6 Tips to Choose the Best Contact Lenses for Your Needs (2023)

Contact lenses are one of those things that many people have, but you'd never know it -- because no one else can see them. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionreports that 45 million Americans wear contact lenses.

With how common contact lenses are, it's important to understand how to go about selecting what's right for you, because they're not all the same. There are different lens types, different colors and even different uses. Some contact lenses are thrown out after a day, while some you can wear for a week -- without ever taking them out.

Ahead, find out everything about how to know what contact lenses to buy and how to take care of them.

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6 Tips to Choose the Best Contact Lenses for Your Needs (2)

Consult with your optometrist

If you suspect you might need some sort of assistance with your vision, your first step should always be paying a visit to your optometrist. Your doctor can perform an eye test to gauge exactly what you need and help you decide what kind of contact lenses are right for you, your vision and your lifestyle. Contact lenses aren't the right answer for everyone, and an optometrist can let you know if they aren't something you should try.

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Consider the different types of contact lenses

Not all contact lenses are created equal. There are a handful of different styles to choose from that are for different needs and purposes.

  • Soft contact lenses: These are flexible and often disposable. They're great for people who have dry eyes as they help keep the eyeball hydrated. These do tend to be fragile, though, and can tear easily, which will irritate your eyes.
  • Disposable lenses: Exactly as they sound, disposable lenses are designed to be used for short periods of time, often for just a day or perhaps a week. These lenses are rotated often and are great for people who have a hard time keeping track of things -- you don't have to worry about losing these because you throw them out at the end of the day.
  • Gas-permeable lenses: These are more rigid than soft lenses and tend to be much more durable. Because they're a little thicker, they're a better option for people who have astigmatism, because they have a bit more scope to improve your vision.
  • Bifocal lenses: Just like you can have bifocal glasses, you can also get bifocal contact lenses. These are designed for people who are both near- and far-sighted.
  • Extended-wear lenses: The opposite of disposable lenses, extended-wear contact lenses are designed to last. However, the biggest difference with these is that you can also sleep in them (which is usually a big no-no). With most contact lenses, you'd take them out at night, but extended-wear lenses can be left in 24/7, usually for up to a week. These are perfect for anyone who doesn't want to bother with their contacts any more than they have to.
6 Tips to Choose the Best Contact Lenses for Your Needs (3)

Get your prescription and a proper fitting

First thing to do is get your vision checked by a medical professional. Go for an eye exam to find out what prescription you need before you dive into buying contact lenses. Though you can order lenses on the internet, you shouldn't do that until you've consulted your eye doctor to find out what your prescription is and what exact lenses will work for you. This also includes an exam of your actual eyeball to understand your corneal curvature and pupil size.

All of these factor into what contact lenses will be the most comfortable and suitable for your lifestyle. And while you might be tempted to move forward with purchasing lenses without seeing an optician, just know that your eyes are very delicate, and putting the wrong lenses (that aren't properly fitted or don't suit your vision) into your eyes can cause lasting damage.

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Research different brands

Most likely, your eye doctor will offer a variety of contact lens brands for you to choose from. While taking a recommendation from your eye doctor is best practice (they're the professionals, after all), you can also do your own independent research to decide which brand you're most comfortable with. Choosing high-quality lenses from trusted companies is advisable, as these are the most likely to provide safe lenses that fit comfortably in your eyes. When in doubt, ask your eye doctor for their recommendations.

Check your insurance coverage

For many people, insurance coverage will be a large factor in eye care. Check your insurance coverage to see what you can get covered when it comes to eye exams and contact lenses. If your health insurance covers eye care, you may get a yearly eye exam included in your plan. Your eye doctor can then help you understand what coverage you're entitled to with contact lenses -- this can vary from brands to lens type. If you have a health savings account, this can also help you save money on your eye care, because you're paying for more than just the lenses. You'll also need to get a contact lens solution and an extra case or two. Many people who have contact lenses also have a pair of glasses as well -- for emergencies or lazy days when contact lenses are too much to bother with -- so that's another cost to factor in.

