If you are new to wearing silicone hydrogel eyes contact lenses, you must be wanting to know all about the product. It is good to be inquisitive and curious about the product you use, especially in delicate areas like your eyes.
This article will run you through everything you need to know about silicone hydrogel contact lenses.
What are silicone hydrogel contact lenses?
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are a specially designed soft lens, similar to standard hydrogel soft lenses. These soft lenses allow more oxygen to pass through the lens to the cornea than regular soft contacts. In fact, silicone hydrogel lenses allow up to five times more oxygen to reach the cornea than regular hydrogel lenses.
What are silicone hydrogel contact lenses made of?
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are made of a plastic material. They become hard when they dry out. But they actively absorb water to become soft and pliable again.
What is the main function of silicone hydrogel contact lenses?
The main function of silicone hydrogel contact lenses is that they allow up to five times more Oxygen to permeate through the lens to the cornea of the eye than standard soft lenses. These lenses are great for you if you wear your lenses for long periods of time or work under conditions that aggravate the eye.
What are the benefits of silicone hydrogel contact lenses?
While wearing contact lenses, they decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes’ front surface to some degree. When the oxygen supply to your cornea is significantly reduced, it leads to a condition called hypoxia.
The symptoms of hypoxia include red eyes, corneal swelling, blurred vision, and eye discomfort. Hypoxia also can increase your risk for a number of eye infections.
Eye problems related to hypoxia became prominent in the 1990s when extended wear contact lenses first gained popularity. As more people began to wear eyes contact lenses overnight and continuously for several days, the number of contact lens-related eye infections rose.
This is where silicone hydrogel lenses come in. They were introduced with an aim to decrease hypoxia-related problems and increase the safety of both daily wear and extended wear of soft contact lenses.
By wearing silicone hydrogel lenses, it increases the oxygen supply to the eye, thus benefitting contact lens wearers, especially considering that a lot of contact lens wearers fail to comply with their eye doctors' instructions concerning proper lens wear and replacement.
As per Alcon, that provides eye care, almost one in five people who wear soft contact lenses sleep with their lenses on. And among patients who sleep with their lenses on, almost two out of three wears lenses that are not approved for overnight wear.
Because of the enhanced oxygen permeability of silicone hydrogel contacts, they are suitable for special contact lens designs that might lead to hypoxia problems if designed with traditional soft hydrogel materials.
These include any designs that need greater lens mass, for instance, toric contacts for astigmatism, bifocal contact lenses, contacts for hard-to-fit eyes, and custom contact lenses, including soft contact lenses for keratoconus. Even manufacturers of coloured eye lenses use silicone hydrogel.
The enhanced oxygen permeability opens up many possibilities for silicone hydrogel contacts, including:
- Extended wear (sometimes for up to six straight nights and days )
- Continuous wear (sometimes for up to thirty days before replacement )
- Increased comfort and performance
Will wearing silicone hydrogel contact lenses reduce the risk of keratitis and eye infections?
The answer is both yes and no.
In a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, it was found that wearing silicone hydrogel contact lenses may significantly lower the risk of severe keratitis among users.
No cases were noted of severe keratitis among patients using silicone hydrogel contact lenses for daily wear comparing to 6.4 cases of severe keratitis per 10,000 patients using regular hydrogel lenses for daily wear.
The risk of keratitis was considerably greater for both types of soft contacts among patients who used their lenses for overnight wear. The research found that there is a notably higher occurrence of severe keratitis in wearers who sleep in contact lenses compared with those who only use contact lenses during daylight hours.
The researchers recommended that people wanting to wear contact lenses continuously should wear silicone hydrogel lenses as they are much safer for overnight wear than regular hydrogel lenses.
You will find several brands of silicone hydrogel lenses that are approved and designed for a two-week and monthly replacement. You will even find single-use silicone hydrogel lenses meant for daily disposal and replacement.
Silicone Hydrogel Allergies
Cases of people developing allergies when wearing silicone hydrogel lenses are pretty much non-existent. Doctors use silicone medically for several purposes, and they say patients typically only come across problems when they switch lenses. Some eye care practitioners say there are too many other possible culprits such as tear film proteins, bacteria, dust, pollen, and chemicals to put the blame only on the silicone. In case you develop severe allergies and are worried about switching to silicone hydrogel lenses, talk with your doctor.
Who Can Wear Silicone Hydrogel Contacts?
Like many others, you will benefit from wearing silicone hydrogel lenses rather than conventional soft lenses. It brings health advantages. The lenses are especially useful for the following types of people:
- Patients with high prescriptions
- People whose eyes require more oxygen
- People who experience end-of-day discomfort, dryness, or redness with their conventional soft lenses
- People who work long hours in low humidity air-conditioning
- People who wear their lenses for more than twelve to fourteen hours a day, including overnight wear
- Younger contact lens wearers who tend to over-wear their lenses or do not clean them properly or as often as recommended
Types of Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses
You will find three types of silicone hydrogel lenses. They are:
What differentiates the types of silicone hydrogel lenses?
The difference among these contact lenses is how long they are meant to be worn. You can choose among daily disposals, six-day extended wear, two-week daily wear, or thirty-day continuous and daily wear lenses.
To find out which lens would benefit you, you can talk to your doctor about your options, taking into account the sensitivity of your eyes.
What’s in Silicone Hydrogel Contacts?
Different brands use different materials in their silicone hydrogel contact lenses. But all of them contain silicone hydrogel and oxygen. Some of the brands include unique materials like Balafilcon A, Lotrafilcon A, Lotrafilcon B, and Senofilcon A. Usually, silicone-based lens materials have low surface energy, thus they have decreased surface wetting.
Are Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses For You?
Most eye doctors agree that the most evident benefit of silicone hydrogel lenses is the reduction of hypoxia-related problems that come with soft lenses made of regular hydrogel materials.
Introducing silicone hydrogel lenses has led to fewer contact lens-related red eyes, discomfort, and serious keratitis problems from wearing contacts for extended periods of time.
And thanks to their increased oxygen transmissibility, silicone hydrogel lenses have enabled many people to comfortably wear contacts for longer hours than they could have with regular hydrogel lenses.
However, like everything, it has its pros and cons. Some studies reveal that silicone hydrogel lenses are more prone to certain types of contact lens deposits than regular hydrogel lenses. In some cases, the silicone material tends to attract more lipid deposits, leading to blurry vision and discomfort. What is beneficial to a person can have a negative effect on another.
In order to determine whether silicone hydrogel lenses are the right choice for you, the best bet is to discuss all possible contact lens options with your eye doctor.
Also, remember to buy only the best contact lenses from reputed brands to safeguard your eyes.
How to take care of your silicone hydrogel lenses?
To be specific, there is a 1 in 2,500 chance of developing an infection if you choose to wear your contacts for a long time. You are encouraged to take your lenses out nightly to reduce these chances. Wash your hands before putting in or taking out lenses. Follow these simple guidelines for the daily care of your silicone hydrogel lenses:
- Rub your lenses when you clean them as soaking alone will not remove debris.
- Cleanse your lens case every day with hot water. Let it air-dry, rinse with multipurpose solution, and fill the case with a fresh supply. Avoid topping off the old solution with new.
- Replace your case monthly.
- Keep your eyes moist. Use rewetting drops or artificial tears several times a day.
Where can you buy silicone hydrogel lenses in India?
You will find that many online and offline stores sell silicone hydrogel lenses in India. One of the leading companies in the industry is O-lens. It is a company that offers a wide range of coloured eye lenses including coloured silicone hydrogel lenses.
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