Eye Health Central

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses

Considering silicone hydrogel contact lenses?

A recent innovation in contact lens technology, silicone hydrogel has completely changed the way people wear corrective lenses.

Silicone hydrogel is a soft material that was first launched on the contact lenses market in the late 1990s. Today, contact lenses made from this material are the most popular choice amongst those in need of vision correction and options are available to cater for a variety of vision problems, including myopia and hypermetropia, as well as astigmatism.

What is silicone hydrogel?

Hydrogel - a soft plastic that contains water - has been used in the manufacture of contacts since the 1970s and was a favourite choice due to its comfortable quality. With the addition of silicone in 1999, the lenses became more gas permeable, meaning that oxygen could pass through them and ensure better health of the cornea underneath. Contacts made from this material are also less prone to drying out while being worn. This means that they are a good choice for those who suffer from dry eyes.

Today, there are around 20 different types of formulations. The main difference being length of time they can be worn - some are only suitable for overnight wear, while others can be left in for up to 30 days.

The benefits of silicone hydrogel contact lenses

Before hydrogel was in common use, contacts were usually hard lenses that were not gas permeable. This meant that, in order to ensure healthy eyes, the contacts could only be worn during the day and had to be removed at night.

After removing the older style of lenses, you would need to disinfect, clean and soak them in preparation for the next day.

But silicone hydrogel removes all the hassle. This material enables you to wear the lenses for extended periods of time and you needn't worry about a maintenance regime. Simply put the lenses in and forget about them. Once it's time to remove the contacts, just throw them away and insert a fresh pair.

Additionally, silicone hydrogel is a very soft material that is extremely comfortable to wear. Unlike earlier types of contact lenses, most new wearers need no time to get used to them, as they can hardly be felt once inserted. The soft nature of these contacts also means that they generally stay in place better than their rigid lens predecessors.

Try silicone hydrogel contact lenses

If you're wondering what the right choice is for your contact lenses needs, the best person to consult is your eye care specialist. They can provide advice and guidance with your specific vision condition and lifestyle in mind. And don't forget to get your eyes checked on a regular basis; you could even be eligible for free eye exams on the NHS.

If you're ready to buy contact lenses, Contactlenses.co.uk can help you find the perfect pair. Our collection includes a variety of items from trusted manufacturers. And if you're looking for coloured lenses or special effects lenses, we're sure to have something to match your preferences.

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 24 Apr 2015, Last modified: 17 Jul 2019