6 Tips to Choose the Best Contact Lenses for Your Needs (4)

Tips for finding affordable yet quality contact lenses

Even if you don't have health insurance, it's important to still get a prescription from an optometrist before getting contact lenses. Once you have the prescription in hand (along with a contact lens recommendation), you can search online for contact lens retailers that may be more cost-efficient than shopping directly through your eye doctor. Plenty of online retailers will offer contact lenses without needing insurance at affordable costs, specifically for people who live a budget-conscious lifestyle. They will require a prescription from your optometrist, though, which is why that should always be the first step in this process.

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Consider the maintenance and care required for your contact lenses

Your eyes are delicate, so it's important that you're doing everything you can to keep them clean and healthy. That means taking care of your contact lenses. Even if you're wearing daily disposable lenses, you'll want to have contact lens solution on hand if you need to rinse your lenses or take them out at any point during the day.

There are three types of contact lens solution on the market, and you'll need to use what's best for you and your lenses.

  • Multipurpose solution: This is the most common and is a catch-all for most lenses. This is good for all soft lenses.
  • Hydrogen peroxide-based solution: For anyone who has a sensitivity to multipurpose solution, a hydrogen peroxide-based solution is the next best thing. These solutions are used with a special case that turns it into saline (so it won't damage your eyes).
  • Rigid gas permeable solution: This is for rigid gas permeable lenses only. Because those lenses are made differently from soft lenses, they need to be cared for differently.

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Tips for cleaning, storing and handling contact lenses

Here's what you should keep in mind when handling your contact lenses:

  • Always make sure your hands are clean.
  • After you take a lens out, clean it in your hand with contact lens solution before putting it into the case with more solution to soak.
  • Don't clean your lenses or cases with tap water -- use solution only.
  • Replace your cases every three months.
  • Don't transfer contact lens solution to smaller bottles for travel, as this can negate its sterility.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


How do I choose the right contact lens for my eyes? ›

How do I choose the best contact lenses?
  1. How Often Will You Wear Contacts? ...
  2. How Picky Are You About The Sharpness Of Your Vision? ...
  3. Are You Willing To Care For Your Contacts Properly? ...
  4. Is Overnight Wear Important To You? ...
  5. Do You Want To Change Your Eye Color? ...
  6. Do You Wear Bifocals? ...
  7. What About Contact Lens Costs?
Jan 18, 2019

How do I know what type of contact lenses I need? ›

A contact lens prescription is separate from a glasses prescription, and your eye doctor will need to perform a contact lens exam and fitting to see what type of contact will suit your eyes best. Make sure to let your doctor know that you're interested in wearing contact lenses when you book the exam.

How to choose contact lenses for astigmatism? ›

Toric contact lenses are often the best choice for contact lens wearers with an astigmatism, because they're specifically designed to address the problem. The special shape of a toric lens creates different refractive, or focusing, powers that can help correct either a corneal or a lenticular astigmatism.

What is the most important step in caring for contact lenses? ›

Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings. Use only fresh solution to clean and store contact lenses. Never reuse old solution. Change your contact lens solution according to the manufacturer's recommendations, even if you don't use your lenses daily.

How do I know what strength contact lenses I need? ›

The figure in front of 'power/sphere' (PWR/SPH) or 'D' (dioptres — a unit that measures a lens' refractive power) indicates the strength of your prescription. This describes the amount of vision correction you need. The number goes up from 0 in increments of 0.25, for example: +1.00, +1.25, +2.00, +2.25, etc.

Which contact lenses are best daily or monthly? ›

People with dailies don't have to worry about cleaning the lenses because you just throw them away each night and put in a new pair each morning. However, a monthly lens may work better for people who find solace in a daily cleaning routine or those who don't want to keep a large stock of contacts on hand.

