Soft contact lenses
• are the most commonly prescribed type of contact lenses (around 90 per cent)
• are generally comfortable to wear, easy to use and are difficult to accidentally dislodge
• correct most types of focusing errors
• can be tinted to enhance or change eye colour
• are made from flexible materials known as hydrogels, made up of part plastic and part water (silicone hydrogel lenses allow even more oxygen to pass through the lens than traditional hydrogel lenses, essential for a healthy cornea)
Soft contact lenses are suitable for people who play indoor and outdoor sports, those who don't want to wear lenses every day and people with sensitive eyes.
Rigid contact lenses
• can provide better vision than soft lenses for certain higher or more complex prescriptions, as the optics are better controlled
• are more durable than soft lenses and do not need to be replaced as often
• may require some adaptation initially until comfort levels are achieved
• are made from plastics that are less flexible than those used for soft lenses
Rigid contact lenses are suitable for a wider range of correction for shortsightedness, longsightedness and astigmatism.
Optometry Australia advises that contact lenses, regardless of type, tinting, optical power, or intended use, should only be supplied on presentation of a valid prescription.