What’s New in Contacts

By: Dana Schwartz

Given up contact lenses because you find them uncomfortable? Recent advances are making contacts more wearable.

A material called silicone hydrogel allows more oxygen to pass through to the cornea, reducing redness and sometimes dryness.

“The main complaint among patients is dryness with their lenses,” says Dr. Larry London, an Arlington optometrist. “Silicone-hydrogel lenses are the biggest advancement to help this problem.” Johnson & Johnson, Bausch & Lomb, and Ciba Vision have all made silicone-hydrogel lenses available.

Also new: tinted lenses that allow you to play sports without sunglasses, though they have to be changed when you go indoors. Dr. William Davis, an optometrist at Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Chevy Chase, says lenses come in a green or amber tint. Amber works best for sports that are played with a ball; green is used more as basic sun protection, such as while jogging.

“I’ve worn them, and while they look a little weird, they really do work at blocking the sunlight,” Davis says.