Soft Contact Lenses

Published on
December 4, 2023
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Soft disposable contact lenses offer clear vision without wearing spectacles. They have high comfort levels and a low risk of infection, along with being easy to insert and remove. Soft disposables come in daily and fortnightly/monthly types. To learn more about whether soft contact lenses are right for you, take a look at our general information page on contact lenses or book an appointment with us today.

See this page for more information on soft contact lens care.

What are soft contact lenses?

Soft contact lenses provide clear vision and lens wettability, and they are generally comfortable enough to wear all day. They are made from a polymer-plastic material combined with water. The water content varies with different lenses. Newer generation soft lenses are made out variants of a material called silicone hydrogel, which allows more oxygen to reach the eye and prevents some of the ocular health issues that older lens materials would cause.1,2

A green eye with a soft contact lens in it. It is hard to see, though the edge of the lens is just visible
Figure 1. Well centred soft contact lens on the eye.

What types of soft contact lenses are there?

Soft contact lenses come in many modalities, meaning they differ by the period of time they can be worn before needing to be replaced. There are two standard modalities that are used most daily replacement and monthly replacement lenses.

Daily lenses: Daily lenses are discarded after each use. These soft lenses are perfect for users who don’t wear contact lenses every day – they are more cost-effective to replace and don’t require cleaning or storage solutions. There’s also a reduced risk of infection and inflammation in daily lenses because there’s no opportunity for proteins or pathogens to build up on the lens with such frequent replacement, and the silicone hydrogel material allows the eye to remain healthy.1,2 Check with your optometrist whether daily soft contact lenses are right for you, as they come in a limited range of prescriptions.

Monthly lenses: Monthly or fortnightly lenses are replaced monthly or fortnightly, as the name suggests. That means they require disinfection and storage with solutions after each wear. For this same reason there is a slightly higher risk of infection or inflammatory events due to debris build-up.1,2 However, these soft contact lenses are available in a wider array of prescriptions and they can often be just as cost-effective as daily lenses for full-time wearers, even when factoring in the price of solutions. The oxygen supply is also similar to daily lenses with silicone hydrogel materials.

Soft lenses also vary by optics. Most people only require a basic spherical or sphero-cylindrical power in their lenses, which is suitable for prescriptions like myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. However, there are also multifocal lenses that can be used for prescriptions like presbyopia, as well as in the management of progressive myopia during a process known as myopia control.3

Contact lens on finger prior to insertion, with some contact lens tools in the background
Figure 2. Contact lens on finger prior to insertion

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

An appointment with your optometrist is required to discern if soft contact lenses are a good choice for you. This is for a multitude of reasons; your script might not be available, your ocular health might not allow it, your lifestyle might not besuited, and the like. If we do discover that soft lenses aren’t appropriate, there are still other options.

What are the alternatives to soft lenses?

At Innovative Eye Care, we offer alternatives to soft lenses. Each individual person has a unique set of requirements for clear vision and comfort, and soft lenses may not always be suitable. Other possibilities include rigid lenses, scleral lenses and orthokeratology.



References

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

2) 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.

3) Gifford, K. et al, 2019. IMI - Clinical Management Guidelines Report. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci, 60(3).

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