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Consumer Guide To Contact Lenses


The articles in this section are written and reviewed by experts in the field of contact lenses.

Here you'll find everything you need to know about contact lenses — including detailed descriptions of the many types of contacts for virtually any refractive error, for presbyopia or if you simply want to enhance or change your eye color.

Also included is information to help you understand your contact lens prescription, symptoms that might indicate a contact lens or eye problem, and important considerations when you shop for replacement lenses.

Contact Lens Care

How to properly clean and disinfect your contact lenses.
See also: Caring for GP Contact Lenses | Acanthamoeba Keratitis | Fungal Eye Infections

Contact Lens Discomfort: Here's What To Do

Don't suffer! Here's solid advice for specific symptoms and situations.

Contact Lens FAQ

Commonly asked questions about contact lenses, with answers from experts.

Contact Lens Wearing Tips

How to apply and remove contact lenses, tips on contact lenses and makeup, and more.

Free Trial Contact Lenses - Special Offers

Rebates, discounts and free trials for contacts and care products.

Contact Lenses For Dry Eyes

The best contact lenses for dry eyes and remedies for contact lens-related dryness discomfort.

Contact Lenses For Hard-to-Fit Eyes

The best contact lenses for conditions that make lens wear more challenging.

Where To Buy Contact Lenses

Should you purchase replacement contact lenses from your eye doctor, a retail store, or a website? Our 4-step buying guide will help you decide.

Buying Contact Lenses Online

Learn how to safely buy contact lenses online and how to find the best value.

Types Of Contact Lenses

Contact Lens News

Contact Lens Rebate Programs Make It Easy To Give The Gift Of Sight To Disadvantaged People

Contact lens manufacturers Bausch + Lomb and CooperVision now have rebate programs that let you donate part or all of your rebate to Optometry Giving Sight.

Schoolboys in Nairobi, Kenya
Schoolchildren like these boys in Kenya benefit when you donate part or all of your contact lens rebate.

OGS is the global fundraising organization that provides eye exams and glasses to people in underdeveloped areas of the world. And it funds training for local people to become eye care professionals in areas where eye care is limited or non-existent.

Contact lens wearers can submit rebate forms either through the mail or online, on a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.

For rebates on select Bausch + Lomb contact lenses, create an account on the Horizon Rewards website and submit your purchase to get your points total. You'll see a "donate" button for Optometry Giving Sight under the "Points" tab.

For rebates on select CooperVision contact lenses, visit the rebate website and follow the instructions. You will be offered a chance to apply part or all of your rebate to OGS.

For more information on Optometry Giving Sight's amazing work, visit www.GivingSight.org .

Contact Lenses And LASIK

30-Day Contacts: A Smart Alternative To LASIK?

Extended wear contact lenses and LASIK both eliminate the need for daily contact lens care. Compare the safety, effectiveness and cost of each.

My LASIK Journey Guide - Sponsored Section

Answers to your questions about LASIK — whether you're just starting your research or want information about the procedure and follow-up care.

Contact Lenses After LASIK

If you need sharper vision after LASIK or other vision surgery, specialty contact lenses can help.

About Contact Lenses

Today's contact lenses fall into two categories: soft lenses that are made from water-containing plastics, and GP or "oxygen permeable" rigid contact lenses.

Contact lenses may also be classified by wearing schedule. Daily wear contacts must be removed, cleaned and stored each night, while extended wear contact lenses are made from materials which are safe for overnight wear. Sometimes "continuous wear" is used for a type of extended wear lens that can be worn for up to 30 days.

Contacts can also be described by replacement interval — that is, how often you discard the lenses and replace them with a fresh pair.

Daily disposable contact lenses are discarded nightly and therefore require no care, cleaning or lens case. Other common replacement intervals are weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly; any of those lenses can be called "disposable." Traditional, non-disposable lenses are usually replaced once a year, but these lenses are generally limited to unusual or difficult-to-manufacture prescriptions.

Contact Lens Designs

Various contact lens designs are available for different vision problems. Spherical contact lenses correct nearsightedness or farsightedness and are indicated by a minus or plus in your prescription, respectively. Bifocal contact lenses are similar to multifocal eyeglasses in that they use different optical zones to correct presbyopia (the age-related, decreased ability see at both near and far distances). Toric contact lenses correct astigmatism, which can accompany either nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Many lens designs come in colors that can enhance or change your natural eye color. Special-effect contact lenses are also available for novelty use and are used extensively in theatrical and filmed productions. Prosthetic lenses are colored contact lenses that can cosmetically mask eye disfigurement. Many contact lenses come with an embedded UV inhibitor as well.

Which Type Of Contact Lenses Is Best For You?

Your eye care practitioner will help you choose contacts that:

  • Enable you to see clearly
  • Fit comfortably
  • Match your lifestyle

Factors involved in prescribing the best contact lenses for your needs include: the size and shape of your eyes; your refractive error; whether you have presbyopia or dry eyes; your desired wearing time and lens replacement schedule; whether you want lenses that enhance or change your eye color; your willingness to clean and care for the lenses daily; and more.

Read an expanded introduction to contact lenses.


Page updated August 20, 2018