Varieties of Contacts

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Contact lenses allow wearers to don fashion sunglasses with perfect vision.
Contact lenses allow wearers to don fashion sunglasses with perfect vision.

Many people who need corrective lenses prefer to wear contacts since they move with the eye, correcting your field of vision without the need to move your head. Contacts do not fog up, become scratched, or get smudged like glasses do and they can be worn during physical activities, when glasses aren't suitable. All contact lenses require a prescription and more follow up visits than their externally worn counterpart.

  1. Rigid Gas-Permeable (RGP)

    • Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses are made of slightly flexible plastics and offer the best vision correction of all the contact lens varieties. They correct most vision problems, are easy to care for and put on, since they don't flip inside out as easily as soft lenses. They also come in bifocal and tinted versions. Since RGP lenses are the most rigid of all the contact lenses, they are also the most likely to pop out or slip off the center of the eye which can be a nuisance. Since these lenses are made to last, they must be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly at the end of each day to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris and lower the infection risk. RGP lenses can be worn for up to two years if your prescription does not change and they are in good condition.

    Daily Wear Soft Lenses

    • Daily disposable contact lenses are worn for only one day before they should be thrown away. These lenses are less durable than other types of contacts, but also provide the healthiest and most convenient option for the wearer. One-day disposables don't require any contact solution for storage, since they are thrown in the trash at the end of the day. These are especially good to wear if you will be participating in any intense sports or going anywhere with a high likelihood of debris blowing in your eyes that might damage more expensive lenses. Soft contact lenses are made of plastics that incorporate water, so they are flexible and allow oxygen to reach the cornea. These contacts are available in bifocals and tints.

    Extended Wear

    • Extended wear contacts can be worn for up to seven days and nights without removing them. Daily wear contact lenses should not be worn to bed since it increases the risk of infection and irritation, but extended wear lenses are made with overnight use in mind. Extended wear contacts are made in both RPG and soft lens types, although only a few RPG lenses are approved for overnight use. Always give your eyes one entire night of rest before replacing your extended wear lenses.

    Extended Wear Disposable

    • Another type of soft lenses, extended wear disposable contacts can be worn for one to six days before being discarded. Vision with the use of extended wear disposables may not be as good as with RGP lenses, but the care is much easier, requiring little or no cleaning.

    Planned Replacement

    • Planned replacement lenses are soft lenses on a set replacement schedule, usually every other week, monthly or quarterly. They are available in most prescriptions and require very little cleaning and disinfection depending on the replacement schedule.

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  • Photo Credit glasses image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com

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