There are two major types of contact lenses: Soft Contact Lenses and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. All patients considering contact lenses must have a thorough eye examination and contact lens fitting to obtain a valid prescription.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft Contact Lenses are made of soft water-containing, flexible plastics, called “hydrogels”, that allow oxygen to pass to the cornea to maintain its health and clarity. Because they are soft, thin and flexible, Soft Contact Lenses are often easier to adapt to than Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. Newer Soft Contact Lenses are made with silicone, and allow an even greater amount of oxygen to reach the cornea. Soft Contact Lenses require careful cleaning and disinfection, as they tend to attract deposits of protein from your tear film.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses (RGPs) are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup, and generally give clearer, crisper vision. They are easier to handle and less likely to tear. However, the initial comfort is usually not as great as with soft contacts, and it may take several weeks of adaptation in order to get used to wearing RGPs.
Contact Lenses for Astigmatism
Patients who have astigmatism usually have an unequal curvature of their cornea causing it to look more like a football than a basketball. Contact Lenses that correct astigmatism are called “toric” lenses. Toric lenses are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable materials. Toric contact lenses require a greater degree of fitting expertise in order to obtain the most precise vision.
Multifocal Contact Lenses
Multifocal Contact Lenses have become increasingly popular as a greater number of patients enter their 40's and wish to continue enjoying the benefits of contact lens wear without being dependent on eyeglasses for close vision throughout their day. Multifocal Contact Lenses are available in a number of different designs, materials and prescriptions that are useful for successfully fitting a wide range of patients. The key to success is a careful thorough examination and fitting along with helping each patient understand their actual vision correction needs.