I am interested in wearing contact lenses. What are my options?
If you are interested in wearing contact lenses for the first time, your optometrist will determine which ones will work for your eyes, but you may have a choice when it comes to the type that works best for your lifestyle and wearing pattern preference.
Soft Contact Lenses
The most popular choice among wearers is Soft Contact Lenses. These lenses are comfortable, flexible, and extremely breathable for long hours of wear. There are two different wearing patterns to choose from:
Monthly or Bi-Weekly Wear – like the name says, you can wear these lenses for two weeks to a month (depending on your eye health and doctor’s recommendation) before they tossed away and replaced with a new pair. They require daily cleaning and overnight storage. These are a more cost effective lens to wear as you can keep the same pair for up to a month before starting with new ones.
Daily Wear – you guessed it, you wear these lenses for the day then throw them away. No cleaning or storage necessary. These are great for those that lead a busy lifestyle and for sports enthusiasts. They are also the best option for allergy sufferers due to the fact they are worn for a shorter time frame so dirt and allergens can’t build up on them & cause irritation.
Color Contact Lenses
Another lens option available is color lenses with (or without) your correction in them. These lenses can be either monthly or daily wear and come in a variety of colors or shades to enhance your eye color or change it altogether. You may have a hard time getting color lenses for higher corrections or if you have other eye conditions. Color lenses can also be purchased for cosmetic wear without a correction in them (plano) but you will still need to have a contact lens fitting to ensure proper fit and eye health.
For those who need a bifocal, there are two different ways to achieve clear vision in both the distance and near range through the use of contacts. The first option is monovision correction which entails using one lens in your non-dominant eye to correct for near vision and a different power lens in your dominant eye to correct for distance vision. While this may sound like a headache and will take some time to get used to, it works surprisingly well for some people.
One other option for bifocal contact lenses is to be fit for multifocal lenses. This is like having bifocal or progressives glasses where you have distance and near correction in both lenses but in the convenience of a contact lens. The placement and power of your reading area will be determined by your optometrist. These are great because you don't have to make a lot of adjustments to get used to them and most people won't have to wear cheaters for reading/computer work.
Written by: Lisa N, optometric technician since 2019