There is a contact lens out there for almost everyone.
During your first appointment with your optometrist you will have a chat about what type of lens would be most appropriate for your eyes and lifestyle.
The two main types of lenses are soft and gas permeable (rigid) lenses, and each of these is broken down into their own types too.
As their name suggests, these lenses are thin and flexible pieces of plastic. They are a little larger than the cornea (the clear “windscreen” at the front of your eye), which it sits on and they are breathable, generally very comfortable and most people adapt to them very quickly.
Daily disposable lenses
These lenses are the most convenient and safe because they are thrown away at the end of the day, and a new, sterile lens is used the day after. They have an increasing range of prescriptions but are usually more suitable for more common prescriptions, including astigmatism. They are great for children and active people who use their lenses for sports.
From £42 for 30 pairs, or £32 on Eyeplan
Monthly or fortnightly disposable lenses
These lenses are suitable for a wide variety of people because they are produced in a large range of prescriptions. As the name suggests, you wear them for up to a month (some are fortnightly replacement), taking them out every night to clean and store them. Some are suitable for overnight wear, but please discuss this with your optometrist at your fitting appointment.
From £12 per month (plus solutions), or £9.33 (plus solutions) on Eyeplan
These lenses contain clever technology to correct astigmatism (often described as “rugby ball shaped eyes”). They are available in daily and monthly soft lenses as well as gas permeable lenses.
Daily disposables from £56 for 30 pairs, or £42 on Eyeplan
Monthly disposables from £16.67 per month (plus solutions), or £12.67 (plus solutions) on Eyeplan
Multifocal (‘varifocal’) lenses
These lenses are suitable for those in their 40s and beyond who have difficulty in reading up close. They work a little like varifocal glasses and provide good vision at all distances. It is possible to correct astigmatism in some multifocal lenses.
Daily disposables from £60 for 30 pairs, or £46 on Eyeplan
Monthly disposables from £20 per month (plus solutions), £15.33 (plus solutions) on Eyeplan
Myopia management lenses
This is a relatively new technology, which aims to slow down the progression of myopia (short-sightedness) in children and teenagers, meaning their eventual prescription is likely to be lower than it would have been with conventional contact lenses and glasses. There are several types now available and you can visit our myopia management page for more information.
Tailor-made soft lenses
Have you ever been told you cannot wear lenses? Well, these days, that is probably not the case! We work with suppliers like mark’ennovy who are specialists in creating custom lenses for people with unusually shaped eyes and tricky prescriptions. To give you an idea of the technology now available, mark'ennovy's "standard" lens is available in prescriptions up to -30!
From £26 per month, or £19.67 on Eyeplan
Gas permeable (rigid) lenses
These lenses are smaller in diameter than soft lenses and, as their name suggests, are less flexible. While this means they can take a little time to get used to, they often provide a better level of vision, offer excellent oxygen permeability and can be easier for some people to handle. While they are a little uncomfortable to begin with, some people find them more comfortable than soft lenses long-term. They are great for people with more unusual prescriptions and can be used to correct vision in those with medical conditions such as keratoconus.
Gas permeable lenses are usually replaced every 6 to 12 months.
There are more complex designs that are used for more specialist purposes such as large diameter gas permeable lenses and hybrid lenses (which have a gas permeable centre and soft edge).