The Different Types of Contact Lenses
The selection of color contact lenses available today are nearly as numerous as the corrective issues they're designed to correct. But today's contact lenses don't need to be solely for vision correction. A wide variety are purely aesthetic, enabling a wearer to change eye color from blue to brown, or to transform your appearance from human eyes into eyes that resemble that of a cat or wolf or even an alien! Look really close and you may even find the logo of your favorite sports team.
Prescriptions for contact lenses are mandatory by law in the USA. In addition to including information on proper fit, measuring such attributes as curvature and diameter and other pertinent information such as proper measurements for correcting vision as well as the brand of contact lens believed most suitable for the patient's situation.
It's difficult for the lay person to understand the different makes and models of contact lenses. That's more the responsibility of vision specialists since they're the ones responsible for making the final determination based on their training, knowledge and past experience.
There are several different ways to categorize the different types of contact lenses. One way is to differentiate by material type. Plastic is the favorite material of choice when it comes to contact lenses. Its fluid nature enables a more comfortable fit and its availability makes contact lenses more affordable. Plastic lenses fall into 3 general categories including gas permeable, hard and soft.
Another way to categorize contact lenses is by their wear and replacement schedules. Wear schedules include daily wear and extended wear lenses. Daily wear lenses are designed to be inserted and removed every day whereas extended wear contact lenses can remain in place for one to several weeks before removing. There are benefits and setbacks to both.
Based on replacement schedules, there are both disposable and non-disposable contact lenses. Daily wear disposable are worn once and then thrown away, completely eliminating the need for cleaning. Regular disposable contacts are worn several weeks before being thrown away. Again, the goal with disposables is less maintenance which lowers the risks of infection and other eye problems. Non-disposables require careful and regular maintenance as they don't get replaced until torn or until a patient's prescription changes.
And finally there are some speciality contact lenses. Theatrical contact lenses started out being designed for and used by actors and other performers, giving eyes the ability to change from normal-looking to horrific and demonic, theatrical lenses are gaining in popularity among everyday users. Used primarily as a way to change a person's look, the lenses generally are not designed for corrective purposes, but they do require a prescription for proper fitting.
Colored contact lenses have gained immense popularity with both corrective and non corrective wearers. They offer either a subtle change of eye color to a dramatic makeover with opaque lenses.
There are even contact lenses that offer protection against damaging ultraviolet light - lenses called varichrome that darken when exposed to bright sunlight making sunglasses an unnecessary accessory.
Specialized contact lenses may be prescribed to correct specific vision correction. These include; a toric lenses that can correct astigmatisms, an other is the bifocal contact lenses which help a person see both close up and far away, spherical or aspherical lenses, and monovision lenses in which one lens assists with close up vision and the other lens is dedicated to distance vision.