About Contact Lenses
Contact lenses revolutionized the eye care industry and have made it easier for millions of people to achieve better vision without eyeglasses. When it comes to contacts, what are the different types of lenses, and what makes them different? Whether you're new to contacts or you're just curious, read on to learn more about the different types of contacts, how they're made, and more.
How Are Contacts Made?
Modern manufacturing has made it easy to make contacts using several different methods. Lathe cutting is a process that uses small, hard disks of contact lens material on a spinning shaft. The lathe can rotate at 6,000 revolutions per minute and uses special computerizes cutting tools for the perfect shape and size. Once the process is done, the lens is polished, hydrated, and tested. Another way contacts are made is through injection molding. The soft contact material is heated to a liquid state and then injected into pressurized molds. Once the molds are shaped, the same process of polishing and hydrating the lenses takes place before testing them for quality.
What Are Contacts Made Of?
The material used to make your contacts depends solely on the type. Whether it's soft contact lenses, hybrid, or RGP contact lenses, each style has a very specific design and material requirement. Here are the various types of contacts and what they're made of:
- Soft contact lenses: These contacts are made of special plastics that absorb water so they stay soft and moist. If soft contact lenses get dried out, they can turn brittle and break. The plastic in soft lenses must stay moist, and they do so by remaining in your eyes or by being stored in a case so they remain pliable and comfortable. Many soft lenses are made of something called silicone hydrogel that absorbs water using silicone.
- RGP contact lenses: Rigid gas permeable lenses are also made of plastic, but they transmit oxygen to the eyes without absorbing water. RPG lenses use tiny microscopic holes to allow for airflow. This type of contact lens is usually made of acrylate, silicone, and fluorine. You may also know RGP contact lenses as "hard lenses" although they're still comfortable to wear. Some people prefer these lenses since they stay put in the eye and give better visual acuity than other types of lenses.
- Hybrid contact lenses: Combining soft and RGP lenses together, hybrid contacts are more rare than soft and RGP lenses alone. A hybrid lens uses the same combination of materials as RGP lenses for the center of the lens to give you sharpened central vision. The soft, water-absorbing hydrogel of soft contact lenses is found around the edges, helping you get comfortable wear when using hybrid lenses. Most hybrid contacts are for multifocal or bifocal lenses or for treating certain types of astigmatism.
Now that you know more about the different types of contact lenses, you can see why each one works for different people. Depending on your prescription and your specific eye condition, you'll receive soft, RGP, or hybrid lenses to help you see more clearly.