Whether you choose to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses for vision correction mostly depends on your personal preferences. Contact lenses are versatile and offer many benefits over eyeglasses, including peripheral and unobstructed vision at any angle.
Understanding the pros and cons of common types of contacts can help to prevent eye infections.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are the most popular type of contact lens. These lenses can be used to correct various vision problems, including:
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
- Blurred vision (astigmatism)
- Age-related loss of close-up vision (presbyopia)
- Corneal irregularities.
Soft contact lenses are known for their comfort and are easier to adapt to wearing than rigid lenses. Soft contact lenses come in various types, such as:
- Daily Wear Lenses: Daily wear soft lenses are the least expensive option. You wear these lenses during the day and remove them each night to be cleaned and disinfected. Depending on the manufacturer, it varies on how long you can use a single pair of daily wear lenses.
- Extended Wear Lenses: You can wear extended wear soft contact lenses while you sleep, but they must be removed for cleaning and disinfecting most commonly at least once a week. Some specialized lenses may be left in up to 30 days.However, it’s important to be cautious with overnight use since it increases the risk of eye infections and corneal ulcers.
- Disposable Lenses: Compared to other soft contact lenses, disposable lenses are the safest to wear. The lenses can be worn during the day and removed at night. You can use them for the recommended amount of time, such as daily, bi-weekly, or monthly, and then throw them away. The shorter the wearing cycle the greater the safety and comfort level is.
Hard Contact Lenses
Rigid or hard contact lenses provide a clear, crisp vision for most vision problems. They are often more breathable than soft contact lenses, which reduces the risk of eye infections.
Most hard contact lenses must be removed for cleaning and disinfection at night, but some can be worn for a week or even 30 days.
It might take a few days or weeks to adjust to hard contact lenses. However, if your prescription doesn’t change and you take care of your hard contact lenses, you can use the same pair of lenses for up to two or three years.
Specialized Contact Lenses
Depending on your vision needs, you might consider specialized contact lenses, such as:
- Hybrid Contact Lenses: features a hard, gas-permeable center surrounded by a soft outer ring. Hybrid contact lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and age-related loss of close-up vision, as well as an irregular corneal curvature. If you have a troubled time wearing traditional hard lenses, these can be an option.
- Bifocal or Multifocal Contact Lenses: are available in both soft and hard varieties, can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in combination with age-related loss of close-up vision.
- Tinted Contact Lenses: Some contact lenses are tinted. Tinting can enhance contrast or color perception and help compensate for color blindness. However, these lenses should not be bought over-the-counter because they can cause eye injuries and infection when not properly fitted.
- Scleral Contact Lenses: These are made of gas permeable lens materials
Wearing contact lenses can cause problems ranging from discomfort to severe infections. To prevent problems with your contact lenses:
- Practice good hygiene
- Remove your contact before you go to sleep
- Minimize contact with water and saliva
- Take care with contact lens solutions
- Replace contact lenses and cases as recommended.
Before getting contact lenses, consult your eye care specialist for a thorough eye exam and fitting. Schedule follow-up exams as often as recommended by your eye care specialist.
Asheville Vision and Wellness provides comprehensive exams for health and vision problems, including exams for children and the elderly. For more information about our eye exams and eye care, visit our website.