Thinking about making the switch from glasses to contact lenses? Contacts are more versatile now than ever before, offering a range of options from the functional to the aesthetic. Selecting the right contact lenses from the immense variety of available choices can be a daunting task for anyone new to the process. Check out your basic options below, then talk to your doctor about which lenses are best for you.

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are a comfortable form of vision correction that often provide UV protection as well. They conform to the shape of your eye, keeping them firmly in place and making them an ideal option for someone with an active lifestyle. They are more fragile than hard lenses, however, and can rip or tear easily. They are also more likely to absorb pollutants like soap from your hands than hard lenses, which can cause irritation.

Soft contact lenses come in several forms:

  • Single Use: Single use lenses are individually packaged for one-day use and discarded at night. They are extremely convenient and don't require cleaning, but are more expensive than other kinds of soft lenses.
  • Daily Wear: Daily wear lenses are inserted every morning and removed every night. They are reused for a number of weeks, specified by the manufacturer, making them more economical than single use lenses. Daily wear lenses must be cleaned and replaced regularly to avoid complications.
  • Extended Wear: Extended wear lenses are made from a silicone hydrogel material that can be worn continuously, both day and night, for many weeks. The material allows for convenient overnight wear and reduces dry eye irritation, but may also encourage the buildup of micro-organisms on the lenses and increase the risk of infection.

Hard Contact Lenses

Hard contact lenses are smaller, more durable, and more rigid than their soft counterparts. Gas-permeable lenses allow oxygen to pass through to the eyes, making them less likely to cause irritation and more effective for correcting certain vision problems. If cared for correctly, a pair of hard contact lenses can be worn for two to three years.

In contrast to soft contact lenses, hard lenses are more likely to be displaced, which can lead to discomfort and blurred vision. They are also more uncomfortable than soft lenses and a longer period of time is required to adjust to wearing them.

The type of contact lenses you need is based on many factors, including your unique vision correction needs, your lifestyle, and expense. Review your options and ask a specialist for their expert opinion.

If you are looking for an online contact lens provider you could try reading our 1-800 Contacts Review.