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CONTACT LENSES

All contact lenses whether worn for vision purposes or just for cosmetic reasons are medical devices and can only be obtained with a valid prescription after the initial fitting of lenses by a professional qualified specifically in the fitting of contact lenses.

A contact lens is a lens worn in contact with the eye. Contact lenses are used to correct refractive errors of the eye or to improve cosmetic appearance by covering a corneal scar or by changing the colour of the eyes. The main types of contact lenses used at HCO are categorized as either Soft or RGP (Rigid Gas Permeable) lenses.

SOFT CONTACT LENSES are the most commonly fitted type of contact lenses, mainly because of the superior comfort compared to RGP lenses.

There are many types and designs of soft contact lenses made in a variety of materials each with specific properties to address various vision problems. Nearly all soft contact lenses prescribed today are disposable. These lenses minimize the problems associated with deposits that build up on the lens surface over time. Problems such as allergic reactions and infections can be reduced or eliminated by disposing of the lenses regularly.

Soft contact lenses today can be used to correct near sightedness, far sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. The lens materials in modern soft contact lenses are most commonly “silicone hydrogels” which, due to their ability to allow much passage of oxygen through the lens, are a healthier lens option and can be worn safely for longer periods.

The most commonly used types of soft contact lenses are outlined below:

DAILY DISPOSABLE CONTACT LENSES provide continuous, clear, crisp vision with optimal comfort, because the lenses are worn once only and then thrown away.

Daily disposable lenses are very convenient as no cleaning solutions are needed. The lenses are worn for one day so they do not get the build-up of protein and other deposits that usually cause problems with other types of soft lenses. Daily disposable lenses are also suitable for occasional use where lenses are worn only on weekends or for special occasions.


TWO WEEKLY AND MONTHLY DISPOSABLE CONTACT LENSES: As their name implies these lenses are replaced after two weeks or one month depending on the brand and manufacturer’s recommendation. They require simple cleaning and disinfection between uses and are removed at nighttime. These lenses are good for eye health and are available in most prescriptions. 

SOFT TORIC LENSES are used in cases of astigmatism where regular soft lenses cannot correct the vision adequately. As a soft lens is flexible it will drape to the shape of the cornea when placed on the eye and does not neutralize the astigmatic shape. Therefore the prescription of the lens has to be shaped specifically to allow the lens to correct the astigmatism. Soft toric lenses are available in daily, biweekly and monthly disposable options.

MULTIFOCAL CONTACT LENSES are used to correct presbyopia when different prescription strengths are needed for distance and near. They are available in daily, two week and monthly options.

COLOURED COSMETIC CONTACT LENSES are fashion lenses designed to change the appearance of the eye colour. They are available in a wide variety of colours, both in plano (non-prescription) as well as in prescription powers. There are some limitations in terms of the prescription powers available so please talk to your optometrist to see if your prescription can be filled with coloured lenses.

At HCO we pride ourselves in being able to provide our patients with soft contact lenses from a variety of suppliers including Vistakon (Johnson and Johnson), Alcon (Ciba Vision), Bausch and Lomb and Coopervision. For your convenience and immediate delivery we keep a large range of contact lens powers in stock in the following brands: Acuvue Oasys, Acuvue 1-Day Moist and Freshlook ColorBlends lenses. Other lens types are ordered as needed and take between 1-2 weeks for delivery.

Contact lenses are a safe and convenient form of vision correction but proper hygiene practices are an absolute must for all contact lens wearers .When you are fitted with contact lenses at HCO you will be instructed in the correct care and handling for the type of lens prescribed.

RGP LENSES (or hard lenses) may be used for correcting all types of refractive errors. They are particularly indicated for astigmatismkeratoconus and in cases where soft lenses are contraindicated.

Rigid Gas Permeable lenses are made of special plastic materials which while being hard and not very flexible are “gas permeable”, which means they allow oxygen to pass through the lens to the eye.

RGP lenses are very durable and economical and are suitable for correcting most refractive problems. RGP lenses however do require more perseverance to adapt to the feeling of the lens on the eye. RGP lenses are usually the first lenses of choice in cases of moderate to severe astigmatism and keratoconus or other cases with extensive corneal distortion i.e. after corneal graft surgery or severe injury.

These lenses require specialist fitting often involving mapping of the corneal surface with corneal topography as well as close follow up in order to avoid compromise to the integrity of the eye or vision. Careful cleaning and care of the lenses is essential. As with all contact lenses RGP lens wearers are recommended to have an annual contact lens eye examination with their optometrist.

5th Ave. Belleville St. Michael, Barbados, Phone: (246) 417-5650 Fax: (246) 436-9628
Sargeant's Village Christ Church, Barbados, Phone: (246) 417-5652 Fax: (246) 228-1937
St. Michael's Row Bridgetown, Barbados, Phone: (246) 417-5653 Fax: (246) 436-9613
The Dome Mall Warrens St. Michael, Barbados, Phone: (246) 417-5651 Fax: (246) 421-5655

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