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How to choose the right contact lenses

Updated on April 1, 2012

With today's technology, most people can wear contact lenses successfully. But no one can wear each type and design. Your optometrist will recommend what will work for you based on general health, eye health, vision and occupational needs and your lifestyle. But most people have choices. Safe, comfortable, successful wear depends on your making an intelligent decision together with your optometrist. so, take some time to review your contact lens option and do homework before buying one.

How to choose the right contact lens for you?

First, your contact lenses must correct your vision problem. Second, each lens must properly fit your cornea, so contact lenses come in tens of thousands of parameters, meaning the combination of size, shape and power. Your doctor of optometry will evaluate your eyes to determine which lens is right for you, and will take into account your special needs such as dry eyes, a desire for color change or the need for overnight wear.

Choosing the right contact lenses
Choosing the right contact lenses

How to choose the right contact lenses for you?

Types of contact lenses:

You can choose contact lenses either hard, soft, gas permeable, continuous wear, disposable or bifocal contact lenses. These are available in many types and designs to meet your individual needs.

1. Soft lenses: Soft lenses are made of a soft plastic and are more comfortable than hard lenses because they hold more water. Many soft contact lenses also provide UV protection. They are usually disposable and can be thrown away after a short period of use, generally every two to four weeks or daily, depending on the type of lens prescribed. Being able to have a fresh pair of lenses means less chance of infection, less cleaning, and more comfort, especially for people whose eyes naturally produce more protein that clouds lenses.

While most people choose soft contact lenses because of their benefits, there are also some disadvantages. Soft lenses easily absorb pollutants like lotion or soap from your hands, which can irritate your eyes. They are also more fragile than hard lenses and can rip or tear easily.

The most recent type of soft contact lenses to hit the market, include Daily Disposables and New Silicone Extended Wear Disposables contact lenses.

2. Hard lenses: Hard lenses didn't allow for oxygen to pass through the lens to the cornea. As they needed to be very small to leave the cornea uncovered as much as possible, they could easily fall out especially when blinking. Although these are still available for certain specialist needs they have largely been replaced by rigid gas permeable lenses.

3. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) hard contact lenses:

Rigid gas permeable lenses, or hard contact lenses, are more rigid than soft lenses and therefore more durable. Unlike older versions of hard lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses are made with silicone polymers, allowing oxygen to circulate to the cornea of the eye. Compared to soft contact lenses, hard contacts maintain their shape better and offer clearer vision for some types of corrections. They are also extremely durable and easy to take care of. However, if you are considering this type of hard contact lens, you should know that:

  • There is a 10-15 times greater risk of developing corneal ulcers, a serious infection, which may damage your vision if not treated.
  • Sleeping in extended wear contacts may decrease flow of oxygen to the cornea, which can damage you vision.
  • Undesirable reshaping of the cornea may occur.
  • The amount of time needed to adjust to hard contacts is often repeated after not wearing them for as little as a day.

Therefore, in order to achieve maximum comfort, you have to wear the contact lenses every day.

Contact lenses types
Contact lenses types

4. Daily disposable contact lenses: Daily disposable contact lenses are only worn once and then thrown away. The benefits of Daily Disposables include never having to clean your contact lenses, convenient replacement schedule, and reduction of dry eye and irritation related to contact solutions. If you are an allergy sufferer, these are the contacts for you.

5. Silicone extended wear disposables: Silicone extended wear disposable contact lenses are made with a new material that can be worn for up to 30 nights and days. The new silicone material also prevents deposit build up and reduces dry eye irritation.

6. Bifocal contact lenses: Bifocal contact lenses are designed to give good vision to people who have a presbyopia. These lenses work much like bifocal eyeglasses, having two powers on one lens: one to correct distant vision and another to correct near vision. Bifocal contacts come as both soft and rigid gas permeable lenses.

7. Toric contact lenses: Toric contact lenses are special lenses for people with astigmatism. They made from the same material as other contact lenses and come in soft or rigid gas permeable forms. Like bifocal lenses, toric lenses have two powers, one for the astigmatism and another for myopia or hyperopia if either of these conditions is also present.

8. Colored contact lenses: Colored tints can be added to certain contact lenses that make them easier to see when handling, enhance or change eye color, and improve contrast for outdoor sports, like golf and softball. Contact lenses with novelty effects are available, but should still be handled and cared for like prescription lenses.

Factors to choose the right contact lens:

Several factors go into determining which type of contact lens is right for you.

  • Your eyes, your vision condition, lens prescription and eye health needs may limit your lens choice. Using the findings of a comprehensive eye examination, your optometrist will suggest and you can make a right choice.
  • Your lifestyle: If you are athletic, consider soft lenses. If you travel a lot, continuous wear lenses may be right for you. Consult with your optometrist.
  • Your personality: Soft contact lenses require the least adaptation. If you are cost conscious, rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses need less frequent replacement. Choose deep tinted soft lenses if you are fashion oriented.
  • Cost: Do not base your decision on cost alone. Choose the contact lens that is the healthiest for your eyes. Be wary of so called bargain prices.

Tips to take care of contact lenses

1. Wash your hands with soap before touching your right contact lenses; avoid soaps with eye-irritating beeswax or lanolin.

2. Mucus, tear proteins and environmental pollutants can build up on your contact lenses; ask your eye doctor about the best daily cleaner for your type of lenses.

3. Many doctors recommend that you disinfect all lens types daily with a heat, chemical, or hydrogen peroxide system.

4. Use an enzymatic cleaner weekly to remove residue your daily cleaner missed.

5. Always store your contact lenses clean; rinse your lens case and let it air dry.

6. Buy small, instead of large, containers of contact lens care products; small containers are more quickly emptied and thus less likely to get contaminated.

7. Apply eye make-up after putting your contact lenses in your eyes.

8. Use hair sprays, perfumes, and spray deodorants in another room before you insert lenses.

9. Check your eyes every morning for redness or unusual mucus at the edges; pain, watery eyes, sensitivity to light or blurry vision are signals to call the doctor.

10. Remove lenses at once when your eyes become red or irritated; always carry your glasses with you.


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    • profile image

      Risank 7 years ago

      Very helpfull information, nice post...

    • profile image

      Piilolinssit 8 years ago

      I just recently stopped using contact lenses because i olways hated taking them out of my eyes and i wasnt weelin very confortunable.

    • profile image

      rAt 9 years ago

      hey ho