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Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses

Let us first define what silicone is for better understanding. Silicones are non-reactive, artificial substances that come in a wide variety of forms and uses that are characteristically heat resistant and rubber-like.

What are silicone hydrogel contact lenses?

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are the latest development in soft contact lens material. Healthier than the usual soft lenses because it allows up to 6 times more oxygen to pass through the lens which also increases oxygen transmission resulting to better eye health. The new generation of "super-permeable " contact lenses that can transmit unparalleled amounts of oxygen to the cornea and in some cases, allow you to wear contact lens for 30 successive days without removing it.

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses characterize advancement over the traditional hydrogel soft contact lenses, for the reason that silicone permits more oxygen to penetrate through the lens which is essential in order to have a healthy cornea. Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are advantageous over conventional contact lenses for these following reasons: more resistance to protein deposits lessening the dryness of contact lens, decreases the risk of eye infections, easier handling due to the increased materials rigidity and lesser incidences of complications when contact lenses are worn in a long period of time (overnight wear).

Recent studies also show that silicone hydrogel contact lenses deliver 3 times of oxygen to the cornea compared to other leading hydrogel soft contact lens brands.

How do silicone hydrogel contact lenses work?

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are oxygen permeable which uses both polymer and water content to transfuse oxygen to the eye as compared to soft contact lenses that's traditionally made from soft, water-containing plastics. Most people would benefit from wearing silicone hydrogel contact lenses compared to the usual soft lenses due to its health advantages, especially for this type of patients: patients with high prescription, wearers who experience discomfort, redness or dryness from wearing soft contact lenses, those in need of more oxygen in the eyes and people who tend to wear their contact lenses for more than 12 hours a day and especially kids and teenager who most often habitually over wear their contact lenses.

Benefits from wearing silicone hydrogel contact lenses

  • Silicone hydrogel contact lenses have made the 30-day contact wear also known as "continuous wear" available again.
  • Contains less water than the other conventional contact lenses. Resulting to lesser chances of dehydration while wearing them. Gives more comfort for people who wear contact lens for long days.
  • People who regularly sleep with their lenses are those who can mainly benefit from silicone hydrogel contact lenses since these lenses were also specifically made for a longer wearing time interval.
  • Studies have shown that there are no infections or risks found from wearing these types of contact lenses, whether it is for daily or overnight use.
  • People experience lesser dryness and discomfort.

Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses - LASIK Surgery alternative

Wearing this type of 30-day wear contact lenses, offers benefits that's similar to laser vision correction. The incessant wearing of silicone hydrogel contact lenses may be the best option for those who can't afford to have LASIK surgery and for people who are hesitant and unwilling to risk a surgical method or for those who are not very good candidates for the surgery because of their vision needs.

Brands that offer silicone hydrogel contact lenses:

  1. Focus Night and Day - can be used for 30 days continuous wear
  2. Acuvue Oasys - approved for 2 weeks daily wear use or extended wear for 6 nights, intended to be more wettable and beneficial to others who have dry eyes.
  3. Ciba's O2 Optix - silicone hydrogel contact lens that can be used for 6 days or 2 weeks daily wear
  4. Bausch & Lomb's Purevision - approved for 30 days wear time
  5. Vistakon Acuvue Advance - 2 weeks disposable lens which has not yet approved for extended wear

There are also 2 types of toric silicone hydrogel contact lenses (for astigmatism) available:

  1. Bausch & Lomb PureVision Toric - approved for 30 days consecutive wear type of silicone hydrogel contact lens
  2. Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism - currently approves as a 2 weeks everyday wear lens

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are indeed beneficial to most contact lens wearers; however it may not be the lens choice by all patients. These lenses are commonly more expensive than non-silicone lenses, so patients who are more price-conscious may not prefer this option. But overall, its health advantages and decreased level of discomfort makes it a popular choice for contact lens wearers.


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