Modern contact lenses generally fall into one of two major categories: soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP). The majority of contact lens wearers in the United States use soft contacts even though they are not necessarily "better" than RGPs. Your eye doctor can help you determine which type of contact lens is best for your individual needs.
All contact lenses are FDA class II medical devices, including ones that are worn just to change eye color. This means that you do not simply go into a store and buy contact lenses as if they were like shoes. To get contact lenses, you must first have an eye exam. During an eye examination, the doctor evaluates eye focusing, the external eye health, and tear chemistry.
Based on the exam findings and your own needs, your doctor can recommend which type of contact lens is best for you. If you have never worn contacts before, you must undergo a contact lens fitting with appropriate follow-up. This same process is necessary if you already wear contact lenses but desire switching into a substantially different type of contact lens. These professional contact lenses services are required to ensure that the lenses afford good vision, comfort, and eye health before prescribed.
Some patients mistakenly believe the "power" of the contact lens is the only important parameter in a contact lens prescription. This is not the case. The contact lens prescription may also includes crucial parameters such as lens material, center thickness, diameter, base curve, secondary and peripheral curvatures. During the contact fitting and associated follow-up, it is common for the doctor to change certain lens parameters for optimal performance. You should also know that the "power" of your contact lenses is often different from that of your glasses due to optical mathematics.
All contact wearers should own a pair of glasses. There are instances when contact lenses wear is not comfortable or convenient. In such instances, glasses serve as a back-up.