Soft Contact Lenses
Out of the many types of contact lenses on the market, soft contacts are one of the most popular and widely-used varieties. Many people prefer soft contact lenses thanks to their flexibility, which provides a higher level of comfort than rigid gas permeable contacts. Soft contacts are thin, gel-like lenses that fit comfortably in the eye and are virtually invisible once inserted. The soft lens bends light according to your prescription to correct refraction errors and clarify your vision.
Many soft contact lenses also provide built-in UV protection. Shielding your eyes from harmful UV rays keeps them healthy and is believed to slow the development of certain conditions such as eye cataracts.
Types of Soft Contact Lenses
Some types of soft contact lenses are designed for daily or one-time use, while others are worn for extended periods of time. Each type provides unique benefits which you can match to your lifestyle needs. If you are unsure of what type of soft contact lens to wear, your certified eye care specialist can help you make an informed decision.
- Single-use soft contact lenses. Single-use lenses are the most expensive type of soft contact lens, but they are convenient for people with active lifestyles. A new pair is inserted each morning and then disposed of at the end of the day. Single-use soft contact lenses do not require the use of any special solutions throughout the day, as they are packaged with an adequate amount for the amount of time they’re intended to be worn.
- Daily wear soft contact lenses. These soft contacts are also disposable, but they are intended to be re-used daily for 1 to 4 weeks. Contacts designed for seven day use tend to be more flexible than pairs designed to withstand the full 4 weeks. Daily use contacts are inserted every morning and removed before going to sleep. Because proteins and microorganisms can build up and cloud the lens, it’s important to follow recommended cleaning guidelines. Daily wear lenses are less expensive than single-use contacts, but they do require daily maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep.
- Extended wear soft contact lenses. Extended wear contact lenses can be kept in the eye for up to seven straight days without removal, thanks to their ability to allow oxygen to the cornea, even during sleep. Extended wear contacts have a controversial reputation, and some eye care specialists question the safety of wearing corrective lenses for prolonged periods of time. Although oxygen can pass to the retina, a certain percentage does not pass through. Overnight wear is another disputed habit, as some doctors argue it can increase the risk for corneal disease and complications as microorganisms and other pollutants build up on the lens.
- Colored soft contact lenses. Many colored contact lens are used to change the natural color of your eye, while others are tinted for a range of specific purposes. Visibility tint contacts do not change the color of your eye, but make it easier to find a contact that is accidentally dropped. For athletes, soft contacts with a light-filtering tint make it easier to see by enhancing certain colors and muting others. Aesthetic tints may completely change the color of your eye, or provide a subtle tint that enhances and highlights your natural color.
During the initial eye examination, your eye doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate type of contact lens for your needs. Make sure to discuss any special lifestyle needs that you have which may influence the decision. For example, if you’re active, busy, or forgetful, the type of contact lens prescribed to you will be changed to suit your circumstances. Take advantage of new lens technology to find an option that fits your eyes and your daily life like a glove.
About the Author