Contacts are mostly thought of as a replacement for glasses, but not always. Contact lenses come in three different types: Corrective, cosmetic, and therapeutic. Some of them overlap in purpose, such as cosmetic and corrective lenses, but all are used for different purposes, either decorative or practical. If you’re someone who’s considering contacts, here are some of the basic types.
Corrective contacts are the most commonly worn lenses. Most corrective lenses are soft presently, or made from gel. Ten years ago, however, most lenses were still made from a hard material. Soft contacts conform to the shape of the eye and allow the user more comfort. While such lenses are used to improve the vision of the eye and are used in place of glasses for many, lenses, like glasses, are geared toward various eye needs. Myopia, or nearsightedness, and hypermetropia, or farsightedness, are the most common needs for them, with astigmatism and presbyopia coming in after. Manufacturers of corrective lenses specify which type of eye condition their lenses are for. Additionally, color blindness, or color deficiencies, can be helped with ChromaGen or red-tinted lenses, as the extra red tint assists with differentiating between colors.
Therapeutic contact lenses are also used to heal or help the eye – only, these are for physical conditions only. Also called bandage contact lenses, they are used when the cornea is injured. As blinking can irritate the eye with such conditions, therapeutic lenses separate the cornea from the eyelid to reduce irritation. Such conditions requiring therapeutic contacts include bullous keratopathy, dry eyes, corneal ulcers, and keratitis.
Cosmetic contact lenses are also popular. Referred to as “decorative contact lenses,” these lenses are often used in theater and films for different eye effects. One special type is a scheral contact lens, which covers the white part of the eye. But, while such lenses create effects or change the color of the eye, some of them can be uncomfortable to wear and are used for only brief periods at a time.
When purchasing any type of contact lenses, all are made from gel. Most have a spherical shape, although theatrical contacts may be larger than others. Additionally, most are tinted, so they can be found in the cleaning solution.