What contact lens do most doctors recommend? ›

Meet the Experts
Quick Look:
Best Daily Contact Lenses -Acuvue Oasys 1-Day
Best Monthly Contact Lenses -Alcon TOTAL 30
Best Contact Lenses for Extended Wear -Air Optix Night & Day Aqua
Best Contact Lenses for Sensitive Eyes -Acuvue Oasys 1-Day
4 more rows
Mar 31, 2023

What is the most popular type of contact lenses? ›

Soft Contact Lenses

The most popular type of contacts worn today, soft lenses are available in tints, bifocals, multifocals, as well as disposables.

What are the 3 types of contact lenses? ›

  • Soft Contact Lenses. Soft contact lenses are made of soft, flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. ...
  • Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. ...
  • Extended Wear Contact Lenses. ...
  • Disposable (Replacement Schedule) Contact Lenses.
Jan 16, 2018

Who Cannot wear contact lenses? ›

Although, not everyone can wear them comfortably. Eye conditions, such as dry eye disease or blepharitis, may make wearing contacts uncomfortable and risky. A severe refractive error, allergies, or contact lens intolerance can also make wearing contact lenses difficult.

What is the difference between toric and astigmatism? ›

Toric contact lenses can rectify astigmatism. The main difference between these and regular lenses is the design. Regular lenses have just one power, but toric lenses have two: one for distance vision and one for astigmatism.

What causes astigmatism to worsen? ›

Astigmatism frequently worsens with age. Your cornea can become more irregular due to pressure from your eyelids as they lose muscle tone. Astigmatism generally stays stable until your turn 50. After then, your lens curvature progressively worsens each decade.

Can I put my contacts in hydrogen peroxide overnight? ›

Leave contacts in the solution for at least 6 hours to allow the neutralizing process to finish. Never rinse your contact lenses with hydrogen peroxide solutions or put these solutions in your eyes.

Do you have to rinse daily contacts before putting them in? ›

Always use fresh contact solution to clean your contacts before you put them in. Never rinse your contacts with old solution (even from the night before), water or saliva. None of these adequately disinfect your contacts or remove the buildup of proteins and germs—and can contaminate your lenses.

Should I rinse my contacts before putting them in? ›

In the morning, before putting in your contacts, wash and dry your hands and then give your lenses another rub and rinse with fresh solution.

Should my contact lenses be the same strength as my glasses? ›

In general, the prescriptive power of a contact lens will be somewhat less nearsighted than eyeglasses. So in most simple words, the power of a contact lens will be lower than the eyeglass prescription.

Should I round axis up or down? ›

Round down, not up when choosing the amount of cylinder in the lens. For example, if the patient requires a -1.50 cylinder but -1.25 and -1.75 are the only available cylinder powers, I use a -1.25, not a -1.75. The reason is that minus rotation is less noticeable in the lower cylinder power.

Does it matter what contact lenses I buy? ›

Different brands of contact lenses are made from different materials, and just because another brand has a similar base curve and diameter does not mean it will fit the same. Wearing the exact brand that you have been prescribed will help prevent medical problems and allergic reactions to the different materials used.

What's cheaper daily or monthly contacts? ›

Daily disposable contacts are more expensive than biweekly and monthly disposable contacts. (Read more about the difference between daily and monthly contacts.) Toric contacts for astigmatism are more expensive than spherical (non-toric) contacts for nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Do daily contacts dry out faster? ›

The disadvantage of daily lenses for anyone with an active lifestyle is that the thinner contacts tend to dry out more quickly.

Why are dailies better than monthlies? ›

Daily disposables are considered the healthiest choice because there is no day-to-day build-up of deposits. They come ready to insert in individual, sterilised blister packs for one-time use. Dailies are ideal for anyone susceptible to seasonal allergies because they minimise pollen build up.

What is the safest contact lens? ›

Daily disposable contact lenses appear to be the safest. Steps to make contact lens wear as safe as possible include proper hand washing, following cleaning processes as described by your optometrist or eye doctor, and attending regular follow-up examinations.

What is the most common eye infection in contact lens wearers? ›

The most common eye infection related to contact lens usage is keratitis, a corneal infection that can range from mild to severe and has multiple causes. Serious eye infections can cause corneal scarring, which can ultimately require a corneal transplant to restore vision.

