What are the Different Types of Contact Lenses on the Market?

By: Amy Nutt...

It may come as quite a surprise to a person who has little experience with contact lenses as to exactly how many different varieties there are available. If you're considering making the switch from glasses to contact lenses you should research each type and learn their individual advantages and disadvantages.
Hard Contact Lenses
Hard contact lenses, which are also known as rigid gas permeable or RPG lenses, are made from a semi-stiff plastic that is tough, but will still allow oxygen to pass through to the eye.
Hard contact lenses often the best choice for the single most important part of vision correction, out of all the varieties of contact lenses available, hard lenses turn in the best results in terms of helping the wearer see more clearly.
These contacts are easy to adapt to, relatively comfortable and have a pretty long life, but they require constant wear to maintain the adaptation and have a tendency to become fairly easily dislodged and to slide out of proper position on the eye when compared to other types of lenses.
Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses
These lenses are made from a much softer and more flexible material than hard contact lenses. They are extremely comfortable to wear and a lot more difficult to dislodge than the hard lenses. This fact makes this a much better choice for a person with an active lifestyle - someone who works in a physical type of environment won't want a lens that easily becomes dislodge thereby causing them to have to stop what they are doing in order to be able to see again.
On the downside, they can't correct all vision problems, and the vision improvements may not be quite as good as they would be with hard contact lenses.
Extended Wear Contacts
Depending on the manufacturer, extended wear lenses may be available in the soft and or hard varieties and can be worn for up to almost a week without having to remove them. Extended wear lenses often require regular follow up visits to the optician in order to get the best results and they should be replaced at least once annually to help ensure the highest level of vision correction.
Extended Wear Disposable
This type of lens can be worn for a number of consecutive nights (anywhere from a few to five or six) before being discarded. Extended wear disposable lenses such as Acuvue contacts require little or no cleaning.
You're vision may not be quite as crisp with these as it would with hard contact lenses and extended wear disposables can be a little bit more difficult to handle than other types of contact lenses
Planned Replacement Contact Lenses
These are soft daily wear contacts that are replaced according to a set schedule (i.e. on a monthly basis). They require just a simple cleaning in order to maintain proper eye health, but like the extended wear disposable contact lenses they don't correct vision problems quite as crisply as may the hard contact lenses, and they can't correct all vision problems.
Sometimes a person who is considering making a switch from glasses to contacts will have to go through some or all of the styles before choosing which one if the best possible option for their particular situation. Several factors can go into determining which contact lens is the best for each individual person. Exactly how well each type of lens handles what your particular vision problem is, how active you are, how steadfast you'll be when it comes to the cleaning and maintenance of your lenses and how much money you can afford to spend could all potentially be deciding factors on which contact lens will or won't suit your vision correction situation.

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