Contact Lens Options: The Different Types of Lenses and Solutions

Contacts help eyes break free from eyeglasses, either temporarily or full-time, and help individuals who need vision correction still pursue the lifestyle and appearance they desire.

If your eyes need a prescription but you don’t want to commit to eyeglasses, you have a multitude of contact lens options available to you.

To help you choose the type of contact lenses that are best for you, first think about your vision needs and lifestyle demands. From here, read through the various contact lens options to discover which type of lens is best for you.

Types of Contact Lenses

Frequent Replacement Soft Lenses
Similar to conventional soft lenses in flexibility and adjustability, frequent replacement soft lenses differ from traditional soft lenses in the amount of time they are worn. As the name suggests, these lenses are replaced more often. Typically, frequent replacement soft lenses are worn for one month and then replaced. Other types of these lenses can be worn two to three months and then replaced. Nevertheless, they conform well to the eye and are comfortable to wear.
Disposable Soft Lenses
Because dirt, bacteria and other particles can build up under contact lenses – depending on the environments one is exposed to – disposable soft lenses offer an option to wear lenses for a short amount of time and then they can be discarded. These lenses are also great for individuals with allergies, as a new pair of lenses help the eye remain free from allergen build-up that can occur under old lenses. These types of lenses require minimal cleaning before the end of use.
Conventional Soft Lenses
Designed to be a comfortable alternative to hard contact lenses in the 1970s, conventional soft contact lenses are still to this day widely-used. Made from gel-like plastics called hydrogels that contain water, soft contact lenses are typically very comfortable because they are thin, flexible and adjust to the surface of the eye.

*Soft contact lenses are available in monthly or weekly disposables, daily disposables, or non-disposables.

Extended Wear Soft Lenses
Proving the option to wear contact lenses overnight, these lenses are made to safely remain on the eye while sleeping. This added benefit also comes with a drawback. Extended wear soft lenses can cause eye infections because of the length of time the contact is on the eye’s surface. If a proper cleaning regimen is followed, however, infection can remain at bay.
Toric Soft Lenses
Differing from the spherical surface that standard contact lenses have, toric contact lenses are shaped like a slice of the side of a donut. This shape helps create different refractive powers on the vertical and horizontal orientations. These lenses correct for astigmatism issues – a common vision condition that occurs with an irregularly shaped cornea and causes blurred vision.
Bifocal Soft Lenses
Bifocal soft lenses are designed to help individuals who have refractive errors – when the shape of the eye does not bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred vision – see clearly from any distance. Bifocal soft lenses are also an effective solution for presbyopia – the loss of near focusing abilities that occurs with age.
Colored Lenses
Perhaps the most fun you can have with contacts, colored lenses can come tailored to your prescription – correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism – and eye color preference. Colored contact lenses are even available with no lens power for vision correction and can be worn purely for cosmetic reasons.
Gas Permeable Hard Lenses
Great for patients experiencing dry eye, they can also be specially designed to treat eye diseases, degeneration and scarring of the cornea. A pair of gas permeable hard lenses can last for about 3 - 5 years, depending on proper care.
Hybrid Lenses
Hybrid lenses have a hard center with soft edges. Like gas permeable hard lenses, they can be used to treat a variety of eye diseases and degenerations.

Types of Contact Lens Solutions

There are three main types of contact lens solutions available in the U.S. that are effective in clinical trials and approved by the FDA: multipurpose contact lens solutions, hydrogen peroxide-based care systems and basic saline.


Multipurpose Contact Lens Solution

A multipurpose contact lens solution is effective at cleaning, rinsing, disinfecting and storing contact lenses. With multipurpose solutions, no other lens care products are necessary.


Hydrogen Peroxide-Based Solutions

Hydrogen peroxide-based solutions (HPB) are also effective at disinfecting contact lenses. HPB solutions, however, require a few extra steps.

  • Contact lenses should be cleaned first with a separate surfactant cleaning solution.
  • Then, contact lenses should be rinsed with a sterile saline solution prior to the disinfection process.


Basic Salines

Saline can be used to rinse contacts before putting them in your eyes. The saline is more natural, like tears, and can help to prevent reactions to chemicals that are found in other contact solutions.

Ask Your Doctor Which Contact Lenses and Solutions are Best for You

Choosing contact lenses and a contact lens solution is a decision best made with the help of your eye doctor. Through a health eye exam, your vision will be thoroughly examined, and the lenses and solution that will suit your vision needs will be addressed.

If you feel you need a new prescription or are not happy with your current contact lenses, talk to your doctor before switching lenses or care systems.

At iCare Vision we take the time to make sure you’re perfectly matched with right pair of lenses. We can provide multiple, free trial lenses so you can even compare comfort side-by-side.

The eye experts at iCare Vision make eye exams quick, easy and painless. You can be on your way to better vision and more comfortable eyes in no time.

Schedule your eye health exam using the form at the top of the page. Or contact us today to get your questions answered.