Guide to Choosing the Right Contact Lenses

Understanding the different types and designs available can help you decide the right fit for you. This guide to choosing the right contacts has all that you need to know for before, when, and after you get your contacts. 

Category: Life Hacks     Written By: Haziqa Ishtiaq

Guide to Choosing the Right Contact Lenses

Choosing the right contacts, wearing them, and then the aftercare, there is a lot that you need to learn when you make the switch from glasses to lenses.

There are so many types of contacts, colors, and materials that it is bound to be overwhelming for the first time users. Thus, it is a decision best made with the guidance of your optometrist.

Regardless of how sure you are with your decision, you need to learn how to wear contacts and their aftercare. But fear not, for with a little practice and some in-depth knowledge you can be confident in your choice and an expert at wearing contacts.

With that said, don’t be afraid to step beyond your limits and experiment with all colors, shapes, and sizes, till you find the one that works for you.

But before you can go about choosing your contacts, be sure of the following…

Factors that Determine Your Choice

Every individual is different that includes the physiology of our eyes. While our genetic makeup is fundamentally the same, some crucial aspects differ due to lifestyle, environment, upbringing, diet, and so on. 

Therefore, to choose the right contacts, first be sure of:

Your Medical History

Check Your Medical History Before wearing a lens

In this context, your medical history implies your eyes. The condition of your eyes to be specific; for instance, certain medical circumstances affect your eyesight, while other times it solely due to outside concerns.

The type of contacts you need or want depends on the overall state of your eyes.

Taking an eye exam before choosing contacts will help you and your optometrist narrow down the list of prospects. Plus, it will help determine your visual acuity, any refraction errors, the sharpness of the contacts you need, etc.

  • Myopia or Hyperopia

The closer your contacts are to your requirement, the better equipped they will be to help improve your vision. 

Myopia and Hyperopia, for instance, are two medical issues that relate to the human eye. 

Myopia defines nearsightedness that usually occurs in people under the age of 40; whereas Hyperopia is farsightedness, a primary vision problem for people over the age of 40.

The contacts lenses you choose need to address either of these two problems to provide clear, unobstructed vision.

  • Astigmatism or Presbyopia 

These are two more vision-related problems that your lenses need to correct. 

Presbyopia also affects people over the age of 40. But while farsightedness can be a result of external factors, Presbyopia is the product of aging. 

Astigmatism, on the other hand, is the inability of your cornea to focus light rays on the retina due to misshapen eyeballs. 

The contact lenses for all four of these sight problems are different; different materials, types, and designs. Therefore before you choose contact lenses, it is impertinent that you schedule an eye exam to know the exact cause of your blurry vision.

  • Allergies or Dry Eyes

If you have any allergies or deal with dry eyes, then it may hinder your ability to wear contacts for an extended time. 

Disposable lenses are best to counter allergies, but your optometrist will know what contacts will suit you best.

Your Lifestyle

It may not seem like it, but even your lifestyle determines the type of contacts you should choose. 

If, for example, you travel a lot, then disposable lenses would be more feasible. Instead of having to carry around your lens case, you can dispose of them after a day’s use.

Lifestyle For Wearing A Contact Lenses

How Often Will You Wear Them 

How Often Will You Wear Your Lens

When you have your medical condition evaluated, you need to determine the length of time you will be wearing them. 

There are many types of lenses that we will discuss later, but know that each one differs in their length of use. 

The contact lenses you choose will depend on whether you plan on wearing them all day every day or just occasionally. If you want to wear them overnight, then there are separate options to consider. 

Are You Willing to Care for Your Contacts

Since contact lenses come in direct contact with your eyes, it is crucial that you put in the effort to care for them. 

Not maintaining proper cleanliness of your lenses can lead to serious health problems including fungal eye infections, corneal ulcers, etc. 

As mentioned earlier, the lens that you choose depends on the condition of your eyes, your lifestyle, and how long you intend to wear them. Similarly, the routine for proper cleanliness also differs depending on the type of contacts. 

Care for Your Contacts

Cost Expectations

The brand name, their durability, the material they are made of, and whether they are corrective contacts or for show dictate how much lenses cost. Plus, your wish for colored contacts also factors into the equation for colored lenses are more pricey than non-colored. 

