The Who, What, and Whys You Should Know

Silicone hydrogel: It’s a term you may have heard used before with contacts, but not fully understood. Don’t worry, you’re not alone there. Let’s clear the air and break it down for you.

As time marches forward, technology improves. Computers get faster. Cars are more mileage efficient. Contact lenses are no different. They improve over time, too—allowing us to wear them longer with more comfort. Part of this advancement is due to the use of silicone hydrogel.

But what is it? Sand + water + some gel…? Well, not exactly. We’ll explain.

What is silicone?

“Silicone,” not “silicon” plus an “e,” is a polymer, a chemical compound. If that sounds Greek to you, you’d be right! It is.

We can translate the word to mean “many parts,” and that’s exactly what polymers are—chemical compounds coming together to say hello and hang out. When scientists synthesize polymers in labs, it’s generally to bring compounds together so that the whole is greater than the parts: Bigger, stronger, faster, etc. You get the idea.  

Silicone hydrogel lenses are all about bringing the oxygen permeability (the ability to allow oxygen to pass through) of silicone with the comfort of hydrogel (composed mostly of water) into contact lenses that can be safely and comfortably worn for a prescribed extended period.

Cool, right? Absolutely. Very cool, in fact.

The importance of breathing with contacts

Having contacts that allow oxygen to easily flow through to your eyes is a major plus in helping keep your eyes comfortable and healthy. Here’s why.

We breathe in air to our lungs so that our blood can deliver oxygen and other life-sustaining nutrients to our body’s organs. But, our corneas (the clear part that covers our irises) think differently. They demand the white glove service, choosing to get their oxygen gulps straight from the source: The air around us—not our bloodstream.

Corneas: The lungs of your eyes

Yes, your corneas contain no blood vessels. (We’ve heard rumors that certain Transylvanian Counts remain inconsolable due to this.)  Since our corneas take in oxygen straight from the air, it stands to reason that they need easy access to the air around us. The hard contacts of the 70s didn’t allow this, so they could only be worn for much shorter periods of time.

But, as we noted earlier, technology marches on and contact lenses’ “Dk/t” has vastly improved. This is how eye doctors refer to the amount of oxygen permeability of a lens; the higher the number, the more oxygen can pass through. This, along with other factors, help you feel better while you’re wearing contacts for extended periods.

Silicone hydrogel lenses offer a higher rate of oxygen transmission (there’s our “Dk/t” number) than standard hydrogels contacts and certainly far beyond the hard glass eye contacts of the past.

Looking for extended-wear comfort? Ask about silicone hydrogel

Now you know more about silicone hydrogel contact lenses. So if your eye doctor mentions this term to you, you can impress her with your ocular knowledge.

And speaking of visiting your eye doctor, CooperVision Biofinity lenses are silicone hydrogel. They’re made for extended wear and giving you the comfort you want.

If you haven’t, give ‘em a try. You’ll find that the comfort stays with you for your entire day, not just part of it. And if you have, hit us up in the comments below and let us know what you think.

 

 

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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Avaira contact lenses

Avaira family

Two-week replacement schedule, Soft and flexible for a variety of needs, Silicone hydrogel material + UV blocking*, Naturally wettable so you're less likely to need additional wetting drops
Biofinity contact lenses

Biofinity family

Monthly replacement schedule, Lenses stay moist and comfortable, Naturally wettable so you're less likely to need additional wetting drops

clariti 1day family

Convenient daily replacement schedule, The healthy advantages of silicone hydrogel lenses, Vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia, Supports excellent all-day comfort, UVA and UVB protection*
Proclear contact lenses

Proclear Family

Convenient daily disposable contact lenses, Superior aspheric optic design for optimal visual sharpness, Maintain 96% hydration - even after 12 hours of wear, Designed to address discomfort from eyes

Comments

Not a comment, really. I just need to know the difference between aquaclear and biofinity contact lenses.

Hi Juan. Thank you for contacting us. Can you email us at info@coopervision.com?

hello sir,

i want to know about the biomedics toric stabilization ,which stabilization method is using in this astigmatic lens.

