are red-tinted contact lenses that make it easier to differentiate between colors. Contact lenses cannot restore full-color recognition, but it's an option for those with color deficiencies or who are light-sensitive.
Hard Contact Lenses
Hard contact lenses are also known as rigid contact lenses or permeable-gas contact lenses. When hard lenses were first introduced, they were not very popular, as they were uncomfortable and did not allow oxygen to reach the eye. Hard lenses have evolved since then, and a more commonly used lens is the permeable-gas contact lens. These lenses allow oxygen to pass through to the eye and keep them hydrated.
Rigid contact lenses sufficiently cover the natural shape of the eye, which can be useful for many vision conditions. They can be used to refract light evenly, which helps with refractive errors like astigmatism. They are also useful for those that have a condition where the cornea begins to thin, such as those with keratoconus. Keratoconus often causes blurred vision or double vision, and rigid contact lenses can provide clearer vision than soft lenses. Hard contact lenses are also more durable and can withstand more challenging environments than soft lenses.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses have more popularity because of their hydration and oxygen permeability. They are more movable and malleable than hard contact lenses. Soft contact lenses can be gently folded or bent without taking damage, and are often regarded as more comfortable. Hard lenses can result in discomfort from their rigidness and relative lack of oxygen permeability. Soft lenses are easier to get used to because, with hard lenses, many new wearers are hyper-aware of their presence.
The most common soft lens materials that brands use are traditional hydrogel or silicone hydrogel. Hydrogel lenses bring oxygen to the eye through their water content. This oxygen permeability relies on the amount of water on the lenses. Silicone hydrogel lenses have a higher capacity to pass oxygen to the eye because of the silicone, and their development has led to approval for certain forms of lenses to be worn overnight.
Silicone lenses have one disadvantage: they're stiffer than traditional hydrogel. This affects the comfort level of the lenses and might draw people towards traditional hydrogel lenses if it works better for them. Some methods are developing that may make these lenses more comfortable and oxygen permeable, like plasma coating or using internal wetting agents to help moisturize the eye.
Other Types of Contact Lenses
There are also hybrid contact lenses that combine qualities of both hard and soft contact lenses. This is often accomplished with lenses that have a hard center and a soft perimeter. This hybrid approach could also consist of layering a rigid lens on top of a soft lens. These combinations are meant to provide the features that hard lenses offer while maintaining the comfort level of soft lenses.
Hybrid lenses are often used for those with astigmatism, who need refractive correction, but also want the comfort of soft lenses. They may also provide clearer vision for those who are used to soft lenses but want a change in quality. Hybrid lenses tend to be more difficult to use and take some practice to wear them correctly. They may still be a good fit for those who want a lens that is more comfortable and does not move as often as rigid lenses.
In short, there are many kinds of contact lenses, with different features that may apply to different people. Your eye doctor can help you decide which features you need, and then you can shop for lenses with the confidence that you're giving your eyes the best possible vision correction and care!