Contact Lenses
3 min read

Contact Lenses

Published on
December 4, 2023
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Contact lenses are an alternative option to spectacles for providing clear vision. At our Adelaide and Henley Beach branches, an optometrist can advise you on whether contact lenses are right for you. The following information will answer some of the questions you may have about contact lenses before your appointment. If you are a contact lens wearer it is important to have annual eye examinations to assess the health of your eyes.

Contact lenses placed on a bench. Scleral contact lens, blue corneal RGP and a soft lens.
Figure 1. Several types of contact lenses, illustrating the size and colour variations

What kinds of contact lenses are there?

Soft disposable lenses

There are several different types of soft disposable lenses. Typically spherical and sphero-cylindrical soft lenses are available to correct basic prescriptions like hyperopia, myopia and astigmatism, while more optically-complex multifocal soft lenses are available for prescriptions like presbyopia, as well as for myopia control. Soft contact lenses come in daily and monthly modalities, where the former requires replacement after every wear and the latter is discarded after a month of wear but requires cleaning and maintenance after each wear. There are also variations in size, shape and material between soft contact lens brands. Innovative Eye Care recommends Alcon soft contact lenses, which can be purchased through our practice, because of their superior clarity and wearability.1

Click here to find out more about soft contact lenses.

soft contact lens sitting upright on an index finger, with some contact lens tools and cases in the background
Figure 2. A soft contact lens placed on a finger before insertion
Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses

RGP lenses are made from a stiffer material. Because of this, careful fitting is required. Rigid lenses are generally reserved for very high prescriptions or precision fits, including for irregular corneal surfaces (like keratoconus) or following injury and surgery.4 They provide a clarity of vision in these cases that isn’t possible in conventional soft lenses, which makes them perfect for things like sport. Depending on how well they’re looked after, they can last up to 2 years before needing to be replaced, although they have some potential for loss even when on-eye due to their small size.

Innovative Eye Care practitioners have had a keen interest in rigid lens fitting for a number of years and use a pioneering lens design software called EyeSpace to custom-design every hard lens used in the practice. Often during the fitting process, the lenses may feel slightly uncomfortable, but this subsides with regular wear. Learn about proper care of RGP lenses here to prevent the risk of infection, although this risk is lowest across the entire range of contact lenses, particularly with EyeSpace’s manufacturingprocess.2, 5

Click here to find out more about RGP lenses.

small diameter rigid material contact lens placed on a finger before insertion.
Figure 3. Corneal RGP lens placed on a finger before insertion
Night Lenses

Night Lenses (ortho-K for short) are an exciting new treatment in vision correction. Night Lenses work while you sleep by gently reshaping the centre of the cornea (the transparent optical surface at the front of the eye) with custom-designed contact lenses, using the hydrostatic forces of your own tears underneath the lens to redistribute the most superficial cells. When the lenses are removed in the morning, the change in the cornea’s optical structure gives clear vision without the need for any spectacles or contact lenses.

Night Lenses can treat mild to moderate myopia (short-sightedness), mild hyperopia (long-sightedness), mild astigmatism and even presbyopia of all, the Night Lenses vision correction process is completely reversible, unlike laser eye surgery. It has recently been shown to reduce the progression of short-sightedness in younger patients, which is extremely important in preventing complications with age including retinal detachment and glaucoma.6 When cared for correctly, the risk of infection with Night Lenses is similarly low as in overnight wear soft lenses.7

Figure 4: A well-fitted fluorescein pattern of a myopic Night Lens

Click here to find out more about Night lenses.

Scleral lenses

Scleral lenses are larger diameter RGP lenses commonly used in extreme corneal irregularity and dry eye disease.8 Their larger size means they rest on the white of the eye (sclera) rather than on the clear, sensitive part of the eye (cornea), unlike conventional RGPs. This makes them very stable on eye, and as the tear film under the lens fills in the irregular gaps of the corneal surface, it provides extremely clear vision. It also makes them incredibly comfortable because the lens vaults over the sensitive part of the eye and bathes it in fluid, reducing the sensation of dryness that can be common with contact lens wear.

Click here to find out more about scleral lenses.

an eye, with a scleral lens being removed from it using a suction tool.
Figure 5. A scleral contact lens being removed from an eye, held with a contact lens removal tool

How do I know if contact lenses are right for me?

