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Varieties of Contact Lenses, Their Advantages and Drawbacks

August 2, 2018

If you are considering the switch from glasses to contact lenses, you may have found that the variety of styles and types of contact lenses can be a bit overwhelming. OCLI wants to help you determine what contact lenses would be right for your eyes and your condition.

The first choice is rigid gas-permeable lenses. These lenses are made with a type of slightly flexible plastic that allows oxygen to pass through into the eye. The advantages of rigid gas-permeable lenses include excellent vision and a short adaptation period. They also are comfortable for most people to wear and they correct most vision problems. They also have a relatively long life and come in a variety of tints that allow for fashion choices with your lenses.

The rigid gas-permeable lenses also have their disadvantages. Initially, they are not as comfortable as soft contact lenses.  Wearers must consistently wear these lenses to maintain the adaptation. The lenses can slip off the center of the eye more easily than other kinds of lenses. Also, debris can get under them and cause significant eye irritation. If not cleaned with care, the lenses are at risk of becoming scratched.

The second choice is daily-wear soft lenses. These lenses are made of a soft, flexible plastic that allows oxygen to pass through to the eyes. They have the advantage of a very short adaptation period and in many cases are more comfortable and more difficult to dislodge from their location in the eye than rigid gas-permeable lenses are. The lenses are available in tints and bifocals. Many optometrists recommend the daily wear soft lenses for patients who tend to have a more active lifestyle.

Daily-wear soft lenses have their negative aspects. One of the major drawbacks is that these types of lenses do not solve all vision problems. The vision level may also not be as sharp as with rigid gas-permeable lenses. The lenses tend to wear out much more easily and require replacement on a regular basis.

Many people are considering the idea of extended-wear contact lenses that would allow them to wear the lenses while sleeping and in many cases for days at a time. Regular extended-wear lenses can be soft or rigid gas-permeable. In some cases, you can find lenses the FDA will approve for wearing up to 30 days.

The lenses unfortunately are like soft lenses in that they cannot be used to correct all kinds of vision problems. Because of their extended contact with the eye between cleanings, they can increase the risk of eye infection and complications.

The disposable versions of extended lenses have many of the same advantages and disadvantages of their non-disposable counterparts, with the added benefit that they do not require cleaning. There is a slightly lower risk of eye infection if you follow all instructions, and spare lenses would be available should a lens be lost or torn. However, again, these lenses don’t correct all vision problems or provide vision as sharp as rigid gas-permeable lenses.

The final version to consider is planned-replacement lenses. These soft daily-wear lenses are designed to be replaced on a regular schedule. They have the advantage of simplified cleaning and they’re good in many cases for eye health. The vision is not as sharp as that provided by rigid gas-permeable lenses, and they do not correct all vision problems.

These are just a few of the matters for you to think about as you consider the move to contact lenses. It’s important that you consider the best source of advice when it comes to contact lenses and your eye health: your eye doctor. The staff at OCLI will be happy to meet with you and explain how the lenses you are interested in will affect your eyes and any conditions you might be treating. Contact OCLI today!

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