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If you have an active lifestyle, contact lenses might be for you. Contacts are great for all sorts of sports, from windsurfing, biking and rugby to dancing and walking in the rain. They provide superior peripheral vision. They don’t fog up or get wet in the rain. And, they don’t get knocked off and broken.

Contacts give you a chance to look your very best. With the latest disposable contacts you can wear spectacles one day and contact lenses the next. For those special occasions there are even contact lenses you can wear only once and then throw out.

 In recent years there have been great technological advances in contact lens materials and designs. These advances have made today’s contact lenses comfortable and easy to wear for most wearers.

Contact lenses may be for you if:

  • You want to play an active sport like rugby.

  • You want better peripheral vision.

  • You want lenses which don’t fog up and which let you see in the rain. (This can be very helpful if you are a cyclist).

  • You want people to see your eyes more clearly and not have them hidden behind spectacles.

Contact lens wear may not be for you if:

  • Your eyes are severely irritated by allergies like hay fever

  • You work in dusty surroundings or with lots of chemicals

  • You have very dry eyes from arthritis or certain medications

  • Your tears are disturbed from pregnancy

  • You have an overactive thyroid or uncontrolled diabetes.


Contact lenses made from more rigid materials are often called hard contact lenses. The new varieties of hard lenses are permeable to oxygen and so they are called gas permeable hard contact lenses, or gas perms for short. These lenses are also sometimes refered to as RGP lenses which stands for rigid gas permeable. Gas perms are often used for more difficult prescriptions like keratoconus and high myopia (shortsightness). Gas perms are generally harder to adapt to, are more expensive and are not suitable for active sports. They are available in daily wear and extended wear options.

Contact lenses made from more flexible materials are called soft contact lenses. Permanent soft contact lenses are made from thicker but flexible materials and generally last about 9 months before they need replacing. Disposable contact lenses are made from softer, thinner and more flexible materials which ‘breathe’ better ( are more permeable to gases ) and need replacing regularly.

Some disposables need to be replaced monthly, some 2 weekly, others weekly and some daily. Most people wear disposable soft contact lenses rather than permanent soft contact lenses.

Most disposable contact lenses are taken out each night and so they are called daily wear lenses. However, there are specially designed disposable contact lenses that can be worn 24 hours a day. These are called extended wear contact lenses.

There is a higher incidence of eye problems with these extended wear contact lenses so they are not suited to everyone.

It is very important to take advice to work out which type of contact lens is best for you.

Contact Lenses: Soft and RGP Lenses Compared

Below is a brief comparison of Soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses. A thorough eye examination and a better understanding of your specific vision requirements will help determine the best options for you.

Soft Contact Lenses


  • Greater initial comfort than hard or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses.

  • Shorter adaptation period for new wearers.

  • Ideal for intermittent wear.

  • Less susceptible to the intrusion of foreign objects under the lens, such as dust.

  • Less sensitivity to light than with hard or RGP lenses.

  • Rarely fall out of the eye, making them ideal for sports, particularly contact sports such as football or basketball.

  • Available in tinted versions.


  • Less durable than hard or RGP lenses.

  • May dry out, causing discomfort for some, especially under a hair dryer, in hot rooms, or in windy, dry weather.

  • More involved lens care, especially for conventional soft lenses.

  • Susceptible to more protein or lipid deposits, which reduce lens performance in the long term.

  • May absorb chemicals from the environment, which can cause irritation.

RGP Contact Lenses


  • Good vision.

  • Correct most corneal astigmatism.

  • Good durability.

  • Good handling characteristics.

  • Easier care.


  • Less initial comfort than soft lenses.

  • Longer adaptation period required than soft lenses.

  • More easily dislodged.

  • Can scratch and break.

  • Intermittent wear is less feasible

Contact Lenses to Correct Presbyopia and Your Distance Vision

How can you avoid those telltale signs of aging – wearing bifocals or reading glasses?

There are three contact lens options for correcting the close-up blurred vision that typically begins in middle age; a condition referred to as presbyopia.

(One of the three options still calls for reading glasses, but they can be used discreetly.)

These three options are:

  • Wearing Multifocal contact lenses

  • Wearing Monovision lenses

  • Wearing Contact lenses for distance vision with supplementary reading glasses slipped over the contacts for close work.

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