Which contact lenses allow most oxygen? ›

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are advanced soft lenses that allow more oxygen to pass through the lens to the cornea than regular soft ("hydrogel") contacts. In fact, silicone hydrogel lenses enable up to five times more oxygen to reach the cornea than regular hydrogel lenses.

Which brand has the best lenses? ›

Best Camera Lens Brands Today: Top 10 Lens Manufactures
  • Olympus.
  • Panasonic.
  • Leica.
  • Zeiss.
  • Sigma.
  • Tamron.
  • Tokina.
  • Samyang / Rokinon.

What is the strongest contact lens you can get? ›

What is the strongest contact lens prescription? Contact lenses can be prescribed for extreme degrees of myopia, even for those who need correction of more than -20 Dioptres. Some lenses can go over -30 Dioptres. For regular soft contact lenses, the highest level of corrective power is about -12 Dioptres.

What contacts are easiest to put in? ›

When it comes to contact lenses for beginners or first time users, the top four for 2023 are:
  • Crystal Aqua Daily.
  • Focus Dailies All Day Comfort.
  • Crystal 1 Day.
  • 1 Day Acuvue Moist.
Sep 11, 2016

Are plastic or glass lenses better? ›

Plastic lenses are clearer to see out of and less prone to glares because they are less reflective than glass lenses. Plastic lenses are offered in more colors and larger sizes than glass lenses, which make them more versatile. Essentially you can get any type of frame in prescription with plastic lenses.

How much are contact lenses without insurance? ›

Generally, they cost between $20 and $30 a box. Most people with average prescriptions should be able to get a year's worth of contact lenses for $200 to $500.

Is it harder to wear contacts as you get older? ›

As you age, this lens becomes thicker, harder and less flexible. If you're over 40 and feel like you need to hold menus and newspapers further away to help your eyes focus, you probably have presbyopia.

Is it safer to wear glasses than contact lenses? ›

Almost all complications are due to poor hygiene and maintenance, but the fact remains that contact lenses do carry more risk than eyeglasses. Oversights in lens care can cause irritation, conjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome, and other uncomfortable eye problems.

Can I wear contacts in the shower? ›

Say It With Us: Nope. To recap: Contacts and water don't mix. When wearing contacts, keep them away from water to prevent discomfort, infection, and other eye issues. Even if you've showered with your lenses in before and didn't experience any problems, that still doesn't make it a good idea.

What are the disadvantages of toric lenses? ›

Downsides include the lenses' mobility in the eyes, which can make vision blurry or inconsistent. Toric lenses are also more expensive than regular contact lenses. If you are willing to take the extra time with your optometrist to fit toric contact lenses properly, they can be a good choice to manage your astigmatism.

What are the pros and cons of toric? ›

Pro: Toric lenses generally provide clear distance vision. For some people, toric lenses give them the crispest vision of their life. Con: You will likely need glasses or contact lenses to read. Also, you will likely have to pay an extra fee for either a toric IOL or an LRI.

Who wears toric lenses? ›

Toric lenses are one such special lens available for those who have astigmatism. These lenses are available as both soft and rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses.

What do people with astigmatism see? ›

Blurred vision is the most common astigmatism symptom. It also makes it hard to see details on objects, like the words printed on a menu in front of you, or letters on a road sign in the distance. Other astigmatism symptoms include: Seeing a glare or halos around lights.

Who is most affected by astigmatism? ›

Astigmatism is often present at birth but it can also develop over time, and most often occurs with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). The rate of astigmatism significantly increases from 14.3% in the under 15-year-old age group to 67.2% in the age group of over 65-years old.

Is astigmatism considered a disability? ›

Astigmatism is a common visual impairment for which many veterans may not realize they could collect disability compensation.

What happens if you put hydrogen peroxide soaked contacts into your eyes? ›

Hydrogen peroxide placed directly into the eyes or on your contact lenses can cause stinging, burning, and temporary corneal damage. When using hydrogen peroxide you must follow the disinfecting process with a neutralizer.