It also depends on the lens solution; so, before you make your choice, be sure that your budget allows a bit of flexibility. 

In addition, some online stores like VisionPros offer exclusive discounts, with VisionPros Coupon, so that you can get your contacts at half the market price. 

Consult Your Optometrist

Consult Your Optometrist Before Wearing A Lens

Besides these factors, there are many more things to consider when choosing your contacts. If it is your first time consult your optometrist to know which lens is right for you.

It’s not just about making the decision to choose the right contacts; you also need to be aware of the reasons behind the choice. Your eyes are the most susceptible to any damage especially when you apply lenses to the equation.

The wrong contact could exacerbate your medical condition, if any, or be the cause for one. Therefore, discuss with your optometrist before you make your decision.

Types of Contacts 

As discussed, there are multiple types of contact for different optical needs and the degree of visual impairment. The lenses differ in their composition, their texture, their durability, visual acuity, size, and so on. 

For every individual, there are distinct lens types to help improve your vision as much as possible. Let’s take a closer look to see your options. 

Materials Used

Materials Used In making A Contact Lens

Primarily, there are three distinct types of lenses, further divided based on their use and how often they need to be replaced.

The three types include soft, hard, and hybrid lenses. 

Soft lenses are gel-like, water-containing plastics referred to as hydrogels. They are very thin and can conform to the shape of your cornea. 

A sub-type includes silicone-based, soft gel lenses that are more porous than regular soft contacts. Their permeability allows oxygen to flow through to the cornea. 

Whereas, hard lenses, primarily called Gas Permeable lenses are rigid contacts that are permeable for oxygen to pass through to your eye. Because of their permeability, they fit closer to your cornea, sharpening your vision.

Hybrid lenses are a combination of the first two types. The core is made of rigid, gas, permeable material with an outer layer of silicone-hydrogel. Despite their advantages, these lenses are hard to replace than silicone hydrogel as well as expensive. 

Based on their use and time, these three contact lens types are divided as follows:

Types of contact lenses based on their use:

1. Multifocal – a single lens has a range of powers that allow for a smooth transition between long distance viewing to near vision.

2. Bifocal – one lens has two prescriptions. 

3. Toric – corrects astigmatism. 

Types based on their wearing time:

1. Daily Wear – remove every night.

2. Extended time – can be worn overnight.

More than One Design

Besides there composition, use, and wearing time, contact lenses are also divided by their design, each one specific for the intended use.

The design of the lenses specifies their purpose and maximizes its effect to improve your vision. The different types available include:

1. Spherical – Lenses with spherical design have consistent power throughout the optical part of the lens. 

2. Toric – For toric lenses, the power ranges across the different meridians, different prescriptions for different meridians.

3. Multifocal – They have a range of power spanning the lens; the outer edges seek to improve nearsightedness and the center for farsightedness.

4. Cosmetics – These are the colored contacts that can either be for vision correction or just for show. 

More than One Design Of Contact Lenses

Colored or Non-colored

With contact lenses, you also gain the option to change your eye color. Colored contacts can be both for show or to improve your vision. For any of the eyesight problems mentioned, you can purchase colored lenses.

There are various tints and shades of colored contact lens available for each of the types. 

But, they also have their distinct categories that you should explore and experiment with to find the right lens for you.

Types of Colored Contacts

While some lenses enhance your natural eye color, others alter it completely. The design of the colored contacts is such that it leaves the center area that lies over your pupil free so that it does not hinder your sight. 

With colored contacts, you can choose the degree of tint you want in your lens:

1. Visibility – This type of lens has a subtle tint added to it, making it easier for you to spot it. The faint shade does not leave any pronounced effect on your eye color. 

2. Enhancement – It is solid but translucent hue, slightly darker than the visibility tint and acts as an enhancer for your natural eye color, making it stand out. 

3. Opaque – This is the non-transparent type which alters your eye color completely. Cosmetics contacts used for theater fall into this category.

Dark Eyes or Light

The type of colored contact lenses that are the right fit for you depends on the natural shade of your eyes. To know how to choose contact lens color, decide if you want to alter your look or enhance it. 

