Contacts are a relatively recent phenomenon that have revolutionized the way glasses-wearers correct their vision since its inception in 1887. A century later, contact lenses are an ever-expanding science that is making breakthroughs left and right.
Modern contact lenses have evolved into a world of variety, where we can pick and choose the type of contact that is right for us based on density of plastic, longevity of the lenses, and a multitude of other factors.
With all the new types of contact lenses that modern technology has afforded us, the right choice for our eyes is becoming harder and harder.
Here are the most common types of contact lenses so you can feel confident that you’re making the right choice for your eyes:
Soft Contact Lenses
These are considered the most common type of contact lenses. The soft, malleable lenses are easy to adjust to, especially for those that are new to the feeling of contacts.
Additionally, the flexible plastics used in these types of lenses allow for more oxygen to pass through to your cornea, which can help keep your eyes moisturized and prevent irritation.
Of course, the breathable nature of these lenses comes at a price. Soft contact lenses are considered to be less durable than other types of lenses, meaning that they will become worn out and unusable more frequently. This means that you will need to replace them more often than some other types of lenses on this list.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses
Where soft contact lenses are soft and breathable, RGP lenses are made from a thicker plastic, and are much more durable.
Because of this, RGP lenses are considered to be more durable than their counterparts, which means they are also considered to be less expensive in the long-run.
The thicker plastic also means that they are easier to handle and are less likely to tear and rip.
The downside to RGP lenses is that the thicker plastic makes them harder to adjust to in the beginning. They have a higher chance to irritate your eyes, and most likely will take several weeks to adjust to.
Soft contact lenses and RGP lenses make up the two main groups of contact lenses, but there are many other types of contact lenses that make up subsets of the two.
One such type is the PMMA lens. Made from a glass substitute commonly used in shatterproof windows called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), these lenses are a rather old fashioned type of contact lens, and have subsequently been replaced by newer technology.
These lenses excel at providing a clear vision experience thanks to the rigid glass of the lens, but do not allow oxygen to pass through them, which can irritate your eyes, making them hard to adjust to.
Extended Wear Lenses
The last subgroup we will discuss is similar in makeup to the soft contact lens, but are able to be worn for upwards of 6 to 30 days.
These lenses are not usually recommended by doctors because of a heightened risk of eye infection that usually comes with wearing contacts overnight, but with proper care and by talking to your eye doctor about what type of extended wear contact you should choose, you can avoid this.
And of course, if you’re interested in starting with contact lenses, but are overwhelmed by all the choices, talk to your eye doctor today so you can start seeing clearly!