If you’re reading this, you may have decided to leave glasses behind and join the 45 million people in America who wear contact lenses. You may be wondering where to start, as there are quite a few options and brands available to you now. The first thing you might want to decide is whether you prefer hard or soft contact lenses.
Hard Contacts vs Soft Contacts
Do you want maximum comfort and easy disposability? Would you rather not clean the same pair of contacts over and over again? You might want to consider getting soft, disposable contact lenses. Acuvue’s 1-Day lenses are a popular example of this type of disposable lens. These are made from a moist combination of plastic and water that lets your eyes breathe. They also usually come in packs, so once you’re done with a pair of lenses, you can throw them away and put in another pair. However, this comfortable, low-maintenance option’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. You’ll have to keep buying new packs after using up all of the lenses in your first one, so keep that in mind.
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There are other types of soft contact lenses for different needs. Daily wear contact lenses such as Acuvue’s VITA lenses are soft like disposable contacts but are made to last longer, so you can go a week or a month without replacing them. However, you still have to remove these before you go to bed. For those who want the freedom to sleep while wearing their contacts, there are extended wear contact lenses, such as the Night and Day Aqua lenses from Air Optix. Though it would be wise to know that some doctors don’t recommend extended wear contacts, as they increase your risk of getting eye infections while you’re sleeping. If you suffer from astigmatism, there are also toric lenses, like the Biofinity Toric lenses, which are made for the unusual eye shapes caused by astigmatism.
However, if your priority is having the clearest vision, hard contacts might be for you. Rigid gas permeable lenses (RGPs or GPs) are made of a harder material than soft contact lenses. This means they won’t be as comfortable, but it also means the lenses will stay in optimal shape for visual correction. In some cases, regular RGPs can correct blurred vision caused by astigmatism, but there are also RGPs with toric designs for people with severe astigmatism. RGPS are also more durable and will last longer than soft lenses, provided you are willing to regularly clean and maintain them.
Of course, there are more brands and choices than these, but this should give you a good idea of what to expect and what you should consider for your first contact lenses. Don’t be afraid to do more research and talk with your doctor about which lenses are right for you, and be sure to browse Lens.com for a look at all the latest contact lens brands and products.