Types of Contact Lenses

Dec 27, 2021 | Contact Lenses

If you are confused about what contacts you need, you are not alone. With more recent advancements in technology, there are so many different types of contact lenses available. From daily wear contacts to specialty contact lenses, it can be hard to know what is out there, let alone which contacts you need.

At Spring House Eye Associates, we want to help clear up the confusion and are breaking down all the different types of contact lenses.

Contact Len Options

Part of the confusion surrounding contact lenses is that there are several different factors at play when it comes to determining the type.

Contact lenses can be classified by:

  • Material
  • Wearing period
  • Replacement schedule
  • Type of vision correction
  • Tint

Each of these groupings may also include several different kinds of contact lenses underneath them.

The Types of Contact Lenses Explained

Contacts include a wide assortment of lenses that depend on considerations like your vision needs and how long you want to wear them. They can be classified by a few different factors.

Contact Len Materials

Contacts are commonly classified by the material they are made of, and over the years the preferred material has changed with new technological advancements.

Common types of contact lenses by material include:

  • Soft lenses- made of gel-like plastic (hygrogels) that are often easier to adjust to for new contact lens users
  • Silicon hydrogel lenses- type of soft contact lens that allows for more oxygen flow
  • Rigid glass permeable- more rigid hard contact lenses that are durable and provide sharper vision than soft contact lenses
  • PMMA- type of hard contact lens made of a stiff plastic that is now mostly outdated
  • Hybrid contact lenses- made of a rigid glass permeable center and an outer ring of hydrogel material that is meant to give the user the best of both worlds

Contact Lens Wearing Period

Along with the material they are made of, contact lenses can also be classified by how long they are meant to be worn. When you get contacts, your doctor will write you a prescription that includes the preferred wearing time of the lenses.

Types of contact lenses by wearing period include:

  • Daily wear- can be worn for up to 18 hours but should be removed overnight 
  • Extended wear- typically soft contact lenses that can be worn overnight; most are meant to be worn no longer than a week but there are some types of contacts that can be worn for up to a month

Determining the wearing period for your contacts may depend on a few factors including your eye health and lifestyle. In rare cases, extended-wear contacts may cause issues for some people. Our optometrists in Spring House and Glenside will recommend what they believe is best for you.

Contact Lens Replacement Schedule

Contact lenses can also differ based on their replacement schedule. While some contacts should only be worn once before being disposed of, others may be cleaned and worn again.

Different contact lens replacement schedules include:

  • Daily disposable- worn for one day and then disposed of
  • Disposable- used once and disposed of every one to two weeks
  • Frequent or planned replacement- discarded and replaced after a regular set of time; most commonly every two weeks, one month, or one quarter
  • Unplanned replacement lenses- (also called conventional lenses)no pre-determined replacement schedule; can be used as long as they remain undamaged

To avoid any potential problems or eye irritation, you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations for contact lens use.

Contact Lenses by Vision Correction

One of the most important factors in determining which contacts lenses you need depends on your vision needs.

Contact lenses are designed for different types of vision correction such as:

  • Spherical- for nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Toric– for astigmatism
  • Bifocals- for focusing on reading or other up-close activities

After an eye exam, your doctor will be able to determine your vision correction needs.

Contact Lens Tints

Depending on the wants of the individual, contacts may also have different tints. These tints can be used for cosmetic reasons as well as practical purposes.   

Different types of contacts based on tint include:

  • Clear- no tint
  • Cosmetic enhancement tint- used to enhance a person’s natural eye color
  • Opaque or cosmetic tint- used to change the color of the eye
  • Visibility tint- does not change the color of the eye but does make the lenses easier to see when handled

Not only are there several different types of contact lenses out there, but also there are a variety of brands and sizes. Finding a pair that fits comfortably and meet your needs can be overwhelming, but at Spring House Eye Associates, we are here to guide you through this process. Our comprehensive contact lens exam can help you find the right pair of contact lenses for you.

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