Contact Lenses: Colored, Soft, Hard, Toric and Bifocal

Bifocal Contact Lenses

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

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.

How Do I Know Which Type of Contact Lens Is Right For Me?

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.

Who Should Not Wear Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses are generally not prescribed for people who:

  • Do not produce enough tears
  • Are constantly exposed to fumes
  • Have a history of viral infection of the cornea
  • Are under age 9

Where Do I Go to Get Contacts Lenses?

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:

  • Convenience. Is customer service readily available to assist you if need be? Does the company have policies with regard to contact lenses damaged during shipping?
  • Insurance coverage. Be sure to contact your insurance company about their policy on contact lenses. This should be done before being fitted for contact lenses. Many plans offer discounts on contact lenses as long as they are purchased from specific retailers. Many plans also do not cover disposable or specialty contact lenses such as colored or bifocal contact lenses.
  • Availability. Are your contact lenses in stock? Are you willing to wait longer if necessary for your contact lenses to arrive?

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.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, WebMD, November 2004.

Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005

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