Hard lenses or soft? Daily disposable or reusable? With so many different types of contact lenses available how do you choose? We help you understand the different types available. Read more...
Almost everyone can wear contact lenses. If you’re new to contact lenses, your first step is to see an optometrist and book an appointment to be fitted for contact lenses. Once your optometrist has examined your eyes, he or she will make sure that the right contact lenses are fitted for your eyes.
What are contact lenses?
Contact lenses are small, thin, optical lenses worn directly on the eye to correct your vision. You can wear contact lenses to correct common vision problems such as:
What are the different types of contact lenses?
With so many different contact lenses available, it can be confusing. We can group contact lenses by the material they’re made from (hard or soft) and how long you wear them for (the wear schedule). Lenses will also be prescribed by your optometrist based on your vision problem (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia).
Before you can start wearing soft lenses or hard lenses, you will need to book an appointment with an optometrist. During this first consultation, the optometrist will carry out examinations to check that you do not have any problems that might make it difficult for you to wear lenses. The optometrist will advise you about the type of lenses that are most appropriate for your physiology (cornea, how dry your eyes are, etc.). This consultation is essential.
After this consultation, you can try out your first lenses. Hard lenses last a long time, and can correct all types of vision problems, from the most common to the most extreme (e.g. irregular astigmatism). However, hard lenses require perseverance, as they take longer to get used to than soft lenses.
If your vision problem is more common, soft lenses will certainly be the most appropriate for you. You will discover that it takes much less time to get used to them than to hard lenses, and right away you will find that they are pleasant to wear. What is more, even if hard lenses may seem cheaper in the long term than soft lenses, losing a hard lens can be expensive.
Most contact lenses today are soft lenses or ‘hydrophilic lenses’ which means they are made of water (this is how they stay soft). Soft lenses are extremely thin and made from materials that allow oxygen to pass through them to the eye. Today’s advances in contact lens technology have virtually eliminated the earlier hard lenses. There are 3 types of soft contact lenses:
Contact lenses for myopia and hyperopia
Contact lenses for astigmatism
These are toric lenses. They correct astigmatism by compensating for the irregular surface of the eye.
Contact lenses for presbyopia
These are bifocal or multifocal contact lenses. They are used to correct presbyopia (the inability to focus sharply for near vision).