Contact Lens Types
Contact lenses come in many styles, mostly crafted to fix specific and varied vision problems. In addition to variance in lens curvature, consumers may also have a preference for the materials & wear of their contacts. Most individuals prefer soft, disposable contact lenses these days, but some people still use rigid gas permeable (RGP) contacts. See below to learn about the different types of contact lenses.
Different Types of Contacts
Disposable Contacts – Disposable contacts have many benefits to individuals, including reducing the risk of infection, lowering daily maintenance, and eliminating the hassle of constant cleaning. There are three primary styles of disposable contacts, daily disposables, 1-2 week disposables, and 1-3 month disposable contacts.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) - Rigid Gas Permeable lenses are made out of a durable, hard material unlike the more common soft contact lenses that most people wear. RGP lenses are generally more resistant to protein & particle buildup, and also are known to offer clearer vision than soft lenses. The downside of RGP lenses is that they can be uncomfortable for a while, until the eyes become accustomed to wearing hard lenses. RGP Lenses are traditionally worn for 1-2 years before being replaced, and in many ways, are the opposites of daily disposable contacts.
Toric Contact Lenses - Toric contacts can be made out of the same materials as traditional contacts (either RGP or soft materials), but they have a specially designed curvature for fixing astigmatism. Toric lenses typically have multiple curvatures in the lens, and can be more challenging & expensive to get fitted for as a result.
Conventional (Vial) Contacts – These are your standard soft contact lenses, typically designed to last approximately one year. Conventional contacts, are also known as “Vial” contacts. They require daily cleaning and upkeep, and are available in a wider range of sizes & fittings, making them beneficial for people with hard to fit eyes.
Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses – Similar to bifocal glasses, bifocal contacts benefit people who need a different different prescription for distance viewing than they do for reading and other close-up work. Multifocal lenses refer to lenses in which there are two or more powers, which includes Bifocal lens types.
Colored and Cosmetic Contacts – Colored & Cosmetic contact lens types have become increasingly popular as technology has enabled more natural looking colors & enhancements. Colored contacts fix eyesight in a similar way that standard contacts would, but they also can alter one’s eye tone, allowing a fully opaque (and new) eye color, or potentially just brightening your current eye color. In addition to color changes & enhancements, many use special effect contacts for costuming, acting, or sometimes just for fun.
Plano Contacts – Plano contacts are almost always cosmetic or colored contacts, constructed without corrective curvature for people with 20/20 vision. Plano contacts typically are used for people who simply want to change their eye color or add a special effect. Plano contacts may on rare occasion be used to test an individual’s compatibility with contact lenses as well.
Orthokeratology Contacts – Ortho-K contact lenses correct your vision while you’re not wearing your contacts. Ortho-K lenses adjust your eye’s shape overnight, and allow for clear, crisp vision during the day while not wearing contacts. Orthokeratology is a frequent and convenient alternative to Lasik procedures.