There are traditionally two types of contact lenses: hard lenses, also known as Rigid Gas Permeable lenses (RGPs); and soft contact lenses. Over 99% of contact lenses sold in Australia are soft contact lenses, with RGPs being used primarily for specialist, complicated fits.
At Insight Vision Care, about 10% of the contact lenses we fit are RGPs.
RGPs in most situations provide more oxygen than conventional soft lenses, are more durable, and for more complex prescriptions provide better, more stable vision. They do, however, require greater skill in the fitting process and take more time to fit. We do not shy away from prescribing RGPs when they are going to give you a superior result for your vision and long term eye health.
RGP lenses can also be used to re-shape the eye while you sleep to improve vision during the day, providing clear vision for people who are short-sighted throughout the day. These lenses are called orthokeratology lenses, or Ortho-K for short. They have also been shown to slow down the progression of short-sightedness in children.
Disposable Contact Lenses
The vast majority of modern contact lenses are disposable lenses. Some lenses are a true disposable, being worn once and then thrown out. These lenses provide the greatest benefits in terms of hygiene, and have the lowest risk of infection of any soft contact lens option. Other lenses have a planned replacement time, and this can vary between 2 weeks and three months. The benefits of a planned replacement type lens means that the cleaning for the lenses is simpler, as the lenses dont need to be deep cleaned every so often they’re simply replaced.
Disposable contact lenses are available to correct long- and short-sightedness, astigmatism, and are also available in multifocals (see below). We are able to source all lenses approved for use in Australia, including Proview and Proactive Premium, Acuvue 2, Total1, and Bio-True brands.
Extended wear Contact Lenses
New materials in soft contact lenses have solved the problem of getting enough oxygen through a soft contact lens to make them suitable for overnight wear. This means that your contact lenses dont need to be removed before going to sleep, and you simply wake up with clear vision. There are several different lenses available, including the Probalance lens, the Purevision 2, and the Air Optix night and Day, with lenses for astigmatism available also, as well as multifocals (see below).
Multifocal contact lens options
Multifocal lenses are for those who need a different prescription for seeing clearly in the distance from what they need to see clearly at short distances, such as reading a book. These contact lenses take some adapting to, and are generally more involved in term of their fit, as you would normally be sent home with lenses to ensure that they performed effectively in real-world situations, rather than just with a black and white eye chart viewed at 6 metres!
Even if you’ve been unsuccessful with multifocal spectacle lenses in the past, this does not mean that contact lenses in this form won’t be suitable for you. Contact lenses, because they rotate with the eye, work in a different way to multifocal spectacle lenses, and can allow you comfortable vision for distance and reading without the need for spectacles.