There are a number of different types of contact lenses currently available, each with their own unique features. To avoid confusion we've included a brief description of the different kinds, so you're equipped with some basic background information. When you come for your appointment we'll discuss and assess your needs and together select the most suitable type.

Hard contact lenses

These are the original contact lenses, made from a rigid Perspex material. Whilst being very durable, these contact lenses do not allow essential oxygen to pass through to the surface of the eye. Hard contact lenses have now been largely replaced by "gas permeable" lenses. Occasionally, they are still used for specialist purposes.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses

These lenses are made from semi-rigid materials, which allow more oxygen to pass through to the surface of the eye, making them much healthier to wear. RGPs cover part of the cornea and float on your tears. This means that there is some movement whilst blinking and it therefore can take slightly longer to get used to them. However once settled they prove to be very comfortable. RGPs are suitable for most prescriptions, but more so for patients who have astigmatism or irregular corneas, where they can give better standards of vision. RGPs are easy to handle, clean and very durable.

Ortho K

Ortho K, or "Orthokeratology”, is a revolutionary vision correction therapy. The procedure uses specially designed RGP contact lenses that gently corrects vision overnight while asleep, eliminating the need for contact lenses or glasses during the day. Ortho K lenses are manufactured from a special highly oxygen permeable material. When worn during the night these lenses apply a controlled shape to the cornea, eliminating short sightedness. Ortho K is ideal for low-mid short-sighted people and is a safe and comfortable form of vision correction without the risks associated with surgery. Once again BBR Optometry are the first optometrists in Herefordshire to offer patients this new treatment and our Optometrists have undergone extensive Ortho K training to deliver this service.

Scleral contact Lenses

Scleral lenses are made from similar materials to the RGP lenses but have a larger diameter which means they vault over the cornea and come to a rest upon the white part of the eye (sclera). This gives an increased comfort to the lens as well as being ideal for high prescriptions or irregular corneas. A tear fluid reservoir fills the gap between the eye and cornea and therefore they can also be suitable for people who suffer with dry eye.

Soft contact lenses

Soft contact lenses are made from pliable gel-like materials, which commonly contain between 38% and 75% water, allowing oxygen to pass more freely to the eye. Your tears help maintain the softness and flexibility of the contact lens making them more comfortable to wear and adaptation is much quicker than with RGPs. Since soft contact lenses contain water, they can become contaminated, and therefore it is essential to follow the correct cleaning and disinfecting procedure.

Disposable contact lenses

Traditionally, soft lenses have been replaced on an annual basis. Modern consensus is that this is unhealthy and not cost effective. Increasingly sophisticated material technology has led to the development of high quality soft contact lenses designed to be replaced more frequently and that are more and more breathable and obviously more comfortable. The combination of regular replacement and high oxygen transmission makes these contact lenses extremely healthy and comfortable to wear. Disposable contact lenses can be replaced every day, weekly, twice a month or once a month. Currently disposable contact lenses are available for the correction of all common vision correction needs including short-sightedness, long sightedness, astigmatism and the need for reading glasses.

Hybrid contact lenses

A Hybrid contact lens combines two different types of lenses together as one. The lenses consist of a central RGP lens surrounded by a soft lens skirt. This gives the benefit of high-quality vision that can be achieved with RGP lenses for normal and irregular corneas as well as the comfort and stability given by a soft contact lens.

Extended wear contact lenses

The latest advances in contact lens technology have led to the development of new types of disposable soft contact lens that can be worn overnight, albeit with increased risk which needs to be managed carefully. These contact lenses are made from SILICONE-HYDROGEL, some can even be worn continuously for up to 30 days.

Toric contact lenses

These are specially designed lenses to correct astigmatism. In years gone by these were difficult to measure, design and fit but this is no longer the case and we can opt for RGP, soft or disposable soft toric lenses to achieve exceptional vision

Multifocal contact lenses

All the baby boomers are at the age where reading difficulties can be expected. These lenses are highly successful suiting new wearers, those who already wear contact lenses and even those who have no need for any other optical correction. Multifocal lenses do not work like varifocal lenses and are such a natural alternative visual experience. Over half of our new lens fittings at BBR are for multifocals.

Contact lenses for children

Many optometrists and opticians simply will not fit children with lenses. Our experience is that children manage lenses very well gaining immensely in confidence and outlook over their peers. This is especially true if they are playing sport or on stage. We do not put a lower age limit on lens wear, preferring to look at each individual child and family on a case by case basis.

Coloured lenses

You can now have tinted/coloured contact lenses, which can enhance or change the natural colour of your eyes without affecting what you see. These contact lenses, which are as comfortable as other contact lenses, are available in most prescriptions and in a variety of replacement frequencies.

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