Different types of contact lenses suit different lifestyles and vision problems. If you’re considering contact lenses, this is what you need to know about the options.
Once you’ve decided to give contact lenses a try, the next step is to work out which type is best for you. Your choice depends on four main factors:
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t worry – your optometrist can help.
“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.
In the meantime, here’s an overview to help you get ready for your appointment.
When it comes to lens materials, you’ll need to decide between hard contact lenses – also known as rigid gas permeable (RPG) 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 active people.
“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 are either worn in the day and removed and cleaned every night for a set period of time, or even thrown away after each daily use, and ‘extended wear’ contact lenses, which can be worn for 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, transition 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.
Practical and lifestyle considerations aside, the best type of contact lenses for you 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.
“There’s not really many options here because we want you to see well,” says Makin.