Color Contact LensGas Permeable Contact LensMulti-Focal Contact LensSoft Contact LensToric Contact Lens

There are four types of color contact tints available — visibility, enhancement, opaque and light-filtering.

Visibility Tint: The contact’s visibility tint is so light in color, it is designed to not affect the eye color of the user. This tint is so the user can see the contact to handle it.

Enhancement Tint: These contacts have a more solid tint (although still translucent) and are designed to enhance the color of your eye. The contacts are slightly deeper in color than a visibility tint and were designed for those with light-colored eyes. There are numerous enhancement tints to choose from.

Color Tints: These contacts are a solid tint, opaque in color and are designed to change the color of your eye considerably, extremely, dramatically. They are primarily used for cosmetic purposes. These contacts are designed for those with dark-colored eyes. There is a wide variety of color tints available.

Light-filtering Tints: These have been designed especially for outdoor sporting and recreational activities. The lenses help enhance certain colors, such as optic yellow tennis balls, some softballs and golf balls, along with the different greens of a golf course.

Many colored contact lenses are available in plano (i.e. without visual correction), and have also been designed for those with astigmatism, multi-focal needs and those wanting disposable or frequently replaced lenses.

Rigid gas permeable lenses are more rigid than soft contact lenses and therefore more durable. Unlike older versions of hard contact lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses are made with silicone polymers, allowing oxygen to circulate to the cornea of the eye.

Compared to soft contact lenses, rigid gas permeable contacts maintain their shape and offer clearer vision for some types of corrections. They are also easy to take care of and are extremely durable. The amount of time needed to adjust to rigid gas permeable contact lenses is longer than with soft contact lenses. To achieve maximum comfort, a rigid gas permeable contact lens should be worn every day.

Both rigid gas permeable and soft contacts are available as extended wear options. These contacts may be worn overnight. Sleeping in extended wear contacts may decrease the flow of oxygen to the cornea, so it is important to wear them as directed and get routine check ups with your eye doctor.

Multi-focal (bifocal) contact lenses are designed to give good vision to people who have presbyopia. Presbyopia is the age-related change that affects the natural lens in the eye. Contact lens options for presbyopia include bifocal and monovision designs. Monovision and bifocal designs come as both soft and rigid gas permeable lenses.

A bifocal contact lens design has both the distance prescription and near prescription in one lens. With monovision design contact lenses, one contact lens has the distance prescription and is placed in one eye while the other contact lens has the near prescription and is inserted in the other eye.

Contact lens wearers also have the option of wearing reading glasses over distance contact lenses. This combination allows for excellent distance and near vision. Glasses can also be prescribed over any of the above combinations to enhance vision as needed.

There are many bifocal contact lens options. A professional fitting and evaluation is necessary to determine which bifocal design will suit your needs. All soft bifocal contact lenses are considered “simultaneous vision” because both far and near vision corrections are presented simultaneously to the retina, regardless of the position of the eye.

Soft contact lenses are lenses made of hydrophilic (water-loving) plastics that absorb liquids. When these materials soak up liquids, they become soft and mold to fit the eyeball.

Soft contact lenses are used to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and certain types of astigmatisms (that is, uneven curving of the cornea). All of the following types of soft contact lenses are offered by Dr. Leaks:

Daily-wear soft contact lenses: Extended-wear soft contact lenses: Disposable contact lenses:
  • Must be removed and cleaned every night
  • Are very thin but contain an increased amount of water, which allows oxygen to reach the eye even when worn for long periods
  • Can be purchased and used for a certain period of time (monthly, weekly, or daily) and then thrown away
  • May be made thick or thin, depending on your needs
  • Are available in types that have been approved for up to 6 consecutive days and nights of wear
  • Must be cleaned every night (unless you have extended-wear disposables)
  • Are more likely to cause infections of the cornea than daily-wear lenses
  • Are less likely to cause infection and require less cleaning than regular soft contacts
  • Are more expensive than regular soft contacts

Toric contact lenses are for people with astigmatism. A toric lens is made from the same material as other contact lenses and come in soft or rigid, just as with gas permeable contacts. Like a bifocal lens, a toric lens has two powers — one for the astigmatism, and another for nearsighted- or farsightedness. There is also a mechanism to keep the contact lens relatively stable on the eye when you blink or look around.

A spherical contact lens is one in which both the inner and outer optical surfaces are portions of a sphere. A toric lens is one in which either or both of the optical surfaces have the effect of a cylindrical lens, usually in combination with the effect of a spherical lens. Myopic (nearsighted) and hypermetropic (farsighted) people who also have astigmatism and who have been told they are not suitable for regular contact lenses may be able to use toric lenses. If one eye has astigmatism and the other does not, the patient may be told to use a spherical lens in one eye and a toric lens in the other. Toric lenses are made from the same materials as regular contact lenses but have a few extra characteristics:

  • They correct for both spherical and cylindrical aberration.
  • They may have a specific top and bottom, as they are not symmetrical around their center and must not be rotated. Lenses must be designed to maintain their orientation regardless of eye movement. Often lenses are thicker at the bottom and this thicker zone is pushed down by the upper eyelid during blinking to allow the lens to rotate into the correct position (with this thicker zone at the 6 o’clock position on the eye). Toric lenses are usually marked with tiny striations to assist their fitting.
  • They are usually more expensive to produce than non-toric lenses; therefore they are usually meant for extended wear. The first disposable toric lenses were introduced in 2000 by Vistakon.