Contact Lenses: Colored, Soft, Hard, Toric and Bifocal
Contact lenses have come a long way lately, and offer some exciting options for the consumer. You can bat a pair of baby blues one day, then flash golden tiger eyes the next. You can toss your disposable lenses in the trash each night. Or you can leave in your extended wear lenses for an entire month.
For people with vision problems, contact lenses remain an effective, almost invisible tool. The thin plastic or glass lenses are fitted over the cornea of the eye to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. These days you can wear contact lenses even if you have presbyopia and need bifocals.
You have so many options, how do you choose? Check out your choices of contact lenses here. Then talk with your eye doctor about the contact lens that may work best for you.
Colored Contact Lenses
They're hip and they're fun, but colored contact lenses can also be quite practical. There are four types of colored contact lenses, each offering a slightly different benefit:
Remember, never share colored contacts lenses with anyone. Clean and care for them just as you would any prescription contact lens.
Soft contact lenses are made of a soft plastic and are more comfortable than hard contact lenses because they hold more water. Many soft contact lenses also provide UV protection. They are usually disposable and can be thrown away after a short period of use, generally every two to four weeks or daily, depending on the type of contact lens prescribed. Being able to have a fresh pair of soft contact lenses means less chance of infection, less cleaning, and more comfort, especially for people whose eyes naturally produce more protein that clouds contact lenses.
While most people choose soft contact lenses because of their benefits, there are also some disadvantages. Soft contact lenses easily absorb pollutants like lotion or soap from your hands, which can irritate your eyes. Soft contact lenses are also more fragile than hard contact lenses and can rip or tear easily.
The most recent type of soft contact lenses to hit the market include Daily Disposables and New Silicone Extended Wear Disposables.
Rigid gas permeable lenses, or hard contact lenses, are more rigid than soft contact lenses and therefore more durable. Unlike older versions of hard contact lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses are made with silicone polymers, allowing oxygen to circulate to the cornea of the eye. Compared to soft contact lenses, hard contacts maintain their shape better and offer clearer vision for some types of corrections. They are also easy to take care of and are extremely durable. However, if you are considering this type of hard contact lens, you should know that:
Bifocal contact lenses are designed to give good vision to people who have a presbyopia . These contact lenses work much like bifocal eyeglasses, having two powers on one lens one to correct distant vision and another to correct near vision. Bifocal contact lenses come as both soft and rigid gas permeable lenses.
Toric contact lenses are special lenses for people with astigmatism. Toric contact lenses are made from the same material as other contact lenses and come in soft or rigid gas permeable forms. Like bifocal lenses, toric lenses have two powers, one for the astigmatism and another for nearsightedness or farsightedness if either of these conditions is also present.
The type of vision correction needed, your lifestyle, and expense will all play a role in your eye care specialist's recommendations for the type of contact lenses that you should wear.
Contact lenses are generally not prescribed for people who:
Contact lenses can be purchased from a variety of places including your eye doctor, a store specializing in optical wear, through mail order, or over the Internet. There is no one best place to buy contact lenses from. Before you begin to shop around for contact lenses, make sure you ask your eye doctor for your contact lens prescription. Without your prescription, you must buy your contact lenses directly from your eye doctor.
When shopping for contact lenses, cheaper does not always mean better. Some other things to keep in mind when pricing contact lenses include:
Regardless of where you get your contact lenses, it is important to regularly get eye exams so that any changes in your prescription can be noted and the overall health of your eye maintained.
Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 5:58:42 AM