A Beginner's Guide to Contact Lenses

Are you thinking of wearing contact lenses? From “what types of contact lenses” are available to “how to wear them”, you may have a lot of questions about being a first-time contact wearer. Contact lenses are a great option for those who need a break from wearing eyeglasses or have corrective surgery. At Pearle Vision, our eye care experts are here to answer all your questions or concerns about prescription contacts.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there are several types of contacts available, so there are plenty of options to try out if one doesn’t work for you.

Types of Contact Lenses

      1. Soft Lenses

      Soft contacts are very thin lenses made from hydro gels – a gel-like, plastic material that contains water. These are the most popular types of contacts because they are very comfortable to wear and the most affordable. How much are disposable contacts? Disposable contact lenses can vary in price and go up as the refractive error or specialty needs increase. The most expensive lenses are bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, contact lenses for astigmatism, presbyopia, and contacts for reading (farsightedness). If you have insurance, your policy may help offset some of the cost.

      2. Silicone Hydrogel Lenses

      Silicone hydrogel lenses are an advanced type of soft lens designed with more pores to allow more oxygen to reach the cornea. These types of lenses are also very popular among contact wearers. However, they are pricier than regular soft lenses. Make sure to consult your eye doctor and insurance provider about your options.

      3. Colored Contact Lenses

      Colored contact lenses are often used by people wanting to change their eye color and can cost significantly more than regular, disposable contacts. If you plan to wear them daily, you can purchase prescription colored contacts to correct a refraction error, such as myopia or astigmatism. Color contacts for light eyes should have an enhancement tint that defines the edges of your iris and deepens your natural color for a more realistic look. Hazel or opaque colored contact lenses for dark eyes are best if going for a natural enhancement. If you’re looking for where to buy non-prescription colored contacts, you can find them at retail stores or online. For prescription colored contact lenses, ask your eye doctor.

      4. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contacts

      RGP contacts designed for long-term and extended use (approved for daily wear up to a year) will typically cost more than disposable contacts. RGP contacts are hard contact lenses made of silicone-containing material that allow oxygen to pass through the lens material to the eye, allowing it to “breathe” better. In most cases, these type of contact lenses must be ordered custom-made for each individual patient. How much are these contacts without insurance? You’ll want to call your eyecare center to confirm as pricing may vary. However, if you do use your insurance, you may receive a reduced out-of-pocket expense, depending on your coverage.

      5. Hybrid Contact Lenses

      Hybrid contact lenses combine the soft, comfortable feel of silicone hydrogel lenses with the clear optics of RGP lenses. They’re designed with a central zone of rigid permeable that is surrounded by silicone hydrogel material. These lenses can be difficult to adjust to and more expensive than your average soft lenses.

      6. Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) Contact Lenses

      PMMA contacts were the first lenses invented and are made from a transparent rigid plastic material. While these lenses provide wearers with clear vision, they can be difficult to adjust to as they don’t have pores to allow oxygen to reach the cornea. These contact lenses are rarely prescribed and have mostly been replaced by RGP lenses.

      Extended vs. Daily Wear Contact Lenses

      Depending on the brand you choose, how long you can wear a pair of contacts will vary from a day to a month. Typically, lenses are classified by these wearing times:

      • Daily Wear: These types of contacts must be removed nightly, disinfected, and reused only for the recommended amount of time.

      • Extended Wear or Overnight Contacts: These contact lenses can be worn overnight, generally for seven consecutive days without needing to be removed.

      • Continuous Wear: These types of lenses have been approved by the FDA to be worn up to 30 consecutive days without removal.

      Types of Disposable Lenses

      Regardless of the type of contact lens you choose, make sure to follow the appropriate steps for putting your contacts in and cleaning them to reduce your risk of eye infections, such as pink eye. In addition, you’ll want to replace them regularly as recommended below, depending on the type of lenses you choose:

      • Daily Disposable Lenses: These types of lenses have been approved by the FDA to be worn up to 30 consecutive days without removal.

      • Disposable Lenses: Replace every two weeks, or sooner

      • Frequent Replacement Lenses: Replace monthly

      • Reusable Lenses: Replace every six months

Ready for contacts? Schedule an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision to get started.

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