In the past few years, contact lenses have transformed the way we look at the world. Gone are the days when soda-bottle glasses and un-flattering frames were the only option for a person with refractive error. Today, the contact lens market is flooded with so many brands, types and categories of lenses that for a lay-person, choosing the right lens could be a harrowing experience. Most lenses are available over-the-counter and may also be purchased online. But before ordering a lens, it is advisable to seek the help of an eye-care practitioner who will determine your precise power and asses the health of our eye before determining which lens you should opt for.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses or “hard lenses” are notorious for the initial discomfort and high maintenance. Conventional soft contact lenses last for about an year but with them, chances of infection and contamination are reasonably high. Monthly disposable contact lenses are by far the most popular among contact lens users as they are comfortable, economical, require little maintenance and are less likely to cause an eye infection. Monthly disposable lenses are thinner than the conventional yearly contact lenses and are more oxygen permeable. Only Daily Disposable lenses are better than the monthly disposables but they are considerably costlier.
Monthly disposable lenses may be worn over a period of 2-4 weeks and then replaced with new ones. The lens wear schedule may be of three types:
Daily Wear: These lenses are worn throughout the day for a recommended period of time and taken off before going to bed.
Extended or Continuous Wear: These lenses are worn continuously for a stipulated period and discarded once they are removed. They are ideal for people who have irregular sleeping habits and who work at odd hours.
Flexible Wear: This is a combination of the above two. The lenses may be slept in occasionally but may need to be taken off in between to give the eyes some “breathing time”.
Uses: Monthly disposable contact lenses can be used by people who have a refractive error like myopia (near-sightedness), hypermetropia (far-sightedness), astigmatism (irregular or cylindrical power) and presbyopia (diminished near vision after 40 years of age). Simple refractive errors like myopia and hypermetropia can be corrected with spherical lenses while for astigmatic powers, toric (cylindrical) lenses may be needed. Presbyopes can use multifocal or progressive contact lenses which have a distance and near correction inculcated in one. Most companies also offer cosmetic lenses in a wide array of colors and zero power for the fashion-conscious. For prebyopes and people with astigmatism, custom-made lenses can be made to order.
Advantages: Vision through contact lenses is visibly clearer than that with spectacles and they allow free peripheral vision which is often inhibited by glasses. Having a spectacle free face really boosts up self-esteem and makes you a more confident person. Unlike conventional contact lenses, monthly disposables do not need to be soaked in special protein-removal solutions. They just need a basic level of hygiene and care which is easy to follow and does not take up too much time.
Care and Maintenance: For comfortable wear and clear vision, it is imperative to subject your lenses to some basic care. Here are a few handy tips to help you care for your eyes and lenses:
Here is a list of reputed brands that offer a variety of monthly disposable lenses to choose from:
Bausch and Lomb: Soflens 38 and Soflens Comfort. The Bausch and Lomb Purevision lenses come in extended and flexible wear options.
CooperVision: Frequency 55 ( spherical, aspheric, toric, toric XR multi-focal) and Proclear Compatibles
Precision UV: come with a UV- protection tint.
Focus Monthly: spherical and toric lenses. Also available in Aqua, Evergreen and Royal Blue.
Surevue: lenses with visibility tint.
CIBA Vision: Air Optix- available in spherical and toric powers, these can also be used as extended wear lenses.