Types of Contact Lenses

There are many types of contact lenses, with options to meet virtually any vision need.

All contact lenses allow oxygen to reach the cornea. There are three major types of contact lenses – soft, rigid gas permeable and hybrid – and they are available in designs to accommodate nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. During your consultation, your optometrist will answer any questions you may have and discuss the best lens options for you.

Soft contact lenses

Soft contact lenses are made of flexible plastic material and water, and are called hydrogel and silicone-hydrogel. Soft contact lens types include:

  • Single-use contact lenses: These types of contact lenses are designed to be worn for one day and then disposed at bedtime. You don’t need to clean or disinfect them, as they are individually packed in an amount of solution adequate for one day.
  • Frequent replacement contact lenses: These types of contact lenses are designed to be worn daily, and then removed every night for cleaning and disinfecting. They may be worn for one week to one month before being replaced, depending on manufacturer guidelines.
  • Hybrid lenses: These types of contact lenses feature a rigid gas permeable center surrounded by a soft skirt, and are often used in more specialized cases. These lenses balance the comfort and fit of a soft lens with the durability and typically crisper vision of a gas permeable contact lens.

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses

Gas permeable contact lenses are made of a firm plastic material and do not contain any water. These types of contact lenses resist deposit buildup more than soft contact lenses. At first, they take longer to adjust to than soft contact lenses – a few weeks, compared to a few days for soft contact lenses.

Contact lenses for astigmatism

For people with astigmatism, toric lenses are designed with two curves – one spherical, one cylindrical – to correct the astigmatism. Toric lenses come in both soft and gas permeable materials, as well as daily and frequent replacement varieties. In order to correct the astigmatism, the lens cannot rotate on the eye. For this reason, gas permeable contact lenses are often a good choice for people with astigmatism, because these lenses are more rigid, retain their shape on the cornea, and tend to provide crisper and clearer vision.

Contact lenses to replace bifocals

For people who wear bifocal glasses and who would like to try contact lenses, there are a number of types of contact lenses that are similar to bifocal glasses. These include contact lenses that feature:

  • Two distinct vision zones, distance on top and near on the bottom
  • Aspheric designs
  • “Multi-zone” designs
  • Monovision – with one contact lens prescribed for distance, and the other contact lens prescribed for near vision

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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