What are the different types of contact lenses?

David R. Demartini, MD
Contact lenses come in many various types and are used for different eye problems. Most common contacts are soft contacts which are the most comfortable and the easiest for most new patients to wear. Most are 60 to 70% water with a soft plastic matrix to hold their shape. These are used for near, far and astigmatism corrections. They also can be ordered in different colors!
Gas permeable rigid contacts are also very popular and probably correct vision even better than soft contacts because they hold their shape better. Because they are rigid they are a little more difficult to tolerate initially but are very comfortable after the break in period is finished. They are also quite useful for patients who have abnormal or distorted corneas as they can correct this problem when soft lenses just conform to the distortion.
Scleral contacts are becoming more common again after having lost favor many years ago. They also act like rigid contacts but are supported by the sclera and are much larger than most contacts. Hence they have the longer break in period but deliver good vision to patients especially those with distorted corneas, dry eyes or difficulty blinking. Your eye doctor can tell what would be best for your particular eyes.

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