Types of Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses breathe well, are very comfortable, and disposable after as little as one day. They’re much more common than RGP lenses (see below), and much less expensive. Although most patients don’t notice the difference, soft contacts are slightly less sharp than RGP’s because they bend to the shape of the eye. That said, we recommend that our patients use soft contact lenses, almost without exception. They are much easier to get used to, much more comfortable than RGP, and therefore patients are more likely to properly use their contacts.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP/”Hard”) Lenses
RGP lenses are used by patients who are already very used to wearing this type of lens, or need to use them for medical reasons. Patients who have been wearing contact lenses for a long time are often used to wearing RGP type lenses and like to stick to what they know. Soft contacts became common in the mid-1980’s, with disposables introduced in 1987, so many of our patients who wore contacts before then stick to RGP. While RGP lenses can have better optics than soft lenses, they take much more dedication to get used to wearing them, and must be worn daily.
In addition to personal preferences, some patients use RGP contacts because of medical reasons. Keratoconus is a degenerative disorder in the eye, where structural changes cause it to change into a forward-facing conical shape (as in the front end of a missile). RGP contacts can slow the progression of the condition, by acting as a brace. Another case is when patients have Aniseikonia, which is an ocular condition where there is a significant difference in the prescription between two eyes (although Anisikonia can also be treated with soft lenses).
Daily, Biweekly, and Extended Wear Lenses
All of our brands (see below) include daily and monthly contact lenses. We carry bi-weekly for Vistacon (Acuvue), and extended-wear for Ciba.
Dailies are slightly more expensive than others, but you make some of the money back by not having to worry about the cleaning supplies. You are also not tempted to overwear the longer-wear lenses to save money (which is really bad for your eyes anyway, please don’t do this). To encourage people to use dailies, contact lens manufacturers will often offer mail-in rebates of about $100. In general, daily contacts are about $1 per day. The absolute top-of-the-line best contacts you can buy are daily contacts and will be about $2 per day.
Two-week and monthly contact lenses are taken out and cleaned every night, and disposed of once per month. These are about half as expensive as the daily contacts, and require less money up-front, but require diligent maintenance, which includes purchasing leaning supplies. In the long run, a years’ supply of extended-wear contacts is cheaper than daily-use, but not by a large margin.
Multi-Focal Soft Lenses
Multi-focal lenses are for patients who would normally wear a pair of bifocals. Multi-focal contacts are not as crisp as bifocals, since the contact moves with the eye, but this allows some freedom from glasses for patients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to wear contacts. The lens is designed to give patients vision at both distance and near. We offer soft multi-focal lenses as well as RGP multi-focal lenses. In general, multi-focal contact lenses have replaced monovision contact lenses, where patients would wear a far-distance contact in one eye, and a near-distance contact in the other.
Toric Lenses for Astigmatism
Toric lenses (for astigmatism) – If you are hindered by astigmatism( an irregular shape of the cornea or lens in the eye) we carry toric lenses for that, which can stabilize and be a corrective lens for your eyes.
Fashion Color Lenses
Pros and Cons of Contacts
- Contacts cover your entire field of vision (by covering the retina), offering better peripheral vision
- There are a wide range of options for use length, ranging from daily to monthly replacements
- Contacts are ideal for sports and other active lifestyles, with far less risk of injury from broken glasses, or sudden loss of vision from glasses that have been knocked off
- Contacts enable the use of other, non-prescription eyewear, such as masks or goggles for construction workers or crafts projects, sunglasses for surfers or other outdoor sports, etc.
- Some people prefer their appearance without glasses
- For patients without astigmatism, contacts be used for cosmetics to change the colors of the eyes
- Contacts may cost more than glasses. In general, contacts cost more than mid- to low-end frames, depending on the style, brand, etc., of both the glasses and contacts.
- Contacts (particularly the non-daily type) require cleaning and disinfecting, and must be handled with care
- There is a risk of corneal infections, scratches and scrapes, usually arising from not taking care of the contacts
- Contacts can be damaged or lost more easily than glasses, and are more difficult to find if they’re lost
- ProClear EP
- Clearsight 1 Day
- Ciba Dailies Total 1
- Focus Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus
- Focus Dailies Aqua Toric
- Air Optix Aqua
- Air Optix Night and Day
- Air Optix Multi-Focal
- FreshLook Colors
- Acuvue Advance
- Acuvue One Day Moist
- Acuvue TruEYE
- Acuvue 2 Colors
Bausch & Lomb
- PureVision 2
- PureVision Multi-Focal
- SofLens Daily