If you’re thinking about switching from glasses to contact lenses, the thought of putting tiny corrective lenses on your eyes might cause some apprehension. Don’t fret. You can always talk to your eye doctor about what’s best for you. Until then, here’s some information on hard and soft contact lenses to help you become familiar with your options.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contacts are the most popular lenses. Soft contact lenses are composed of a type of plastic and water which allow oxygen to reach the eye. They’re comfortable and come in several varieties, many of which are disposable for added convenience. These are some of the different kinds of soft contacts:
- Daily disposables are contacts you wear for one day only, then you can throw them away. This means you don’t have to clean them or risk dry eye or irritation from contact solutions. Your eye doctor may recommend this type of contacts if you have allergies.
- There are also other disposable-wear lenses you can remove nightly and replace on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. They’re convenient and can help with allergies if you tend to form protein deposits on your lenses.
- Extended-wear lenses are worn overnight but must be removed at least weekly for a careful cleaning. Eye doctors are recommending them less frequently because wearing contacts overnight leads to a greater risk of corneal infection.
- There are also different types of colored soft contact lenses that are used to change the color of your eyes, enhance your natural eye color, or even help you locate them if they’re dropped. Keep in mind you should only use colored contacts that are available by prescription, not over-the-counter ones that are illegal and can cause serious eye damage.
Hard Contact Lenses
The hard contact lenses most used today are called RGP or rigid, gas-permeable lenses. Hard contacts are made of silicone or fluoropolymers which allow them to hold their shape. These contacts also permit oxygen to freely flow through the lenses to the cornea. Sometimes, RGP lenses are the preferred choice over soft lenses for correcting astigmatism in the cornea. They’re also helpful if you have allergies or tend to form protein deposits on your contacts.
If you have trouble with both near and far vision, your optometrist may prescribe bifocals or multifocal lenses. These lenses can help correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and presbyopia, which is when your eye loses the ability to focus from far to near as you get older. Bifocal and multifocal lenses are available in both hard contact lenses s and soft contact lenses
Whether you switch to contacts or stick with eyeglasses, VSP Individual Vision Plans have your eye care needs covered. Plans start as low as $13 a month. If you don’t have a vision plan, learn about VSP’s benefits and savings or build a customized vision insurance plan.