For all day comfort and hydration, you’d have to go a long way to beat silicone hydrogel contact lenses. Silicone hydrogel is a new generation material used by pioneering optical manufacturers like Ciba Vision, CooperVision, and Bausch & Lomb. Renowned for its permeability, this highly smooth and exceptionally soft material allows up to five times more oxygen to filter through the lens to the cornea (the eye’s lungs) than other commonly used materials.
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are made from hydrophilic plastics that are hard when dry but become very soft when they absorb water. Hydrogels attract and bind water to the surface of the lens, make it particularly wettable.
Many silicone hydrogel contact lenses are monthly disposables. This is primarily because monthlies need to be particularly comfortable and breathable to help combat the effects of oxygen deprivation. As this material allows more oxygen to pass through, eyes can breathe better and stay naturally moist. The wearer doesn’t have to resort to using an addition wetting agent.
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are also particularly effective when it comes to resisting protein, calcium, dust and dirt deposits. This is essential for eye health as deposit build-up can lead to dryness, itchy red eyes, infection and even cornea ulcers.
Extended wear lenses also tend to be made from silicone hydrogel materials for similar reasons.
Some daily disposables are made of silicone hydrogel too. Since its inception back in 1998, this material has gone from strength to strength and is increasingly being used to manufacturers for different types of lens.
Popular silicone hydrogel contact lenses include: Acuvue Oasys, Air Optix Aqua, and PureVision.