Image00093​Choosing the right contact lenses is an important decision that can affect your vision. While the selection process starts with a thorough eye exam and fitting with Elan Eye Boutique in Braselton, Georgia, it is important to know which contact lenses are best for your vision problem type as there may be a variety of options. Understanding the categories and types of contact lenses, which vision problems they are most suited for, as well as which questions to answer before your eye exam, will assist you in selecting the most appropriate contact lenses for your unique eyes.

Different Types of Contact Lenses
There are two general categories for contact lenses: soft and rigid gas permeable; both of which require a valid prescription from your eye doctor.

There are a wide variety of contact lens types to choose from in today’s market such as disposable soft contact lenses, regular soft contact lenses, gas-permeable contact lenses (rigid), hybrid hard lenses, and even bifocal lenses. Additional options include scleral lenses, and decorative or cosmetic lenses.

While cosmetic or decorative lenses do not require a prescription, it is extremely important to consult your eye care professional as these lenses are nonetheless still considered medical devices, and could potentially cause serious damage to your eyes without a proper fitting.

Soft contact lenses
Made from flexible plastic, soft lenses are easier to adjust and have a special material called silicone-hydrogels that allow more oxygen to flow to the cornea, which is the transparent front cover of the eye that has no blood supply of its own and retrieves oxygen directly from the air.

Soft contacts are by far the most popular consumer lens types due to their versatility and ability to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), age-related loss of vision (presbyopia), blurred vision (astigmatism), and irregularities of the cornea. The types of soft contact lenses available are disposable, daily wear, and extended wear.

To determine which type of soft lens is best for you, consider the following:

Disposable soft contact lenses are worn for one day, and disposed of just before you go to bed. Because these lens types are never worn again, there is no need to clean or disinfect them. Convenient and flexible, disposable soft contact lenses are ideal for those who travel, and those who may have sensitivities to lens solutions.

Daily wear soft contact lenses are worn daily and then removed at night for cleaning and disinfecting. How long the lenses will last overall varies by manufacturer. Daily wear lenses are typically the least expensive of all lens types.

Extended wear soft contact lenses can be worn overnight while you sleep but must be cleaned and disinfected on a weekly basis. As with daily wear, the life of extended wear soft contact lenses varies by manufacturer. Perfect for people who don’t always remember to remove their lenses before bed, extended wear lenses are safe but do increase the risk of eye infections.

Hard contact lenses
Gas permeable contact lenses or hard contact lenses provide clearer vision than soft contacts, and for most types of vision problems. Because hard lenses are more “breathable”, the risk of eye infection is reduced. Additionally, these lens types are appealing to those who have experienced dry eyes with soft lenses. Most gas permeable contact lenses should be removed for cleaning and disinfecting on a nightly basis, but there are some that can be worn for up to one month. Another added benefit to hard lenses is the extended life of up to three years; provided your prescription does not change within that time. There are also hybrid gas permeable lenses available that have a softer outer ring, for added comfort.

Specialized contact lenses
Some vision problems require a specialized lens such as bifocal or multifocal due to age-related loss of vision. Specialized bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are available in both soft and gas permeable lens types, and are great for those who do not wish to keep track of reading glasses.

Tinted contact lenses can be worn for cosmetic purposes but are also used to correct certain vision problems. Tinting can help compensate for color blindness by enhancing contrast and color perception.

Questions to consider before selecting contact lenses

Selecting the right contact lenses for your unique eyes is a decision best made with your optometrist. Here are some questions to consider before your next eye exam:

1. How often do you plan to wear contact lenses?

If only on occasion, such as weekends or special events, soft lenses may be the best fit for you as hard lenses require continuous wear.

2. How diligent will you be in caring for the lenses?

Other than disposable lenses, all types of contacts require regular cleaning and disinfection. If you would prefer to avoid this task, or perhaps have a busy schedule that would increase the chances of forgetting to do this, select disposable lenses.

3. Do you need as much clarity as possible?

Remember, gas permeable lenses provide a sharper, more precise vision. If you are in a profession or have a hobby that requires clear, precise vision, hard lenses may be the best fit for you.

4. Do you have allergies?

Disposable contact lenses can reduce lens-related allergy symptoms.

Visit the Elan Eye Boutique in Braselton, Georgia

It is important to consult us when considering contact lenses. In order to get the right fit, you must have a proper exam and fitting, and attend any follow-up visits recommended by your eye care professional. Be sure to report any complications such as dry eyes, redness, pain, swelling, and or sensitivity to light.

By understanding the categories, types, and purposes of contact lenses, you and your optometrist can make the best decision possible to correct your vision and support your eye health. Schedule your next eye exam today.