Types of contact lenses
There are a number of types of contact lenses currently available, each with their own unique features. To avoid confusion we've included a brief description of the different kinds, so you're equipped with some basic background information. When you come for your appointment we'll assess your needs and select a suitable type.
Soft contact lenses are made from pliable gel-like plastics, allowing oxygen to pass through to the front surface of the eye. Tear fluid maintains the softness and flexibility of the lens making them more comfortable to wear and adaptation is much quicker than with rigid lenses.
Since soft lenses contain water, they can become contaminated, and therefore it is essential to follow the correct cleaning/disinfecting and replacement procedures.
The latest advances in contact lens technology have led to the development of new types of soft contact lens that can be worn for long periods whilst maintaining healthy eyes coupled with exceptional comfort. These lenses are made from a new plastics technology called Silicone Hydrogel, which transmits several times more oxygen, than standard soft lenses and resists dehydration.
Regular replacement of soft lenses is known to increase the safety and comfort of wearing contact lenses and the more frequently this is undertaken the better. Disposable lenses can be replaced every day, every 2 weeks, or every month. Currently disposable lenses are available for the correction of all common optical disorders including bifocal, varifocal and astigmatic prescriptions.
Daily disposable lenses are the pinnacle of contact lens wear in terms of health and convenience but until very recently have only been available standard soft lens materials. We are therefore extremely pleased that a silicone hydrogel daily disposable has been introduced to give you the healthiest, most comfortable and convenient lens ever to be produced. The Eye Clinic of Northampton has been selected to be one of the first practices in the World to be able to prescribe this innovative lens.
Extended wear lenses
These are lenses which can be worn continuously for between 7 to 30 days giving you a highly convenient way of using contact lenses which is invaluable in our busy modern lives. As extended wear lenses are worn for long periods of time and are not removed for sleep they are made from special highly oxygen permeable lens materials. The risks of complications are slightly higher than with lenses that are removed before sleep and consequently more frequent aftercare appointments are necessary.
You can now have cosmetic tinted contact lenses, which can enhance or change the natural colour of your eyes without affecting what you see. Special lenses are available to disguise damage of the eye due to injury or disease. These lenses, which are as comfortable as other contact lenses, are available with or without prescription.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses
These lenses are made from semi-rigid plastic materials, which allow oxygen to pass through to the surface of the eye, making them a healthy option for many wearers. Gas permeable lenses only cover part of the iris. As these lenses float on your tears there is some movement whilst blinking, it therefore takes slightly longer to get used them. However once settled these lenses prove to be very comfortable. RGP lenses are suitable for most prescriptions, but more so for patients, who have astigmatism, require a reading prescription, or have a medical need for contact lenses such as keratoconus, where they can give better standards of vision. RGP lenses are easy to handle, clean and very durable.