Contact lenses can be used for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons but are usually implemented to correct vision. There are two main types of vision correcting contact lenses – soft and rigid.
Both types are gas permeable meaning they allow oxygen to pass through the lenses to the eye in order to keep the corneas healthy, preventing swelling which could lead to problems with vision.
Our expertly trained optometrists will explain the options available to you and advise which option will be best suited to your vision and lifestyle.
Soft contact lenses are the most common choice as they are easy to take care of and are more comfortable to wear than rigid ones. These lenses consist of different proportions of water which makes them flexible and are typically made from hydrogel, silicone hydrogel or polymacon.
‘Progressive’ or ‘multifocal’ versions of soft lenses avoid the need for reading glasses and also act to correct an age-related condition known as presbyopia which causes blurred vision when viewing objects at short distance.
Soft lenses come as both disposable and permanent (also known as ’continuous wear’). Daily disposable lenses require less cleaning and offer a reduced risk of infection. Disposables can also be purchased for longer use, being replaced after two weeks, a month or three months and therefore need to be cleaned after each use to prevent infection. Permanent contact lenses are designed to be worn day and night continuously for the set time period prescribed by your optometrist.
Rigid (‘rigid gas permeable’ or ‘RGP’) are better than soft contact lenses for correcting astigmatism due to the refractive surface laying over the corneas. These lenses are also very durable and can last years in some cases. However, they require a thorough cleaning and care schedule to prevent infection and can take a longer time to adjust to before feeling comfortable due to the reduced flexibility when compared to soft lenses.
A scleral contact lens is a larger RGP lens that covers the whole cornea and rests on the scleral (the white part of the eye). Scleral lenses can be used to counteract conditions such as dry eye syndrome or keratoconus and can be used to aid those with a sensitive cornea for whom standard contact lenses may be uncomfortable. Scleral lenses can also be implemented for people recovering from eye injuries.
Cosmetic and special effect lenses are often used for theatrical purposes, for instance to change an eye colour, but they can also be used to hide eye injuries or disfigurement in certain cases.