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Types of contact lenses
Contact lenses were first recognized in 1945 by the American Optometric Association. Over 38 million people wear contacts in the United States alone with international numbers topping 125 million. As more and more people receive proper eye care, the use of contact lenses continues to grow. Recent innovations in design and advancements in lens technology have led to a significant increase in choice, comfort and ease of use. Lenses can be hard, soft, or somewhere in between. There are further choices relating to how long lenses can be worn, the material used in production and how many uses lenses have. Different options are suitable for different lifestyles and activity levels, but an ophthalmologist or optometrist can help you make sure you choose the lenses best for your personal situation.
Soft Disposable
In 1960, experiments to make contacts out of water-absorbing (hydrophilic) plastic began, and the first soft lens made of such material became available commercially in the U.S. in 1971. The water content of today’s soft lenses ranges from just under 40 percent up to about 80 percent. They normally cover all of the cornea and part of the sclera (white of the eye).
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses
The first RGP lenses were introduced commercially in 1979. Also called oxygen permeable lenses, RGP contacts are made of a variety of silicone-acrylate combinations. They normally cover about two-thirds of the cornea.
Daily Wear Contacts
Daily wear contacts are intended to be worn for an entire day, generally around eighteen hours, and are designed to be comfortable for hours on end. Daily wear contacts can be reusable or disposable, meaning they are discarded after several uses.
Extended Wear Contacts
Daily wear contacts must be removed before sleeping but extended wear contacts can be comfortably worn both night and day.
Spherical Contacts
Spherical contacts are simple spherical lenses used to treat myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia.
Toric Contacts
Toric lenses are cylindrical lenses that rely on gravity and lid interaction to rotate to the right angle in order to correct the warp in the cornea that causes astigmatism.
Multifocal / Bifocal
Bifocal and multifocal contacts are intended for individuals with presbyopia. These lenses can provide two or more corrections that gradually shift throughout the contact to provide corrective refraction for aging eyes, both alone and in conjunction with additional disorders.
Advantages of contact lenses
While both glasses and contact lenses offer excellent solutions to vision problems, contact lenses offer some distinct advantages you may have not realized...
  • Worn right on the eye, for more natural vision.
  • Your entire field of view is in focus. This is especially important in sports and driving.
  • With contacts, no annoying obstructions or reflections are in view.
  • No weight and resulting discomfort. No frame constantly slipping down your nose.
  • Contacts don't fog up.
  • Contact lenses won't collect precipitation and blur your vision.
  • A whole wardrobe of fashionable, functional, affordable sunglasses is available to contact lens wearers.