Can you use eye drops with contacts? ›

Eye drops can be used to treat allergies, dry eyes, and can even be prescribed for conditions such as glaucoma. If you wear contacts you may be wondering if you can use eye drops. The answer: you can.

Can I use eye drops to store my contacts? ›

When using eye drops with contacts, follow these steps to protect your eyes and contact lenses: Wash your hands. Remove your contact lenses from your eyes (unless you're using rewetting drops that specify they can be used while your contacts are still in) Temporarily store your contacts in fresh solution.

How do you dry your hands before contact lenses? ›

Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel before touching your contacts.

What can I soak my contacts in if I don't have solution? ›

Other alternatives for contact solution: Saline!

Most people have a saline solution at home; either from nasal spray or to clean babies' eyes. Saline is one of a few alternatives for contact solution as a temporary storage liquid to keep contact lenses hydrated and lubricated.

What soap is good before putting in contacts? ›

Bar soaps, like Dial, or clear or antibacterial pump soaps are recommended. Creamy soaps like Dove and Caress transfer from hands to lens surfaces and may leave a film on the lenses.

Should your finger be wet or dry when putting in contacts? ›

Make sure your fingers are dry. REMEMBER - a lens sticks to wet surfaces (like the eye) better than dry surfaces, so if your finger is too wet, it will keep sticking to your finger and when you try to put it on the eye, it won't adhere properly.

Can I put my contacts in the case without solution? ›

You can't safely store contact lenses without the right contact lens disinfecting solution. If you don't have solution available, you'll need to buy some or dispose of your contacts and use a fresh pair next time.

How long do you have to soak contacts before using them? ›

Soak the lenses according to the manufacturer's recommended soaking time. This time will vary depending on the brand of solution but is usually between four and eight hours. Read the solution packaging thoroughly for instructions about lens cleaning and always follow the manufacturer-recommended procedure.

How do I convert my eyeglass prescription to contacts? ›

Can you convert glasses prescription to contact lenses? No – you cannot directly convert a glasses prescription to a contact lens prescription. Equally, you cannot convert a contact lens prescription to a glasses prescription.

Should contact lens prescription be the same as glasses? ›

HOW ARE THE TWO TYPES OF PRESCRIPTIONS DIFFERENT? Part of the reason for the differences is that contacts are placed directly on the lens of your eye, while glasses sit about 12 millimeters away. That seemingly minor difference requires a different prescription strength for each type of corrective eyewear.

Are contact prescriptions stronger than glasses? ›

In general, the prescriptive power of a contact lens will be somewhat less nearsighted than eyeglasses. So in most simple words, the power of a contact lens will be lower than the eyeglass prescription.

What is the strongest contact lens prescription? ›

The highest level of corrective power for monthly soft contact lenses is about -12 Dioptres (bear in mind that the average prescription for short sighted people is -2.00 Dioptres), and is available from both Purevision 2HD and Biofinity.

Can you wear contacts with astigmatism? ›

Yes, you can definitely wear contacts with astigmatism! While this news may be relieving, that's probably not the end of your questions. Understanding what astigmatism is, how it can impact your vision, and the type of contacts you can wear with astigmatism might feel overwhelming.

Why is my vision better in glasses than contacts? ›

This phenomenon is known as aniseikonia. Aniseikonia is a perception of different image size when either switching from contact lenses to glasses, or even between a person's two eyes with glasses, if there is a big enough prescription difference between them.

What happens if you wear glasses and contacts at the same time? ›

Yes. You can wear glasses and contact lenses at the same time. [toc]Many people do this because it fixes multiple issues they might have with their vision. The glasses might help with reading while the contacts improve farsightedness.

Is it better to wear one contact or none? ›

Using a single contact lens won't hurt your eyes if that's what your prescription calls for. However, if you're not wearing both contacts because you lost one of them, you may experience vision loss symptoms in the unprotected eye. Blurry, distorted vision and other side effects of uncorrected vision can return.


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