You need to see your optometrist to determine if contact lenses are right for you, or to obtain a script for your contact lenses.

Careful fitting of all contact lenses is required to offer the clearest and most comfortable vision without compromising the health of the eye. The costs of being fitted into contact lenses varies depending on the type of lens used and the complexity of the fitting process. For most contact lens designs, additional specialized technology needs to be used, such as corneal topography, tomography and wavefront aberrometry, which can attract additional charges. We conduct these measurements at a discount price for concession card holders.

Can I wear contact lenses for reading instead of reading glasses?

Yes, Spectacles aren't the only option for both distance and near vision! If you're over 45 years of age and typically wear reading glasses, progressive or bifocal spectacles, that doesn't mean you can't wear a pair of contact lenses to provide the same level of vision. Contact lenses are perfect for when you want to be able to do the things you enjoy in life without the hassle of having to wear a frame on your face. There are two primary options for presbyopic contact lens wear: multifocal contact lenses and monovision (or blended) contact lenses.

  • Multifocal contact lenses: With these lenses, your eyes are focused for both distance and near vision at the same time. Your brain determines which image it needs to concentrate on and ignores the other. Majority of patients find these lenses allow them to perform most visual tasks in their life with about the same visual quality.
  • Monovision contact lenses: With monovision, one of your eyes is corrected for distance and the other is corrected for near vision. If looking into the distance your brain will prioritise the eye set for distance, when reading the brain will prioritise the eye set for near.
  • Night Lenses (Orthokeratology): These contact lenses remould the cornea as you sleep, meaning you do not have to wear any correction during the day. It provides a multifocal effect by increasing depth of focus.

Are contact lenses expensive?

Daily replacement soft lenses tend to be priced at around $1 per lens, although depending on wearing schedule monthly and fortnightly replacement lenses can be around 2 thirds of the cost. However, cleaning and storage solutions are also required for these lenses. More complex soft lenses, like torics to correct astigmatism or multifocal lenses for patients with presbyopia, will be more expensive than standard spherical soft lenses.

The cost of RGP, ortho-K and scleral lenses is dependent on the complexity of the design. Scleral lenses take longer to manufacture and use a larger quantity of material, which is translated into a slightly higher cost than RGP lenses. Despite this, the cost of rigid and scleral lenses is cheaper than soft lenses in that they last much longer, and back-up lenses of identical parameters may be ordered at half price within 12 months of the original order depending on the warranty.

Please feel free to contact our team for more details about the costs of different contact lenses.


1) A prospective, controlled, double-masked clinical trial to evaluate the performance of PRECISION1™; Alcon data on file,2018 (available upon request).

2) Weibel, K. et al, 2013. Microbial Keratitis and Contact Lens Wear. Contact Lens Spectrum, 28(6), pp.24-40.

3) Peterson, R.C., Fonn, D., Woods, C.A.,Jones, L., 2010. Impact of a rub and rinse on solution-induced corneal staining. Optom Vis Sci. 87(12), pp.1030-1036

4) Jupiter D.G., Katz H.R., 2000. Management of irregular astigmatism with rigid gas permeable contact lenses. CLAO Journal;26(1): 14-17.

5) Wang Y, Qian X, Zhang X, Xia W, Zhong L,Sun Z, et al., 2013. Plasma surface modification of rigid contact lenses decreases bacterial adhesion. Eye Contact Lens. Nov;39(6):376–80.

6) Wildsoet, C., Chia, A., Cho, P.,Guggenheim, J., Polling, J., Read, S., Sankaridurg, P., Saw, S., Trier, K.,Walline, J., Wu, P. and Wolffsohn, J., 2019. IMI – Interventions for Controlling Myopia Onset and Progression Report. Investigative Opthalmology &Visual Science, 60(3), p.M106.

7) Bullimore, M., Sinnott, L. and Jones-Jordan, L., 2013. The Risk of Microbial Keratitis With Overnight Corneal Reshaping Lenses. Optometry and Vision Science, 90(9), pp.937-944.

8) Harthan, J. et al. (2018). Therapeutic uses of scleral contact lenses for ocular surface disease: patient selection and special considerations. Clin Optom (Auckl). 10(1), pp.65-74.


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