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Which type of contact lens is right for your eyes?

A prescription for glasses doesn’t mean a life sentence to the four-eyes look. Contact lenses are a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with glasses. There are many types to choose from, so make sure you’re getting the ones that work best for your eyes and your life.

Woman inserting contact lenses

The decision about what type of contact lens is right for you is not a decision to be made lightly. In fact, it’s one that should be made with the help of an eye-care specialist. You’ll need a full eye examination, followed by an evaluation of whether or not your eyes are well-suited for lenses. If your doc gives you the OK, he’ll help you choose a type of lens and show the correct way to use and care for them.

Types of contact lenses

Before you head off to your appointment, take some time to learn about the different types of lenses.

Hard contact lenses

Gas-permeable lenses, also known as GPs or RPGs (rigid gas-permeable lenses) aren’t widely used, but they’re growing in popularity. They’re made of a firm, durable plastic that lets oxygen pass through to your eyes.

Soft contact lenses

Soft lenses are made of soft, very flexible plastic. They are usually oxygen-permeable as well.

Extended-wear lenses

Extended-wear lenses are usually available in soft or hard lenses, and are meant to be worn for long periods of time without removal. Some extended-wear contacts are disposable.

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So which ones are best for you?

The contacts that are right for you have a lot to do with the health of your eye, your lifestyle and the amount of maintenance you can deal with.

How sharp do want your vision to be?

Any contact lens with a prescription designed for you is going to improve your vision, but hard contact lenses will likely do a better job. The hard, polished surface of a gas-permeable lens will give you sharper vision than you’ll get from softer lenses.

Is comfort a big deal?

If you’re looking for a comfy fit, you may be surprised to hear that hard lenses are probably your best bet. They’re specially made for each individual, so yours should always be a perfect fit. At first, the harder material may be less comfortable, but no worries! Your eye will easily adapt to them.

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How often will you wear them?

If you’re mostly a glasses kind of girl (or if you’ll probably flip back and forth between the two), you should probably opt for soft lenses. Hard lenses are comfortable only after your eye has had to adjust with frequent use. Sporadic use will not be enough to let your eye stay acclimated to the hardness of the lens.

How is your eye health?

If you have astigmatism, hard lenses are probably your best option. Their special features help correct corneal curvatures better than any other lens. If you’re prone to eye infections, stick with something breathable, as that helps reduce occurrences of infection.

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Low maintenance? If you’re looking for something super easy, go for disposables, girl. Nothing is easier — wear them for the recommended period of time (most are weekly or monthly), then throw them away. No cleaning required!

How high-maintenance are you?

Daily wear contacts, both hard and soft lenses, need to be cleaned and disinfected after each wear. This isn’t a huge inconvenience, but it is an added step in your nightly ritual, so it’s something to be considered.

Extended-wear contacts can be worn for a long period of time between removals, sometimes up to a week. It’s important that these types of contacts be cleaned at least once a week, though.

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