For dark eyes, opaque tints are the best choice. You can choose between subtle, light colors for a more natural look or bright and bold hues to be a show-stopper. Especially, for those with a dark skin tone, vividly colored lenses will make your eyes pop out. 

Enhancement tints are best for light eyes. The enhancement tint will define the edges of your iris, highlighting your natural shade. If, for example, your original eye color is blue, then grey or green contacts will be best to bring up the blue. 

For a lighter shade of eye colors, subtle brown tones will give you a stunning, eye-popping, new look.

Dark Eyes or Light Color Lens

How Do Contact Lenses Work

To know which contacts are right for you, you must know how contact lenses work

Like eyeglasses, contact lenses change the direction of the light rays entering your eyes. For nearsightedness, they alter the rays, so they move back and converge on the retina as normal. Whereas, for farsightedness, they bring the converging point of the rays forward onto the retina. 

Lenses are much more convenient than spectacles as they float on the surface of your cornea and move with your eyes, giving a more natural feel. 

For example, how multifocal contact lenses work, in particular, is that they encompass different corrective powers for distant and near vision on the same lens. These powers are arranged in three different designs namely segmented, aspheric or concentric. 

Contact lenses can have adverse side effects for your eyes if you wear the wrong type or size or for longer than recommended. That is why you need to consult your optometrist and take an eye exam to know your contact lens power.  

Which Lens is Right for You?

Now that you know the various types of contacts and the condition of your eyes, let’s see which lens is right for you.

The right contact lens will address your myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or presbyopia or a combination of these problems.

Toric lenses are created to correct your astigmatism. They are similar in design to other lenses and are available in soft or rigid material for extended wear and color. 

Toric contacts work with your misshapen eyeball to improve your vision; plus, they have dual powers in one lens, one for your astigmatism and the other for nearsightedness or farsightedness.

For myopia, presbyopia, and hyperopia bifocals or multifocal lenses are ideal. 

How to Get Contact Lenses?

You can search for contact lenses online or ask your eye care practitioner. There are multiple websites on the web that cater to the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses. 

VisionPros, for instance, has an extensive collection of contacts both colored and non-colored with prescription powers or for the theater. They have all the top brands in their catalog for you to browse and find the right fit for you.

How to Wear Contact Lenses

For first time users of contact lenses, applying lenses can be a bit tricky. But, follow the steps, and with a little practice you will know how to wear contacts like a pro:

1. Wash your hands – any lingering dust or lotion residue can stick to your lens and irritate your eyes.

2. Pick up the lens – take care to check whether the contact lens is for the right eye or the left, mainly if the prescription is different for both eyes.

3. Hold the lens on the index finger of your dominant hand – the lens should be in the perfect concave cup. If the sides are curving outward (uneven) or there is debris on the surface, it may irritate you.

4. Hold your upper and lower eyelids away from your eyeball – using the index finger of your opposite hand and the middle finger of your dominant hand, pull the lids away. 

5. Move the lens to your eye – try not to jerk or blink. Looking upwards will help you stay calm and steady. 

6. Blink Slowly – when the lens is in, blink slowly and rotate your eyes to adjust the lens over the iris and pupil.

7. Repeat the process with the other lens. 

When Should You Replace Your Contacts

Despite sticking to a strict cleaning regime, there is a need to replace your contacts frequently. Dirt and dust deposits accumulate on the surface of the lens that can be a cause for eye infections. 

Based on their need to be discarded, soft lenses can be distinguished as follows:

1. Daily disposable – throw away after a single use.

2. Disposable – discard after two weeks or less.

3. Frequent replacement – need to be disposed of monthly or quarterly.

4. Traditional (reusable) – after every six months or so. 

The hard, rigid lenses have more resistance to deposits and don’t require frequent replacements. They can last as long as year or more before you need to swap for new ones. 

Final Word

The primary point of choosing the right contacts is that you do your research. Study the different types available and consult your optometrist. 

Your eye doctor will tell you the best fit for you, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors, sizes, and designs to find the one that you are comfortable with; try multiple brands and types then choose the one for you.

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