Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Types of Contact Lenses

Lens Types Advantages Disadvantages
Rigid gas-permeable (RGP)

Made 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 to care for... durable with a relatively long life... available in tints (for handling purposes) and bifocals. Require consistent wear to maintain adaptation... can slip off center of eye more easily than other types... debris can easily get under the lenses... requires 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... 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 soil easily and must be replaced.
Extended-wear

Available for overnight wear in soft or RGP lenses.

Can usually be worn up to seven days without removal. Do not correct all vision problems... require regular office visits for follow-up care... increases risk of complication... requires regular monitoring and professional care.
Extended-wear disposable

Soft lenses worn for an extended period of time, from one to six days and then discarded.

Require little or no cleaning... minimal risk of eye infection if wearing instructions are followed... available in tints and bifocals... spare lenses available. Vision may not be as sharp as 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.

Require simplified cleaning and disinfection... good for eye health... available in most prescriptions. Vision may not be as sharp as 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.
  • They do not fog up, like glasses, nor do they get splattered by mud or rain.
  • Contact lenses do not get in the way of your activities.
  • Many people feel they look better in contact lenses.
  • Contact lenses, compared to eyeglasses, generally offer better sight.

Some Things To Remember About Contact Lenses

  • Contact lenses, when compared with glasses, require a longer initial examination and more follow-up visits to maintain eye health; and more time for lens care.
  • 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.