Soft Disposable Contact Lenses
1) These lenses can be worn either as an Extended Wear Lens or a Daily Wear Lens.
2) The main advantage of disposable lenses is that you always have fresh, clean lenses on your eyes. Most of the complications we see with soft contact lenses are related to "dirty" lenses.
3) After two weeks of wearing the lenses, they are simply discarded.
4) No time is spent cleaning, enzyming, or disinfecting lenses.
5) If a lens is lost or damaged, you always have a new lens at home for immediate use.
6) The use of solutions are minimal.
Soft Extended Wear Contact Lenses
1) These lenses can remain on the eyes for one week at a time.
2) These lenses require less solutions than Daily Wear Lenses because they are removed from the eyes only once per week.
3) When these lenses are removed from the eyes, they must be cleaned with Daily Cleaner and Enzymatic Cleaner, and placed in a Disinfecting Solution.
4) Generally these lenses need to be replaced about every two years because of a build-up of protein and lipid deposits on the lens surface which can not be removed. A few patients need to replace these lenses more often.
Soft Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is the result of having a cornea that is irregular in shape. The cornea is normally round. An astigmatic cornea is oblong or "football" shaped, resulting in a condition that generally causes eyestrain, headaches and blurry vision. Astigmatism is often associated with nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Soft Toric Contact Lenses
Contact lens research over the last several years has resulted in the development of a high performance, comfortable and easy to care for contact lens that corrects astigmatism. It is called a "soft toric lens". The Toric lens is specially designed to accomodate the irregularly-shaped cornea and provide crisp, clear vision. What's more, as a soft lens, the Toric is more comfortable, easier to wear, and easier to adjust to than the rigid lenses which had previously been prescribed for astigmatism.
Soft Bifocal Contact Lenses
These are soft contact lenses that correct vision for individuals who require a different lens correction for their near vision and their far vision. Basically, if you wear bifocal glasses, then this is an option you could consider.
There are now several different types of soft bifocal contacts available. We find that different brands work for different individuals. We put the contacts on your eyes to determine how well they fit the eye, and how well you see with the lenses. If one type does not work, we try a different brand.
There are disposable brands available. Also, some are designed for "extended wear" so you can leave them on at night.
Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
Gas Permeable contact lenses are rigid lenses that allow oxygen to pass through them. Most brands today have an oxygen permeable between 60 to 90%. Also, they "wet" much better than the first generation gas permeable so they are much more comfortable.
These lenses are used when the patient has astigmatism that cannot be corrected with a toric soft lens. Also, if the cornea is irregular, these lenses allow sharper vision.
The main disadvantage of this type of lens is that it takes a longer period of time for the patient to adapt to wearing the lenses.
(contributed by H. Frank Storey, OD)