Specialized contact lenses

Depending on your vision needs, you might consider specialized contact lenses, such as:

  • Hybrid contact lenses. Hybrid contact lenses feature a hard, gas-permeable center surrounded by a soft outer ring. Hybrid contact lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and age-related loss of close-up vision, as well as an irregular corneal curvature (keratoconus). You might consider hybrid contact lenses if you have trouble wearing traditional hard lenses.
  • Bifocal or multifocal contact lenses. These lenses, which are available in both soft and hard varieties, can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism in combination with age-related loss of close-up vision (presbyopia).
  • Tinted contact lenses. Some contact lenses are tinted, either for cosmetic or therapeutic purposes. Tinting can enhance contrast or color perception and help compensate for colorblindness, for example. Avoid over-the-counter contact lenses, though. These lenses can cause eye injuries and infections.

Getting the right fit

Before getting contact lenses, consult your ophthalmologist or other eye care specialist for a thorough eye exam and fitting. Schedule follow-up exams as recommended by your eye care specialist. You might need a follow-up exam after one week, one month and six months, and then once a year.

Avoiding complications

Wearing contact lenses can cause problems ranging from discomfort to severe infections. To prevent problems with your contact lenses:

  • Practice good hygiene. Use clean hands when handling your contacts. Wash your hands with soap and water, rinse and dry them with a lint-free towel.
  • Remove your contacts before you go to sleep. This applies to extended wear contacts, too. Although extended wear contacts are designed to be worn overnight, continuous wear increases the risk of eye infections.
  • Minimize contact with water and saliva. Remove your contact lenses before you swim or use a hot tub. Don't put your lenses in your mouth to wet them.
  • Take care with contact lens solutions. Use only commercially prepared, sterile products designed for the type of contact lenses you wear. Discard the solution in the contact lens case each time you disinfect the lenses, and don't "top off" old solution that's already in the case. Gently rub and rinse your lenses as directed by your doctor. Don't use contact solution that's past the expiration date.
  • Replace contact lenses and cases as recommended. Follow manufacturer guidelines for replacing your contact lenses. Regularly clean your contact lens case by rinsing it with fresh solution and letting it air-dry. Consider flipping over the case while it is air-drying to drain any excess solution. Replace your case every three to six months.

Even with proper use and care, dry eyes can be an issue for contact lens wearers. If your eyes are itchy or red, remove your contact lenses and use lubricating eyedrops.

If your vision becomes blurry or you experience eye pain, sensitivity to light, discharge, swelling or other problems, remove your contact lenses and consult your eye care specialist for prompt treatment.

Oct. 22, 2015 See more In-depth