If you’re in the market for contact lenses, it’s important to know exactly what your options are before you make the investment. You’ve probably heard of one or two different kinds of contacts, such as daily disposables, extended wear, or overnight contacts. There are plenty of other options out there, with the following as some of the most common.
Daily disposable lenses are often marketed as a healthier way to wear contact lenses. Protein, calcium, lipids, and other substances that are naturally part of your eyes can build up in lenses, and over time that can cause irritation and infection. Throwing away your contacts after one use (even if that one use is stretched out over several days without removing them) will virtually eliminate that problem.
You should never wear your contacts while you sleep unless they are specially designed for overnight use. Otherwise, those minerals and substances in your tears will build up in the lenses and increase the risk of eye pain and infection.
Overnight lenses should still be taken out at least once a week to be cleaned and disinfected.
Not everyone does well with overnight lenses—even if you’ve been approved for them, your eyes may become irritated by their constant use. If this is the case, take them out every night to disinfect them.
If you have an astigmatism (an optical condition in which your eye cannot focus properly), you can get special contact lenses to correct the condition. Toric contact lenses are shaped in a way that helps your eye focus on vertical and horizontal orientations.
If you think these are a good option for you, consult with your optometrist. Most eyeglass places, like The Eyewear Place in Edmonton, will be able to get these contacts in for you as you need them. Toric lenses have to be prescribed, and your optometrist will fit them specifically to your eyes.
You’ve all seen your grandparents wearing bifocal or multifocal lenses in their glasses, but if you struggle with presbyopia (focusing on near objects), you don’t have to give up your contacts and switch to eyeglasses before you’re ready to.
Multifocal contact lenses work in various ways. Some have a unique design with a gradual transition in lens power from distance to close-up. Others have two distinct lens powers (like bifocal eyeglass lenses).
You can get both hard and soft multifocal contact lenses, and they come as both extended use and daily disposables.
Hard contact lenses are also known as gas permeable (GP) lenses. They are made of plastic, but unlike the old-fashioned hard contacts (PMMA), GP lenses breathe better and are much more comfortable than the old-school option.
GP lenses actually transmit more oxygen to the eyes than soft lenses do. They also last longer than traditional soft lenses, and can even provide better vision.
The drawback to hard lenses is that it takes your eyes more time to adjust to them. Soft contact lenses are instantly comfortable; GP lenses will take more time. You’ll need to wear them regularly to maintain that comfort as well—if you go for more than a week without wearing them, you will have to adjust to them all over again.
Colored contacts can be worn to correct your vision or simply for cosmetic purposes. Prescription contacts will act as normal contact lenses do, whereas plano contact lenses have no lens power and will do no more than change the color of your eyes.
Color contacts can either enhance your natural eye color or change it completely. They are safe for your eyes as long as you care for them properly (just like with regular contacts).
There are many options out there on the market, so make sure you do your research and consult with your optometrist before you make a decision. Finding the right contacts for your eyes, lifestyle, budget, and personal preference might be a challenge, but it will be worth it in the end.