Silicone hydrogel contact lenses, compared to regular soft contacts, let five times more oxygen pass through the lens to the cornea. Both are plastic-made that hardens when dry but becomes soft and gel-like when it absorbs water.
When soft or silicone hydrogel dries out, it deforms, hardens, and becomes fragile. Soaking it in contact lens solution softens the contacts.
Silicone hydrogel contacts are mistakenly called silicone hydrogel contacts.
Silicon is a common mineral found in the sand while silicone is made from a group of pliable, plastic-like materials containing silicon, carbon, oxygen, and various chemicals. These materials are used to increase and improve the oxygen permeability of the lenses.
What Are the Benefits of Silicone Hydrogel Lenses?
All contact lenses can lead to hypoxia, a condition wherein the oxygen in the cornea is decreased, because the amount of oxygen reaching the eye’s surface is reduced to a certain degree. Hypoxia triggers eye problems like swelling of the cornea, red eyes, discomfort, and even eye infection.
Silicone hydrogel lenses decrease the occurrence of eye problems related to hypoxia and to provide safety for daily and extended wearing of soft contact lenses.
Are Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses the Right Choice?
Eye doctors agree that reducing hypoxia-related problems from wearing soft lenses is the most evident benefit of silicone hydrogel lenses. This resulted in lesser contact lens-related red eyes, eye discomfort, and severe keratitis problems from the extensive wearing of contacts.
Silicone hydrogel materials allowed a wider variation in the designs of the lens while providing a sufficient amount of oxygen reaching the cornea to be safe and comfortable when worn.
Still, silicone hydrogel lenses are not the solution for every discomfort problem. Studies are showing that silicone hydrogel lenses are more susceptible to contact lens deposits, unlike regular hydrogel lenses. Also, there are contact lens solutions which are more effective on regular hydrogel lenses than it is on silicone hydrogel lenses.
Silicone hydrogel lenses show in a few studies that it is a greater risk of inflammation in the cornea but the reason for this is still vague.
Some experts also say that there is no definite proof that providing more oxygen supply to the eye from extensive wearing of silicone hydrogel can decrease discomfort, compared to regular hydrogel lenses.
The best way of knowing if silicone hydrogel lenses work best for you is to consult your eye doctor for all possible contact lens choices and a contact lens examination.