What Are Contacts Made Of?
What Are Contacts Made Of?
Whether you've been wearing contact lenses for a long time or you're thinking of switch from glasses to contacts, you may wonder just what these little vision correction devices are made of. Contacts come in many different formats the materials they're made of can depend on your unique prescription along with other factors. If you're interested in learning more about what contacts are made of, read on to learn more.
Soft Contact Lenses
Thanks to their pliable design and comfortable feel, soft contact lenses are a favorite among contact wearers. These lenses were first developed in the 1960s and made of a hydrogel material that contained around 38-percent water. Today's soft contacts contain up to 70-percent water. Soft contacts are flexible and easy to use, and new material like silicone hydrogel has made them even more comfortable. This material allows oxygen to penetrate and reach the eyes, and a plasma coating is applied to help retain moisture. You can find both hydrogel and silicone hydrogel soft contacts today. Soft lenses can have a low water content with less than 40-percent water, a medium water content coming in at between 50 and 60 percent water, or high water content, which is anything containing 60 percent water or more.
Hard Contact Lenses
The original contact lenses were made of glass and were quite thick and uncomfortable to wear. Eventually, these hard contacts morphed into new materials like plexiglass. Due to the rigid design, they don't use water or silicone to make them breathable. A chemical called fluorine is added to the plastic, forming tiny, microscopic pores on the surface. The result is what's known as a rigid gas permeable lens, which allows them to "breathe" better. While these contacts are not quite as comfortable as soft lenses, they're able to correct a lot more vision issues since the lenses aren't as chemically reactive. If your eye doctor recommends hard lenses, make sure that you keep them clean and store them properly. These lenses tend to last longer, but they also require more maintenance and care. If your eyes become irritated, look for a high-quality eye drop so you can keep your eyes moisturized.
Hybrid Contact Lenses
Just as the name implies, hybrid contact lenses blend rigid lenses for excellent vision correction together with the material of soft lenses for comfort. These contacts have a hard center surrounded by a softer lens around the edges. They're perfect for helping correct vision problems such as astigmatism or corneal irregularities. You can also find bifocal hybrid contact lenses that can help patients with presbyopia see more clearly. Ideally, many patients choose hybrid contact lenses over hard lenses thanks to the softer outer ring that makes them more comfortable to wear. Keep in mind that these contacts are only designed to correct specific vision-related issues. Whatever type of contacts you use, always consult with your eye doctor to determine what material will be best for your vision correction needs.