Do you ever wonder what your contact lenses are made of? You can now find high quality contact lenses but they are mainly made up of three specific materials. Many of these contact lenses now use synthetic materials that let great amount of oxygen to reach your cornea. This helps prevent issues caused by lack of oxygen. You can also wear your contacts with more convenience and comfort today.
What Are Contacts Made of?
Soft Contact Lens Materials
Soft contact lenses are relatively new in the contact industry but they have really made things easier for people wearing contacts. They are made from a water-absorbing material called hydrogel. These popular types of contacts soak up water and help keep your cornea hydrated and supple.
These soft contact lenses can then be divided into more categories depending on how much water content they can soak. Some of these may soak up to 38% of water, whereas others are capable of soaking up to 75% of water content. Keep in mind that some lenses can absorb more water but they are rather thick. It means you would have to opt for soft contact lenses with a lower water percentage if you like contacts with a thinner feeling.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lens Materials
Compared to soft lenses, RGP lenses are smaller (less than a centimeter across) and have existed for longer time. RGP, rigid gas permeable, is the material that this type of lenses is made of. When RGP lenses first came out, they were made of silicone acrylate (SA), which was oxygen permeable. Later on, fluorine was also included to make the lenses to increase their stability, oxygen permeability and surface wetting.
Hybrid Contact Lens Materials
These contacts provide you with the comfort of soft contacts and the clarity of an RGP. They are basically gas permeable lens substance with silicone hydrogel material around them. A number of brands are now selling these types of lenses.
How to Choose the Right Contact Lens for You
Soft Contact Lens
Most of these contact lenses are flexible and disposable. You can wear them and then throw them away. This protects you from developing infections and saves you from cleaning them all the time. You can also get soft contacts that you can wear for about a year. Some of these also offer UV protection.
The downside is that soft contacts become contaminated more easily by absorbing pollutants. They can soak up pollutants that can cause irritation. Moreover, these lenses are more fragile as compared to gas-permeable and hard lenses.
Rigid Gas-Permeable Lenses
They offer clearer vision as compared to soft lenses and are quite effective in correcting astigmatism. They do not require a lot of maintenance and are quite durable too.
Getting used to these contacts may take time. You have to wear them every day to get used to the feeling. They provide good vision but not optimal vision that is usually the case with soft lenses.
Toric Lenses for Astigmatism
Try toric lenses when you want to wear contacts and have astigmatism as well. They are available in both rigid gas-permeable and soft lenses forms. There are colored lenses available for you to try. They work like bifocal lenses and have two powers in one lens – one for nearsightedness or farsightedness and one for astigmatism.
Lenses to Reshape the Cornea
You can also find lenses that help reshape the cornea. You can try ortho-k lenses if you are nearsighted because they also help reshape your cornea and improve vision as well. They are now approved by the FDA for sleeping.
While these lenses work, they usually offer temporary improvement that you enjoy for as long as you wear them. They are the best usually for people who are mildly nearsighted.
Queries and Tips for Wearing Lens
How Long Should You Wear Your Lenses?
Talk to your doctor and replace your lenses as per your doctor's advice. Do not just rely on how often you wear them. You should never use disposable lenses again even if they look fresh and right. Do not sleep in them or you may end up developing infections.
What Precautions Should You Take Before Touching Your Lenses?
You should wash your hands first and then handle your lenses. Never lather up with scented or oily soaps because lenses can stick to your wet hands. Use a lint-free towel to dry your hands. Do not handle lenses if you have used a moisturizer.
How do You Put in Your Lenses?
Always start putting in your lens in the same eye each time. Never mix up the left and right lenses. Make use of your index finger to get the lens out of the package and place it into your palm. Use the solution to rinse your lenses. Now, place it on the tip of your index finger and use your middle finger to pull your lower lid down. Use your other hand to hold your upper lid and put the lens in. Make sure it is on the iris of your eye. Release your lids and blink to adjust.
How do You Remove Your Lenses?
Ensure that your hands are clean. If you are wearing soft lenses, start by pulling down your lower lid. Now look to the side or up and slowly move the lens to the white of your eye. Pinch the lens with your thumb and index finger and lift the lens off your eye. In case of gas-permeable lenses, make sure to keep your eye wide open and then pull the skin near the corner of your eye – pull it toward your ear. Open your palm, bend over it, and blink. The lens will be out in no time.
Here are some other tips to bear in mind to use your lenses in the right way:
Use a multipurpose solution to clean your lenses.
Never use tap water to clean your lenses.
Never wear contacts when taking a bath.
Pay attention to cleaning the case of your lenses to keep your lenses from becoming infected while wearing.
Take the lens out immediately if it hurts. Use the solution to clean it and wear again. Talk to your doctor if problem persists.