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Not Sure What Contact Lens Is Right For You? Learn More About The 4 Different Contact Lens Options

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Long gone are the days of wearing clunky glasses that get in the way of your daily activities. Contact lenses are an excellent choice for nearly anyone who needs vision correction and does not want to wear glasses full-time or undergo LASIK eye surgery. With all of the different types of contact lenses and convenient options available today, almost anyone can wear contacts. Many people choose to wear them to accommodate their active lifestyles while others enjoy the imperceptible quality because they may not like the way they look while wearing glasses. If you are ready to see the world with new eyes and want to try out contact lenses for the first time, talk to your eye doctor so they can provide you with the correct prescription and type of contact lens best suited for you.

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Contact Lenses And Eye Health

Your contact lenses must be chosen with care and with the help of your eye doctor. Everyone comes in all different shapes and sizes, and so do our eyes, so it is extremely important you choose proper fitting lenses that will not scrape or cause damage. Contacts must allow optimal oxygen flow into your cornea to prevent vision loss and other eye health problems such as infections. 

Your contact lenses should address your vision problems without causing discomfort as well as fit your eye correctly. Your optometrist has the skill and knowledge to determine which lens best satisfies the two criteria mentioned. When you and your optometrist decide on the right lens for you, you will be given a contact lens prescription allowing you to buy a supply of lenses from your optometrist or other outlets.

If you experience discomfort with your contact lenses or want to make the switch from wearing glasses to contact lenses, our Calgary optometrists can help! To find out how we can keep your vision consistently clear and comfortable, contact us at our Crowfoot (403-547-5417), West Springs (403-242-0999), or Creekside (403-516-2292) branches.

Contact Lens Materials

Several different types of contact lenses are available on the market to fit different vision requirements and lifestyles. The first choice when considering contact lenses is which lens material will best satisfy your eye care needs. There are four types of contact lenses based on the type of lens material they are made from:

Soft Lenses

Soft contact lenses are the most common type of prescribed lenses. They are made from gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels that are very pliable and thin. They can be safely worn during sports including water activities and come in disposable or extended-wear options. They conform to the shape of your eye and have minimal to no movement when you blink. Soft contact lenses allow for more oxygen to reach your cornea which is essential for proper eye health. The cornea has no blood supply of its own, so it relies on your tears and the atmosphere around you for oxygen supply. If the cornea is blocked and unable to receive oxygen, you may start to experience eye discomfort with the risk of developing hypoxia in the eye and more vision problems.

Silicone Hydrogel Lenses

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are an advanced type of soft lenses. They are the same as soft lenses meaning that they are made from thin hydrogel plastics, however, they allow up to five times more the amount of oxygen able to reach the cornea in your eye. Silicone lenses were introduced in the hopes of decreasing hypoxia-related problems and increasing the safety of extended and daily wear of soft contact lenses. Due to their increased oxygen transmissibility, silicone hydrogel lenses have allowed many people to wear contacts for longer hours than regular soft contact lenses without feeling any irritation or discomfort.

Gas Permeable Lenses

Gas permeable lenses also known as rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are hard contact lenses that contain silicone compounds to allow for oxygen to pass through to the cornea of your eye. These lenses hold their shape and move every time you blink. This movement bumps the oxygen-containing tears under the contact lens to provide oxygen supply to the cornea. RGP lenses are custom-machined to a smooth surface and maintain their shape on the eye which provides sharper vision than soft lenses. This is especially useful for correcting astigmatism.

Hybrid Contact Lenses

These lenses are designed to provide the same comfort as silicone and soft lenses while providing the same crystal-clear optics that is achieved with gas permeable lenses. Hybrid lenses have a “skirt” of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material surrounding a centralized rigid gas permeable zone. Patients suffering from an irregular-shaped cornea or those who want clear vision without sacrificing the comfort of soft lenses will best benefit from hybrid lenses.

How to Prepare for Your Eye Exam

Our Family-Friendly Optometrists Can Help You See Clearly

Contact lenses will give you a more natural vision without having the annoyance of glasses always getting in your way. They will not prevent you from playing sports, they won’t fog up when you wear a mask, and they move with your eye so nothing blocks your field of view. Remember to take care of them correctly and attentively so you are not at risk of infections or developing hypoxia in your eyes.

Our team of friendly and professional optometrists offers a range of services for your entire family, including eye exams for kids, seniors, and adults. We also offer contact lens fittings, cataract management, and eye emergency care services, so no matter your needs, we can help you achieve and maintain optimal eye health and vision. To learn more, contact us by calling (403) 516-2292 or fill out our online contact form.


FAQs

Q: What are extended wear contact lenses?
A:
Extended wear lenses allow you to wear the contact lenses to sleep and only require a cleaning once a week. They are easier to care for but are less comfortable than daily disposable lenses.

Q: Can both hard and soft contact lenses be bifocal and multifocal?
A:
Yes. Both lens options come in bifocal and multifocal.

Q: Can contact lenses slip and get stuck behind my eye?
A:
No, your contact lens can't slip behind your eye. At worst, you may have trouble finding it under your upper eyelid if you rub your eye and the lens gets dislodged from its correct position. If necessary, your optometrist will be able to assist you to retrieve the lens.


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