The Many Varieties of Contact Lenses
More than 34 million people in the U.S. and 71 million people in the world wear contact lenses. Still, even many who wear contact lenses on a daily basis may not fully understand the many options available: disposable, gas permeable, toric, multifocal, and bandage contacts. At our state of the art optical center, we at Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons offer a wide selection of contact lenses to fit your eyes and lifestyle. A thorough consultation with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay can help determine the best contact lenses for your specific needs.
Many patients prefer the ease and comfort of soft contact lenses which are made of a type of plastic combined with water. Water allows oxygen to pass through the contact lens to your cornea, reducing dry eyes and helping to keep your cornea healthy. Without sufficient oxygen, the corneas may swell and get cloudy or develop blurred vision. Additionally, many soft lenses are disposable contacts. Having a fresh pair of soft contact lenses means less cleaning and more comfort.
Gas-permeable contact lenses, otherwise known as hard contacts, are made of plastics combined with other materials such as silicone or fluoropolymers that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea without the use of water. While the lack of water does make them more resistant to environmental pollutants and bacteria, it also makes them more rigid than soft lenses. This does mean that vision remains sharp and focused, even when the patient blinks, and that the lenses can correct more severe vision problems, including substantial astigmatism. Hard contacts are generally not disposable, but are comparatively durable and easy to maintain.
There are also several specialized options in contact lenses that can address your specific eye needs. Toric lenses, available in soft or rigid forms, are required to address the irregularly-shaped cornea of a patient with astigmatism. Multifocal lenses function similarly to bifocals, correcting both close focus and distance vision. Finally, bandage contact lenses are designed to allow less movement and friction when the patient blinks, easing discomfort and promoting healing in patients recovering from PRK surgery or other refractive eye surgery.
If you have questions or are interested in any of the many services offered at Georgia Eye, please contact us today. Be sure to follow Dr. Segal and Dr. Lay on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips for healthy eyes.