Contacts may be disposable or long-term
Contact lenses, also known as soft lenses, are very thin artificial lenses placed directly onto the cornea of the eye. Contact lenses come in a variety of styles and types to address a variety of needs. For the most part, contact lenses are comfortable, secure and allow for correction of near and far vision. People who use contact lenses professionally are trained to care for and maintain their contact lenses.
Long-term contacts (also called permanent contacts) provide a higher level of correction than shorter wearing periods of contact lenses. Contacts can be used for decorative or therapeutic purposes. However, contact lenses that are prescribed by a physician are fitted and made properly to fit each person’s eyes. Each type of contact lens is made differently, and this results in an assortment of options for those who need them. There are three general types of contact lenses: polycarbonate, hydrogel and monovision. Within these three varieties, there are further subtypes depending on the material used in the lens and the preferred form of correction.
Polycarbonate is the most common type of lens
These lenses are made from a hard material such as plastics or polymers. These materials tend to crack or break easily under pressure and are susceptible to smudges and scratches under appropriate conditions. Because of this fragility, polycarbonate contacts often experience high levels of abrasion and can even contain small amounts of air. As a result, it is important to clean and disinfect rigid lenses regularly.
Hydrogel lenses tend to be softer and have a smoother surface than most rigid lens. These lenses are typically approved for sports and other athletic activities. These lenses can also be easily cleaned because they do not contain large amounts of water. For this reason, hygienic rigid lenses are typically placed in disposable containers during travel.
The third type of lens is the one-step system
One-step systems typically involve one solution that is either one of two chemical types, such as bromine or potassium hydrochloride. The other solution is a neutralizer that kills bacteria. This allows the user to get rid of any bacteria present on the lens through one-step, one-time cleaning. This option can produce a more polished surface than either polycarbonate or hydrogel lenses.
All of these choices can result in contact lens wear that is less than desirable for some wearers. In order to reduce these complications, wearers can choose among the aforementioned options. For more information, our website includes a comprehensive list of tips and resources for reducing the risk of these complications. For example, one tip is to keep our eyes clean by gently wiping them with a wet cloth or cotton swab every few days, and to ask our optometrists for recommended products to help combat infections and other complications.