Soft options: finding the right contact lenses for you
Contact lenses come in two main types: soft (made of a hydrated polymerized soft lens material) and gas permeable (or rigid gas permeable), which are less flexible.
Soft lenses are so named becaue of their soft structure, which means they are very comfortable to wear. They cover the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and cornea (the transparent front part), and rest on the sclera (the white of the eye).
They are most commonly replaced daily (the most popular type in the UK), fortnightly, monthly and in some cases three-monthly or six-monthly. The lenses may be used for a single day or for up to 30 days of extended (aka ‘continuous’) wear. Multifocal lenses are also available.
All lenses other than Dailies must be cleaned with a specific solution and regime.
We also custom make contact lenses for people who want the convenience and excellent vision provided by contact lenses but who have sensitive eyes, dry eyes or complex prescriptions which otherwise prevent them from buying standard lenses.
Soft Contact Lenses
In the UK there are approximately 3.7 million contact lens wearers according to the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA); of these the majority are wearing soft contact lenses.
Soft contact lenses are the most popular choice for a number of reasons. They are made from the latest optical technology, making them comfortable, flexible and extremely breathable for long hours of wear. Their adaptable design also means they are compatible for almost anyone who wants to wear lenses.
A soft contact lens wearer also has much more freedom than a gas permeable wearer who is often bound by strict wearing patterns. Soft lenses can be worn sporadically and therefore are a great choice for anyone wants to switch between lenses and glasses frequently.
As everyone leads different lifestyles soft contact lenses are supplied in a variation of different wearing patterns, these are:
- Daily Disposable also known as dailies and are designed to be worn for one day and then thrown away. They require no additional products such as contact lens solution, although wearers sometimes find it handy to have some eye drops available if their eyes start to dry out.
- Two-weekly Disposable are sometimes referred to as weekly wear lenses. As the name suggests they are worn daily for a period of two weeks then replaced for a new pair. Two-weekly contact lenses require daily cleaning and storage overnight. For this you will need a compatible contact lens solution. We will recommend one that works best, but now day’s most multi-purpose solutions are safe to use with soft contact lenses. If you’re wearing silicone hydrogel lenses it’s worth double checking these are compatible if buying your own lens solution.
- Monthly Disposable are often called monthlies, and similar to two-weekly lenses they are worn daily, cleaned and stored overnight. You wear these lenses for a month and then change them for a new pair.
- Extended Wear are contact lenses are made from silicone hydrogel, one of the latest advancements in lens technology. The silicone hydrogel material allows up to five times more oxygen to reach the eyes surface than that of a traditional soft lens, making these contact lenses exceptional breathable.
If you’re interested in silicone hydrogel lenses please keep in mind that not all lenses made from this material are designed for extended wear. There are daily, two-weekly and monthly silicone hydrogel lenses available such as Day Acuvue Trueye, Clariti and Avaira.
Extended wear contact lenses are also a popular choice because they can be worn continuously for a period of time, usually no great than 30 days. This means you don’t need to take them out when you sleep or shower, making them extremely low maintenance.
In a fix
Like all of us, spectacles can go out of shape or simply get a bit worn out. But help is at hand from our dispensing opticians as they can straighten, adjust, re-fit and repair.