How to Choose the Best Contact Lenses
Thu, August 11th, 2022
Contact lenses are a popular choice for those looking for an alternative to glasses. However, with many different types of contacts available, choosing the best contact lenses for your specific needs can be a challenge.
There are a variety of considerations to take into account when choosing contacts, including the type of lenses, eye conditions, prescription, and others. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know when deciding which contact lenses are best for you.
Are Contacts the Right Fit For You?
Arguably the most important step in choosing contacts is making sure that contacts are generally a good fit for your needs. There are a number of key differences between glasses and contacts, and understanding the pros and cons of each can be helpful in deciding which is the best fit.
Pros of Contacts
Many people opt for contacts because the lenses sit directly on the eye, meaning they are essentially invisible, unlike glasses which have a direct impact on appearance and can be difficult to manage during sports or other activities. This also helps to create a greater field of view and better peripheral vision because there is no physical object in the way.
Because of their close proximity to the eye, contact lenses may provide better vision correction than glasses as well. Contacts tend to bend light more effectively, resulting in a better prescription fit, and ultimately, better visual acuity.
Cons of Contacts
Though contacts are a good fit for most, there are some disadvantages when compared to glasses. While contacts can perform better than glasses, they also typically cost more. For those with bi-weekly or monthly lenses, contacts require daily cleaning and care which can be tedious. Contacts may also cause irritation or dryness, and some individuals may not be able to tolerate them at all.
That being said, the best way to understand if contacts are right for you is to try them. While they do have some drawbacks, trying them for yourself will help provide clarity on whether the pros outweigh the cons.
6 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Contact Lenses
Once you’ve decided that contacts are a good fit for you, the next step is to choose the best contact lenses to fit your specific needs. Your eye doctor can be a great resource for understanding which contacts will work best for you, but knowing what to consider ahead of time can allow you to ask questions and understand the recommendations better—or even ask for a specific type of contact lenses up-front.
1. Lens Material
There are two main types of contact lens materials, known as hard/rigid and soft contact lenses.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses—sometimes referred to as hard contact lenses—don’t bend or fold. These lenses have high durability and resistance to buildup compared to soft contact lenses. They tend to provide clearer vision as well. However, they generally are not as comfortable, particularly when getting used to wearing them, and they require more thorough cleaning and disinfection.
On the other hand, soft contact lenses are made of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel, a gel-like plastic that is more flexible. These materials typically offer more initial comfort compared to RGP lenses. Because of their improved comfort, soft contact lenses are the more common option.
It should be noted that, while RGP lenses are sometimes referred to as hard contact lenses, they aren’t the same as the original hard contact lens option. These old-fashioned lenses are made of a rigid plastic called PMMA and are almost never prescribed today.
2. Wear Schedule
The wear schedule of contacts is how the lenses are intended to be worn and when they should be taken out and disinfected.
Daily wear contacts are the most common option. These lenses are worn throughout the day and then removed each night and placed in a contact lens case with fresh solution. This helps disinfect the lenses and prepare them to be used again the following day.
Extended wear contact lenses can be worn overnight. These lenses are typically designed to be worn from one to six nights, but some can be worn up to 30 days. These lenses work best for those with lifestyles that may prevent them from removing lenses at night, such as military personnel or emergency service workers.
That being said, extended wear contacts can still lead to eye infections, which is one of the primary risks of leaving contacts in your eyes overnight. This is especially true for daily wear contacts which don’t allow as much oxygen to pass through to the eye compared to extended wear lenses.
3. Replacement Schedule
Similar to wear schedule, contacts feature differing replacement schedules that determine how often new lenses should be used.
Daily replacement lenses are designed to be used once. Instead of soaking these lenses in solution overnight, the lenses are discarded and a new pair is used the next day. This can help reduce the risk of irritation, dry eyes, or even infection being that a new pair of lenses is being used daily.
Other replacement schedules are typically grouped together and referred to as planned replacement contact lenses. These schedules can vary, but the most common options are two-week or monthly replacements. Planned replacement lenses typically come in a wider variety of options compared to daily use lenses, and they are often more affordable. Because they aren’t discarded as frequently, they are also more environmentally friendly.
4. Lens Prescription and Shape
Your eye care provider will work with you to prescribe contact lenses in the shape that will work best for you. Knowing how to read your contact lens prescription is important when purchasing new contacts.
Spherical contact lenses are a common option as they can treat both nearsightedness and farsightedness. Like glasses, contact lenses can also be bifocal or multifocal for those with presbyopia.
For those with astigmatism, a toric lens is commonly used. Astigmatism is a common eye issue that can cause vision to be distorted. This is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Because of this irregular shape, astigmatism can’t be corrected with spherical lenses. Toric lenses have a cylindrical shape that is designed to correct astigmatism.
5. Lens Color
In addition to functional considerations, you may opt for contact lenses that enhance or change the color of your eyes. There are a variety of colored lenses available, ranging from traditional eye colors to eccentric colors or eye types, such as cat eyes.
Obtaining a prescription for colored contacts from your eye doctor is perfectly safe; however, some stores or websites also offer colored contacts that are not FDA approved. Because these contacts aren’t vetted by the FDA, wearing them can result in damage to the eye that may even result in blindness.
Taking everything else into consideration will be helpful in determining your exact needs, but ultimately, the contact lenses you choose need to fit your budget. The cost of contacts will vary depending on many of the factors listed above, but it will also be influenced by the brand you choose.
When considering cost, understanding your most basic necessities can help form a baseline for what you should expect to pay for contacts. Work with your eye doctor to find the best value for your needs. Prices may also vary depending on how you order contacts—whether through your eye care provider or online. For example, Hubble offers contacts online that start at $1.
Visit Your Eye Doctor
Choosing the best contacts to suit your needs can be a challenging process. In order to get the best contact lenses, you should visit an eye care professional for eye exams regularly. Getting your eyes checked every year will help you maintain good eye health and keep your contact lens prescription up-to-date. Your eye doctor can also help answer any questions you have regarding the best contact lenses for your needs.
An incorrect prescription or a poor fit can lead to issues and potential damage to the eye. Consult with your eye doctor before purchasing contact lenses to ensure you’re getting optimal performance while minimizing potential risk.
Choose the Best Contact Lenses TodayUsing the information above, you can be confident in choosing your next pair of contacts. Being mindful of the different types, shapes, and uses can help you make an informed decision—and consulting with your eye doctor will ensure that you’re on the right track.
Once you’ve made a decision, you can choose to purchase your contact lenses through your eye doctor or online. Purchasing contacts online is a great way to shop your options from the convenience of your home—and it can provide savings as well. For example, Hubble aims to make daily disposable contact lenses affordable and accessible to all. With Hubble, you can get all the benefits of daily wear contacts coupled with rigorously tested, FDA-approved lenses that start at $1.
See what people are saying about Hubble, and get started with your own pair of Hubble contacts today.