Types of Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are a popular alternative to eyeglasses and LASIK surgery for correcting vision problems. In fact, according to a report by the Global Contact Lens Forum, it is estimated that there were approximately 150 million contact lens wearers worldwide in 2020. Furthermore, this number is expected to increase in the coming years due to factors such as the increasing prevalence of myopia and the growing popularity of cosmetic lenses.
Contact lenses offer several advantages, including improved comfort, convenience, and appearance. Several types of contact lenses are available, each with unique features and benefits. In this guide, we'll cover the different types of contact lenses and their uses.
Soft Contact Lenses: Made of soft, flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. These are the most commonly prescribed type of contact lenses.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses: Made of a more rigid, less flexible plastic that also allows oxygen to pass through. These are often used for people with astigmatism or other irregular cornea shapes.
Hybrid Contact Lenses: These lenses combine the advantages of both soft and RGP lenses, with a rigid center and a soft outer ring for comfort.
Scleral Contact Lenses: These are larger lenses that cover the entire cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). They are often used for people with corneal irregularities or other eye conditions.
Orthokeratology Contact Lenses: Ortho-K or overnight lenses are worn while sleeping and reshape the cornea to correct vision for the next day.
Colored Contact Lenses: These are soft contact lenses that change the color of the eye, often for cosmetic purposes. They are available with or without vision correction.
Daily and Monthly Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses come in both daily and monthly varieties. The main difference between daily and monthly contact lenses is how often they are replaced. Daily contact lenses are designed to be worn for a single day and then discarded, while monthly contact lenses are designed to be worn for up to a month before being replaced.
Daily contact lenses are made of thinner and more delicate materials than monthly lenses, which makes them more comfortable to wear and less prone to deposit buildup. Because they are discarded daily, they do not require cleaning or maintenance, making them a more convenient option for busy or active people. Daily contact lenses are also good for people prone to eye allergies or infections.
Monthly contact lenses are designed to be worn longer and require regular cleaning and maintenance. They are made of more durable materials than daily contact lenses, which means they can be worn for a longer period without breaking down. Monthly lenses are also less expensive than daily lenses over time, making them a more economical option for people who wear contact lenses regularly.
The choice between daily and monthly contact lenses generally depends on individual needs and preferences. While daily lenses are more convenient and hygienic, they can be more expensive over time. Monthly lenses are a more cost-effective option, but require more maintenance and are more prone to deposit buildup. An eye care professional can help determine which lens type best suits an individual's needs.
Extended Wear Contact Lenses
Extended wear contact lenses are a type of contact lens designed to be worn continuously for an extended period, typically up to a week or a month. They are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) materials and are approved for overnight wear.
Extended wear contact lenses are made of materials that allow more oxygen to reach the cornea than conventional contact lenses, which reduces the risk of complications such as corneal hypoxia. They are typically designed to be worn for up to 30 days, and are removed only for cleaning and replacement. Some extended wear contact lenses are approved for continuous wear for up to six nights, while others can be worn for up to a month without being removed.
While extended wear contact lenses offer greater convenience and flexibility than daily wear lenses, they do carry a higher risk of complications such as corneal ulcers and infections. As a result, it is important to follow proper hygiene and care instructions and attend regular check-ups with an eye care professional to minimize the risk of complications.
In general, extended wear contact lenses are recommended only for people who are deemed suitable candidates by an eye care professional. The decision to use extended wear contact lenses should be made on a case-by-case basis, considering an individual's eye health, lifestyle, and other factors.
Properly Storing Contact Lenses when Traveling
No matter what type of contact lenses you wear, proper storage is essential for maintaining their safety and effectiveness. A travel contact lens case is a convenient way to store your lenses while on the go, whether you are traveling or simply out for the day.
A travel contact lens case is designed to hold your contact lenses and a travel-sized contact solution bottle. Some travel contact lens cases, such as Oplee™ Travel Contact Lens Case, even include a built-in mirror and storage for your eyeglass case.
It's important to note that you should never transfer contact solution from a large bottle to a smaller one. Doing so is not safe and could lead to an eye infection. So use a travel contact lens case that works with standard travel-sized (2 fl oz) contact solution bottles produced by most contact solution manufacturers.
If you are traveling by airplane, most countries restrict the amount of contact solution that can be in your carry-on. For example, in the United States, the TSA allows less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml in your carry-on.
Several types of contact lenses are available, each with unique features and benefits. Choosing the right type of contact lens depends on your vision needs, lifestyle, and personal preferences. It is essential to consult with your eye care provider to determine which type of contact lens suits you. By following proper care and maintenance practices, you can enjoy the comfort and convenience of contact lenses while maintaining healthy eyes.