Contact lenses wearers have many options to choose from, with so many types of contact lenses available. Finding the right type of lens for you will mean learning more about the different types of lenses to choose from. Taking into consideration your vision needs and lifestyle, you should have no problem finding a pair of lenses that will work for you. Contact lenses can take your vision to the next level, but they can also do wonders for your confidence if you normally feel self-conscious when wearing your glasses. With so many advances made to contact lens technology, there are several options available, even for people with severe visual impairment.
Choosing lenses will depend on your eye care specialist’s recommendations, the type of lenses your vision insurance will cover, and personal preference. These days, there are several options available, and because of this, finding the right type of contacts can be a confusing task and one that will take plenty of research on your part. Knowing which type of lens will work for you will involve understanding the different lens options available. Take into consideration your insurance, budget, lifestyle, and vision needs. Below, you’ll find information regarding the different contact lens types, their pros and cons and what you can expect in terms of quality, care, and comfort.
With contacts, you’ll need to ensure you follow the correct care instructions, which can involve purchasing contact lens cases, solution, special cleaners, and more. Of course, your doctor will go over care instructions and requirements before lenses are even prescribed, in order to determine whether or not you are able to keep up on contact hygiene.
To learn more, click here to read my article on tips for contact lens wearers…
This type of lens comes with many advantages. Since the 1970s, many changes have been made in order to create hard lenses that are healthier and more comfortable. These advances resulted in the popular rigid gas permeable lenses, which allow more oxygen to pass through to the cornea and lenses that are slightly flexible. These lenses are still categorized as hard contacts because they will maintain their shape when on the eye. Aside from improved airflow, these contacts offer many health benefits. They can help to slow down the development of nearsightedness in adult and young lens wearers and can be a more affordable option compared to disposable lenses. Caring for these lenses will require using the best contact lens solution designed to kill bacteria and remove any debris that clings to the surface of the lens. These contacts must be soaked nightly in order to reduce the risk of eye infections.
Other advantages include:
- Easy to care for
- Will not dehydrate the eyes
- Retain shape
- Easy to put in
- Offer crisp, clear vision
- Can correct astigmatism
- Available in multifocal and bifocal
But what are the disadvantages linked to hard lenses?
- Many people will choose to opt for a different type of lens other than hard lenses because hard lenses can:
- Get scratched
- Must be worn consistently in order to feel comfortable
- Debris is able to accumulate under the lens
- Can become dislodged easily from the center of the eye
Hard lenses are often preferred by people who want to lower their risk of eye infections and for people who do not like the feel of soft contact lenses.
These lenses became a popular option when they first became approved back in 1971. But why were they so popular? These lenses are easier to adjust and will stay in place better than hard lenses. The flexible plastic material is combined with water in order to allow oxygen to easily pass through the lens directly to the cornea. This does wonders when it comes to maintaining eye health and improving wearer comfort. The lenses work to correct age-related loss of vision, blurred vision, farsightedness, and nearsightedness.
But these lenses are not without their drawbacks. Many people will opt for hard lenses because soft lens use comes with a higher risk of eye infections and are not nearly as durable as hard contacts. Soft lenses are also more pricey since they need to be replaced more frequently.
These lenses have gained popularity in recent years. They have a reputation for being impressively comfortable. The lenses are mainly chosen for people who struggle with chronic dry eye, people with corneal degeneration, corneal deformity, and people with astigmatism.
Disposable soft lenses first made an appearance in 1987 and provided a more convenient and healthier lens option than soft contacts. These contacts are designed to be worn for a short period of time and are a perfect choice for people who have allergies, or contact lens wearers who want an option that lowers their risk of eye infections. As I mentioned earlier, with rigid contacts, the buildup of debris and contaminants can lead to eye infections. But disposable lenses require minimal disinfection and cleaning before they’re tossed out. These days, soft lenses are available as daily disposables, or weekly, or monthly disposables.
Daily Wear Lenses
There are many different types of soft lenses available. Other options included daily and extended wear. Contacts designed for daily wear can be worn during the day and should be removed at night for disinfecting and cleaning. These contacts can be reused daily based on their expiration date.
Extended Wear Lenses
These contacts can be kept in while you sleep, however, they should be removed for disinfecting and cleaning once a week. Wearing them while you sleep can increase the risk of eye infections, which is why many eye care specialists caution against wearing these lenses during sleep.
You may be surprised to learn that not all vision insurance providers will cover the cost of contact lenses, especially soft lenses. However, there are some exceptions, but in order for your insurance to pay for the full cost of your contacts, your doctor must deem contact lenses as medically necessary, meaning you will benefit more from wearing contact lenses than glasses.
Contact lenses that are deemed medically necessary will be fully covered by most vision insurance providers. These contact lenses are prescribed to provide vision that’s superior to soft contact lenses or glasses.
People with an irregular cornea have corneas that are warped due to an underlying vision condition such as keratoconus. Patients with this type of condition will benefit from medically necessary contacts, especially since soft contacts will not work well with corneal irregularities.
People with severe cases of dry eye lack the proper tear film, which will lead to friction across the cornea each time they blink. Because of this, scleral contact lenses can be a great choice and one that works to provide a constant source of fluid to the eye. At the same time, the lenses will protect the eye from further irritation, which can occur with blinking.
Are Soft Contacts Bad?
Instead of providing crisp vision, soft lenses basically drape the cornea like a wet blanket, which is why soft lenses are rarely considered medically necessary. However, some doctors may recommend them for patients who have a hard time caring for rigid lenses.
Are Your Lenses Covered?
Most health insurance companies offer a vast scope of coverage and don’t always understand the real need for medically necessary contacts, which is why coverage is not always guaranteed.
Making the Right Choice
So, which type of lenses should you choose? This can be a difficult decision, but if you’re honest with yourself, you may find that the answer is rather simple. Will you have a hard time staying on top of hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting your lenses? Then rigid lenses may not be the best option for you. If you’re on a tight budget, then disposable and soft lenses may also be out of the question, since the monthly costs can quickly add up, depending on how much coverage your insurance provides. In the end, you and your doctor can determine which type of lenses will work the best for you and your unique vision needs.
As you can see, there are many different types of contact lenses available. Choosing a specific type can be difficult for new contact lens wearers, since many will not know what to expect in terms of comfort, fit, and care needs. Additionally, you may also struggle to afford the high cost that’s linked to certain types of contacts, depending on your insurance coverage and whether or not the insurance provider deems the type of contacts you wear as medically necessary. In most cases, your eye care specialist will be able to prescribe the kind of contacts that you’ll benefit from the most since these contacts will work for your specific vision needs. Speak with your doctor regarding hygiene and cleaning needs for each type of contact lens, in order to pinpoint which type of contact lenses will work the best for you.