Hi Baloch. Thank you for reaching out to us. The best way to get information about our products would be our product information pages: http://coopervision.com/contact-lenses/biomedics-toric If you need more information, feel free to contact us at Consumer Care at CC@CVLens.com

Why don't you make Biofinity Multifocal lenses colored? I waste more lenses by putting fingernails through them because I can't see them in the solution.

Hi Diane. Thank you for reaching out to us. We appreciate your feedback and will send this along to the appropriate team. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at info@coopervision.com.

If I buy biofinity monthly continuous wear lenses do I have to clean them? and what with?

Hi Pippa. Thank you for your comment. CooperVision’s Biofinity contact lenses are extended wear lenses designed to be worn continuously for one to seven days with your eye care provider’s recommendation.

Please discuss these lenses with your eye doctor as contact lenses are medical devices that must be prescribed and dispensed from licensed eye care providers.

If you'd like more information about CooperVision contact lenses or lens care, your eye care professional is your best resource. I hope this is helpful for you.

Thank you for reaching out to us. If you have specific questions, the best way to contact us is through our Consumer Care group at CC@CVLens.com. We hope this helps.

I currently wear the Biomedics 55 Premier but was thinking of switching to the Biofinity. Your website says they are monthly contacts but when I go to order them, they state that they are bi-weekly contacts. Which is correct? I love the biomedics but would like something that is more of an extended wear. I do not wear my contacts at night and don't plan to start any time soon.
Thanks

Hi Tanya. To decide that contact lens is best for you, talk to your eye doctor. Your eye doctor is the best resource. If you have additional questions, you are free to contact our Consumer Care team at CC@CVLens.com

What can I do if I am allergic to the silicone in your new lenses. I have never had a problem with the lenses until last August. I just had my Doctor reorder me the Proclaim multifocal lenses and it took approximately 12 hours of wear before my eyes started itching again.

HI Marlene, thank you for contacting us. Can you please email us at Consumer Care at CC@CVLens.com so that we can learn more?

Will you accept an unopened box of contact lenses? My son ordered a year supply and now cannot wear them.

Thanks for checking.

Hi Sonja. Thank you for contacting us. Can you please email the Consumer Care team at CC@CVLens.com so that we may assist you?

I currently wear Biofinity Toric lenses, I take them out every evening and put them in Clear Care, they are only lasting generally about 10-12 days and then they have a tear in them, usually the left lens! Are these lens supposed to last a month like the Soft Lens 66 I perviously wore? I am getting very frustrated because I was told they were monthly lenses and I am going broke buying them at this rate!!!

Hi Ann. Thank you for contacting us. Can you please email our Consumer Care group at CC@CVLens.com so that we can assist you?

I purchased Proclear multifocal toric (cooperVison) contacts from my eye doctor. I was told to use them for a month and then throw them out.Are they extended wear lenses or I must take them out every night and after wearing them for 30 days total they need to be discarded?
thank you

Hi Lois. Thank you for contacting us. Your eye doctor is the best resource when it comes to the wearing schedule that is right for you. If you still have additional questions or comments, please feel free to email our Consumer Care group at CC@CVLens.com

Hi Lori. As always, your best resource is your eye doctor for information such as the recommended solutions to use with your contact lenses. If you don't have one, feel free to use our Find A Doctor Locator on our site.

Hi Sandra. Thank you for contacting us. Our entire Biofinity family of products are made from a silicone hydrogel material. Since our Biofinity toric lenses are part of the Biofinity family, they are made from the same silicone hydrogel material. We hope this helps you!

I am trying the comfilcon A toric. Everything is good till I take them off. It is impossible to get them off my eyes its like a suction I have never experienced this I am afraid I might damage the eyes by trying to get them off at night Any suggestions?

Hi Margarita. Thanks for reaching out to us. As always, your eye doctor is your best resource. However, we do recommend that using rewetting drops may help with the removal process. We also have a helpful video on insertion and removal of contact lenses on our YouTube channel here that you can view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ymu1TkOSr8&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL21b5vwWkMKOHbrXfPTM8PSUuaE539Q5-

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