Contact Lenses

Contact Lenses

Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Types of Contact Lenses

Lens Types Advantages Disadvantages

Rigid gas-permeable (RGP)Made of slightly flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the eyes.
  • Excellent vision
  • Short adaptation period
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Correct most vision problems
  • Easy to put on and care for
  • Relatively long life
  • Available in tints (for handling purposes) and bifocals
  • Available for myopia control and corneal refractive therapy
  • Require consistent wear to maintain adaptation
  • Can slip off center of eye more easily than other types
  • Debris can sometimes get under the lenses
  • Require regular office visits for follow-up care

Daily-wear soft lenses Made of soft, flexible plastic that allows oxygen to pass through to the eyes.

  • Very short adaptation period
  • More comfortable and more difficult to dislodge than RGP lenses
  • Available in tints and bifocals
  • Available in lenses that do not need to be cleaned
  • Great for active lifestyles
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses
  • Require regular office visits for follow-up care
  • Lenses wear out and must be replaced in a timely fashion

Extended-wear Available for overnight wear in soft or RGP lenses.

  • Can usually be worn for up to seven days without removal
  • Some lenses are FDA-approved for up to 30 days
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Require regular office visits for follow-up care
  • Could increase the risk of complication
  • Require regular monitoring and professional care

Extended-wear disposable Soft lenses worn for an extended period of time (usually one to six days), then discarded. Lenses also available to wear from one to 30 days.

  • Require little or no cleaning
  • Lessened risk of eye infection if wearing instructions are followed
  • Available in tints and bifocals
  • Spare lenses available
  • Vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Handling may be more difficult

Planned replacementSoft daily-wear lenses that are replaced on a planned schedule, most often either every two weeks, monthly or quarterly.

  • Simplified cleaning and disinfection
  • Good for eye health
  • Available in most prescriptions
  • Vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Handling may be more difficult

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