Prof. Kent Caslo – Professional Director, Elia
There is a wide range of contact lenses in use in early childhood, choosing the right contact lens depends on the nature of the defects, the pros and cons of each contact lens and the ability to make a successful adjustment.
Important to remember: Cleaning or rinsing contact lenses will not be done by tap water !!!
Below is important and concise information on the different types of lenses:
Note: It is not always possible to know what type of contact lens a child has. By and large, soft lenses can be folded and breathable lenses cannot be folded.
- Soft silicone lens ( SILSOFT ): This soft silicone lens (100%) is the most popular type. It is soft, comfortable and easy to adjust. Their diameter is larger than the colored area of the eye and reaches the white part. Does not require moisture even though it is soft and it transmits oxygen to the eye (an essential feature of a contact lens) in an excellent way. It is allowed to sleep with these lenses. They are treated with materials designed for cleaning and storage. You can put them on and off with your fingers.
- Breathable (hard) lenses:
Hard lens, made of a mixture of silicone and plastic and requires more skill respectively as well as closer follow-up by the doctor / optometrist. Their diameter is smaller than the colored part of the eye, there is good oxygen permeability that allows sleep with most of these lenses ( as recommended by the doctor / optometrist) . They are treated with materials designed for cleaning and storage. In many cases you put them on and off with a pump, even though you can use your fingers. Lowering with fingers requires stretching the eyelids and in a "scissors" motion pushing the eyelid under the lens to release it.
- Soft lenses:
A lens is made of a mixture of plastic and water and requires a wet environment (always). If they fall they dry out and shrink but can usually be returned to normal by wetting with salt ( and not tap water ). The material is very active so it is easier to get infections and inflammation with these lenses. They are treated only with dedicated materials and usually put on and off with the fingers. If the baby develops a red eye, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist regarding the use of the lens.
- Blended silicone lenses: These are soft lenses made of a mixture of plastic, silicone and water to get a higher oxygen transfer than regular soft lenses. Treating them is like regular soft lenses and only by materials designed for cleaning and storage.
- Scleral lenses:
These are hard-to-breathe lenses but as big as soft silicone lenses (and even more) that reach the white part of the eye. They are usually designed for more "difficult" cases that have already failed in other options. Put them on and off with a pump and treat them like breathable lenses, with materials designed for cleaning and storage.