Like glasses, different types of contact lenses will suit different people. Thinking about contacts?
You need to think about:
There’s a lot to think about – but chatting through with your optometrist is a great first move. “When you go and see an optometrist to discuss contact lenses, as a first step they’ll go through all of the options with you,” says Bupa optometrist Karen Makin.
Here’s a cheat sheet for what you’ll talk about.
You’ll need to decide between hard contact lenses – also known as rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses – and soft contact lenses.
Makin says soft contact lenses are by far the most common choice because they’re comfortable to wear virtually straight away, difficult to dislodge and ideal for when you're on the go.
“There are some people who’ve worn hard lenses all their life and they want to stay with them, but soft lenses are absolutely the way the vast majority of contact lens wearers go,” she says.
Soft contact lenses are usually disposable. The most common types are daily wear contact lenses, which you can wear in the day and remove and clean every night for a set period of time, or even throw away after each daily use.
The other option is extended wear contact lenses, which you can wear up to 30 days and nights (although your eyes will need a break during this period).
“Daily replacement lenses are certainly on the way up and they’re what is being prescribed most these days,” says Makin.
If you’re bothered by glare but don’t want to fumble around with sunglasses, Transitions contact lenses are an ideal choice.
“They’re not necessarily for everybody, but they can be recommended for people who do a lot of outdoor activity, whether that be sport or working outdoors,” says Makin.
With the practical and lifestyle factors aside, the best type of contact lenses for you will naturally be the ones that address your specific vision problems.
Makin says that if you have astigmatism, you’ll likely be prescribed toric lenses. If you normally wear multifocal glasses, you’ll usually be prescribed multifocal contact lenses. And if you’re simply short-sighted or long-sighted, you’ll be prescribed spherical lenses.
How do teeny-tiny bits of plastic help you see better? Here’s an explainer on how contact lenses work.
Contact lenses are popular for a reason – they make life much easier for many people with vision issues. However, they might not be the right option for everyone.
Daily disposable (or ‘one day’) contacts are a great option if your optometrist thinks they’re right for your prescription.