Contact Lens Practice
Soft Contact Lenses (Daily, Biweekly, Monthly, Quarterly)Daily-Wear Lenses
Daily-wear soft contact lenses are by far the most popular type of contacts worn. Made of a flexible plastic polymer, daily-wear lenses are put in each morning and taken out each night. They are replaced according to an established schedule.
Extended-wear soft contact lenses can be worn all the time, including while you sleep. Depending on whether you have 7-day (standard) or 30-day lenses, you only need to take out and clean your contacts once a week to give the eyes a rest and reduce the risk of a corneal infection. Extended-wear lenses are made of soft silicone that retains moisture longer than daily-wear contacts, allows more oxygen to reach the eye, and prevents bacteria and protein buildup.
Although many patients prefer the convenience of 30-day contacts, be aware that they tend to be stiffer than 7-day lenses, scratch more easily and may be blurrier.
Disposable soft lenses are intended to be thrown out and replaced after you've worn them for a certain length of time. This makes them even easier to maintain than regular soft contacts. Many disposable lenses are designed for replacement each morning, every two weeks, or even every months. Daily-wear disposables are worn during waking hours only, while extended-wear disposables can be worn for longer periods.
Toric Lenses for Astigmatism
Bifocal toric contact lenses are durable lenses that can be made from either soft or rigid gas permeable materials. They are usually recommended for patients with astigmatism, who often find it difficult to achieve clear vision by wearing soft contact lenses because of the elongated shape of their corneas. Bifocal toric lenses typically require a longer time for a fitting than regular soft contact lenses, and will entail extra care to stay in place on the eye.
Bifocal toric contact lenses contain two corrective powers, one to treat the astigmatism and the other to correct either myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). The lenses help maximize vision and accommodate the astigmatism. Bifocal toric contact lenses are available in a variety of forms including daily, weekly and monthly disposables, as well as with colored options.
Multifocal/Bifocal or Monovision Lenses for Presbyopia
Presbyopia, which is the visual inability of the lens of the eye to focus on objects that are close, may take years to develop. Patients usually begin to show symptoms of presbyopia in their early- to mid-40s. Bifocal or multifocal eyeglasses will provide patients with presbyopia the ability to see clearly at all distances.
Bifocal and multifocal lenses allow patients to focus on both nearby and distant objects without the need to switch contact lenses. More than one prescription is combined into a single lens of the eyeglass.
Lenses for Dry Eye
With advances in optical technology, most people can use contact lenses, regardless of the type or extent of their vision problems. For patients with dry eyes, however, contact lenses were often not an option because they were uncomfortable and intensified the symptoms of their condition.
People who suffer from chronic dry eye may experience symptoms such as dryness, redness, itchiness, burning and watering of the eyes. Often, wearing contact lenses can exacerbate these symptoms. There are currently new types of contact lenses and contact lens care products available, that allow people with chronic dry eye to comfortably wear contact lenses.
Contact lenses made of a lens material with a higher water content may be effective. Lenses with a high water content initially provide more moisture for the eye surface. There are also special dome-shaped scleral contact lenses that rest on the sclera, or the white part of the eye. A pool of saline solution lies underneath the contact, continuously bathing the dry eye and reducing irritation and itchiness. Gas permeable contact lenses are also an option because they require less moisture to stay comfortable. Silicone hydrogel lenses may also be effective because they enable more oxygen to reach the cornea, and can reduce redness and discomfort caused by dry eye.
Supplementing contact lens wear with lubricating eye drops can also help to reduce the symptoms of dry eye. Different cleaning and disinfecting products may also work better to keep contacts moist and comfortable.
Colored Soft Contact Lenses to Enhance or Change Eye Color
Colored soft contact lenses are an effective tool for correcting vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, while simultaneously offering an aesthetic edge. In addition to addressing vision problems, these lenses can enhance or completely change your eye color. Most colored contact lenses are designed to mimic the natural look of the iris, or colored part of the eye. There are several tint options available for colored soft contact lenses.
This lens has a light blue or green tint that does not change eye color. This tint makes the lens easier to insert into the eye and to find if it is dropped.
This lens has a translucent tint that enhances the natural color of the eye. These lenses are often used by people who have light-colored eyes and want to make their natural eye color more intense.
This contact lens has an opaque tint that can completely change eye color. Soft color contacts with opaque tints are available in a variety of colors, including hazel, green, blue, violet, amethyst, gray, and brown.
Soft colored contact lenses are typically more comfortable than hard lenses, when inserted into the eyes. They are made of a type of soft plastic combined with water. Water allows oxygen to pass through the contact lens to the cornea, reducing dryness, which in turn increases comfort.