You may become overwhelmed at just the sight of the myriad contact lens types on the optometrist office shelves. With all of the options, you may wonder how your optometrist decides which contact lens type is best for you.
Your optometrist takes great care to choose the contact lens type that will keep your eyes feeling comfortable while preventing any contact-induced eye problems in the future.
Read on to learn four factors your optometrist takes into consideration when choosing your contact lens type.
1. Oxygen Transmissibility
A contact lens forms a slight barrier between your cornea and the oxygen-containing air your cornea needs to "breathe." When your corneas don't receive the oxygen they need, eye problems can develop due to corneal hypoxia.
Corneal hypoxia can cause a variety of eye problems, including corneal neovascularization. This condition occurs when new blood vessels grow along the surface of your cornea to help transport oxygen-filled blood to your oxygen-deprived corneas. This neovascularization cannot only be unsightly, causing red and inflamed eyes, but it can also lead to vision loss when it becomes severe.
One way to prevent corneal hypoxia is to limit your contact lens wear. However, if you tend to wear your contact lenses for long periods of time, your optometrist will recommend a contact lens that has high oxygen transmissibility. These lenses are made of materials that allow more oxygen to reach your corneas while you are wearing them to reduce the chances of corneal hypoxia-related eye damage.
2. Water Content
The water content of different types of contact lenses can vary greatly. Some contain under 40 percent water while others contain almost 80 percent water. While most contact lens wearers benefit from contacts with water content that lie somewhere in the middle, some people require high- and low- water content contact lenses to maintain their eye health and contact lens comfort.
Contacts with superior oxygen transmissibility often (but not always) contain a high water content, so high-water lenses are good for contact lens wearers prone to hypoxia. However, as the water content of these lenses evaporate over the course of the day, they pull more of your eyes' natural tears into them to keep them moist.
Low water contact lenses are better for people who suffer from dry eye, because they pull fewer of the eyes' natural tears into them throughout the day. In addition, low water content lenses are thinner than those with high water content, and some contact lens wearers find thinner lenses more comfortable.
3. Special Lens Technology
Many contact lenses are now equipped with special technologies that benefit people with specific eye problems or lifestyles.
For example, if you dislike bright lighting or find that it causes eye strain, your doctor may recommend contact lenses with photochromic technology. This technology causes the lenses to darken when you are inside of brightly lit rooms or outside in the sun to reduce light-induced eye strain.
If you spend long hours working in front of a computer, your eye doctor may recommend lenses equipped with special technology designed to reduce the eye strain that staring at digital devices can cause.
You can also find numerous lenses on the market today equipped with special technologies that help combat dry eye.
4. Your Preferences
If you have heard of or read about a new contact lens type that you think may prefer, then don't be afraid to speak up and ask your eye doctor if you are a good candidate.
In addition, don't be afraid to ask your eye doctor for disposable contact lenses if you currently wear typical daily wear lenses or vice versa. While daily wear lenses are cost-efficient and can keep your eyes in good health if you take great care of them, disposable lenses offer additional convenience and can help keep your eyes in optimal health with no required daily cleaning regimen.
Reach out to the staff at Family Eye Care to schedule an eye exam and discuss your contact lens options today.