Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Types of Contact Lenses

Lens Types Advantages Disadvantages
Rigid gas-permeable (RGP)

MMade of slightly flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the eyes.

  • Excellent vision
  • Short adaptation period
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Correct most vision problems
  • Easy to put on and care for
  • Relatively long life
  • Available in tints (for handling purposes) and bifocals
  • Available for myopia control and corneal refractive therapy
  • Require consistent wear to maintain adaptation
  • Can slip off center of eye more easily than other types
  • Debris can sometimes get under the lenses
  • Require regular office visits for follow-up care
Daily-wear soft lenses

Made of soft, flexible plastic that allows oxygen to pass through to the eyes.

  • Very short adaptation period
  • More comfortable and more difficult to dislodge than RGP lenses
  • Available in tints and bifocals
  • Available in lenses that do not need to be cleaned
  • Great for active lifestyles
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses
  • Require regular office visits for follow-up care
  • Lenses wear out and must be replaced in a timely fashion
Extended-wear

Available for overnight wear in soft or RGP lenses.

  • Can usually be worn up to seven days without removal
  • Some lenses are FDA-approved for up to 30 days
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Require regular office visits for follow-up care
  • Could increase risk of complication
  • Require regular monitoring and professional care
Extended-wear disposable

Soft lenses worn for extended period of time (usually one to six days), then discarded. Lenses also available to wear from one to 30 days.

  • Require little or no cleaning
  • Lessened risk of eye infection if wearing instructions are followed
  • Available in tints and bifocals
  • Spare lenses available
  • Vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Handling may be more difficult
Planned replacement

Soft daily-wear lenses that are replaced on a planned schedule, most often either every two weeks, monthly or quarterly. .

  • Simplified cleaning and disinfection
  • Good for eye health
  • Available in most prescriptions
  • Vision may not be as sharp as with RGP lenses
  • Do not correct all vision problems
  • Handling may be more difficult

Reasons To Consider Contact Lenses

  • Contact lenses move with your eye, allow a natural field of view, have no frames to obstruct your vision and greatly reduce distortions.
  • Unlike glasses, they do not fog up or get splattered by mud or rain.
  • Contact lenses are excellent for sports and other physical activities.
  • Many people feel they look better in contact lenses.
  • Compared to eyeglasses, they may offer better, more natural sight.

Some Things To Remember About Contact Lenses

  • Compared with glasses, contact lenses require a longer initial examination and more follow-up visits to maintain eye health. Lens care also requires more time.
  • If you are going to wear your lenses successfully, you will have to clean and store them properly, adhere to lens-wearing schedules and make appointments for follow-up care.
  • If you are wearing disposable or planned replacement lenses, you will have to carefully follow the schedule for throwing away used lenses.