There are two major types of contact lenses: Soft Contact Lenses and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. Both types of contacts require a thorough examination, fitting, and valid prescription.
Within these two major categories, there are a number of lenses that solve specific vision problems. These include:
- Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
- Extended Wear Contact Lenses
- Disposable or Planned Replacement Contact Lenses
- Specialty Contact Lenses
- Hybrid Contact Lenses
- Bifocal Contact Lenses
- Decorative Contact Lenses
Soft Daily Wear Contact Lenses
Soft Daily Wear Contact Lenses are made of soft, water-containing flexible plastics, called “hydrogels”. These hydrogels allow oxygen to pass to the cornea to maintain its health and clarity. Soft Contact Lenses are more easily adapted to, and therefore, more comfortable than RGP Contact Lenses. A silicone hydrogel material makes up Soft Contact Lens. This material allows even more oxygen to reach the cornea, and, as a result, provides additional comfort. Soft Daily Wear Contact Lenses require careful cleaning and disinfection, as they tend to attract deposits of protein from your tear film.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
RGP Contact Lenses are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup and because of this, they generally yield a clearer and crisper vision. They are easier to handle and do not tear, however, RGP Lenses are easier to break. The adjustment period for RGP Lenses can be up to several weeks, as compared to only a few days for soft contacts.
Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is the unequal curvature of the Cornea. In other words, the shape of the Cornea is more like a football than a basketball.“Toric” Lenses are Contact Lenses that correct astigmatism. Toric lenses are readily available in both soft contacts and RGP lenses. These contact lenses generally require a greater degree of fitting expertise in order to obtain the most precise vision.
Extended Wear Contact Lenses
The FDA has approved several Extended Wear Contact Lenses for overnight use and up to 30 days. Most Extended Wear Contact Lenses are Soft Contact Lenses, although the FDA has approved a few RGP Lenses for extended wear. RGP Lenses that are approved for extended wear are typically made of a specific plastic that is very permeable to oxygen. Based on your contact lens examination, contact lens fitting, and the evaluation of your tolerance for overnight wear, your doctor will determine how long you can wear your contact lenses.
Disposable Contact Lenses
Today, most daily wear and extended wear soft contact lenses are prescribed with a very specific planned replacement schedule. In other words, the prescribing eye doctor will give you instructions on how frequently to replace your lenses based on your tear film, how often you remove the lenses, and how quickly deposits build on the lenses. True Disposable Contact Lenses are worn only once and then discarded.
Patients need to be cautious if they do not have their contact lens prescriptions filled at The Eye Center. Contact Lens sellers refer to some Soft Contact Lenses as “disposable”, however, they are for frequent/planned replacement. If you are wearing your lenses on a planned replacement basis, or even an extended wear basis, when you remove your lenses, ALWAYS make sure to clean and disinfect them properly before re-inserting them. This is necessary in order to protect the health of your eyes and allow you to continue to wear your contacts comfortably and safely.
Specialty Contact Lenses
Bifocal Contact Lenses
Bifocal contact lenses are available in both Soft Contact Lenses, RGP Lenses, and hybrid lens modalities. These lenses provide functional vision at both far and near distances, as well as reduce the need for separate reading prescriptions. Bifocal contact lenses require additional time and expertise to fit.
Hybrid Contact Lenses
SynergEyes Hybrid contact lenses feature technology that combines the crisp vision of a RGP Lenses with the comfort and stability of a Soft Lens. They are an excellent choice in cases of RGP Lens intolerance, astigmatism, keratoconus or other corneal irregularities. The Eye Center is among the few Denver area practices authorized to fit these advanced lenses.
Decorative and Cosmetic Contact Lenses
Another type of specialty lens that has become popular among people who don’t have a need for vision correction, are contacts that have the sole purpose of changing the appearance of your eyes. These are also called, Plano, Zero-Powered, or Non-Corrective lenses. Wearers of these Contact Lenses can temporarily change their eye color.
EVEN THOUGH THESE DECORATIVE LENSES DO NOT CORRECT VISION, THEY ARE A MEDICAL DEVICE AND THE FDA STRICTLY REGULATES THEM. (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01499.html).
This is because, even without correction, they pose the identical risks to patients that regular Contact Lenses pose. These include:
- Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
- Corneal Abrasions
- Corneal Ulcers
- Vision Impairment
Many patients are simply unaware of the need for proper fitting and prescription of these lenses and have purchased decorative contact lenses from beauty salons, record stores, video stores, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops and the Internet. Buying contact lenses without a prescription is dangerous!
To learn more about Contact Lenses at The Eye Center, click the links below:
If you, a family member or friend, would like to schedule a contact lens exam or fitting, please call The Eye Center at 303-777-5455.