Which Contact Lenses Are the Best?
There are many brands of contact lenses, and each brand has unique features that may make it the best one for you. There is no one brand that is best for all wearers.
Approximately 90 percent of contact lenses prescribed in the United States each year are soft lenses. Factors that determine the best soft contact lens brand for you include:
Base curve. The base curve is the primary fitting curve on the back surface of the contact lens. This curve should be nearly the same as the curvature of the front surface of your eye (cornea). By conforming well to the center of your cornea, the lens surface will be smooth and uniform for clear, undistorted vision.
During your contact lens fitting, your eye care professional will choose a soft lens brand that has an appropriate base curve for the shape of your eye. Though most brands have common base curves that fit the average cornea well, you may need a lens with a steeper or flatter base curve that only certain contact lens brands feature.
Diameter. The diameter of a soft contact lens is important for lens centration and comfort. Based on the shape of your eye, you may need a large-diameter lens so the lens centers properly on your cornea. If you have a smaller-than-average eye, generally you will need a small-diameter lens.
Also, depending on your eyelids and the size of your eye opening, you may need a smaller lens diameter to help you apply and remove your contacts more easily.
Power. Some contact lens brands feature extended power ranges for high amounts of myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). If you need a strong correction, these brands may be best for you.
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Astigmatism design. If you have astigmatism and need a toric contact lens, different brands have different designs to ensure proper alignment of the toric powers and to reduce lens rotation during blinks and changes in head position.
Depending on the shape of your eye and other factors such as the tightness of your eyelids, you may see very well with one brand of toric lens but not well with another even if the base curve and diameter of the two brands are the same.
Surface treatments. Some soft contact lenses feature lens treatments designed to help the lenses stay moist longer for greater wearing comfort. If you have dry eyes or your lenses feel dry after a few hours of wear, brands that feature these treatments may be best for you.
The only way to know for sure which contact lenses are the best for you is to have an eye exam for contacts and a contact lens fitting.
In most cases, the first contact lens brand your eye care professional chooses will produce great results. But occasionally, a few trial lenses may be needed to determine the best brand for your individual needs.
About the Author: Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 25 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include contact lenses, nutrition and preventive vision care. Connect with Dr. Heiting via Google+.
[Page updated February 2014]