Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses
Silicone Hydrogel is a contact lens material that is “oxygen permeable,” which means that oxygen can pass easily through the contact lens onto the eye, resulting in a healthier contact lens wearing experience. Heightened levels of oxygen transmissibility in contact lens wear is essential to corneal health and has been found in clinical studies to reduce contact lens-induced bacterial binding, a disorder that disrupts protective cells guarding the cornea against infection.
Hydrogel Silicone contact lenses contain less water
Because disposable silicone hydrogel contact lenses contain less water, they aren’t as prone to dehydration, making silicone hydrogel a superior contact lens material in extended wear scenarios and for contact lens wearers who suffer frequently from dry eye.
For contact lens wearers looking to wear contact lenses for a full 30 days without removing them at all, the FDA has approved certain silicone hydrogel contact lenses for continuous wear (also known as extended wear). Ask your eye care professional if you’re a good candidate for continuous wear (you can wear them to bed) contact lenses and to learn more about risks associated with contact lens-induced bacterial binding.
Who wears silicone hydrogel contact lenses?
Just because silicone hydrogel contact lenses sound good to you doesn’t necessarily mean they are right for you. Many corrective contact lens designs (i.e. toric, bifocal) aren’t offered in silicone hydrogel and not everyone can wear contact lenses for extended periods of time or while they sleep. Your eye care practitioner can help you determine whether silicone hydrogel lenses cater both to your vision correction needs and your daily lifestyle.
Gas Permeable Lenses may be healthiest of all!
Early studies showed no significant increase in contact lens-induced bacterial binding for wearers of hyper oxygen transmissible gas permeable lenses.
The level of bacterial binding for hyper oxygen transmissible silicone hydrogel lenses, such as PureVision by Bausch + Lomb and Focus Night & Day from CIBA Vision, fell in between that of Menicon’s GP lens and Vistakon’s Acuvue daily disposable, according to a series of 12-month extended wear studies sponsored by the FDA and conducted by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
Many eye care professionals agree: GP lens wear is currently the safest contact lens wearing modality available.