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Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are popular with Optometrists because they are far more oxygen permeable that traditional hydrogel lenses, meaning they allow far more oxygen to reach the cornea(1), which is great for eye health, and can increase wear times.
The new generations of “super oxygen permeable” Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses can transmit six to seven times more oxygen through to your eye than conventional hydrogel lenses. 
Interestingly the cornea is one of the few organs that has no direct oxygen supply from the body so the cornea needs to gain its supply of oxygen and nutrients from the air, this is one of the reasons why Optometrist love this new Silicone Hydrogel material, it offers minimal resistance to oxygen and nutrients reaching your cornea whilst wearing contact lenses.
Many wearers find increased comfort and easy adaptation to Silicone Hydrogel contact lenses and benefit from longer wear times(2)

Key Points

Increased oxygen permeability

Great for healthy eyes

High comfort levels and longer wear times

Available as Daily, Two weekly, Monthly and Extended wear.
Also available as Coloured contact lenses

Types Of Silicone Hydrogel Contact lenses

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are available in all contact lens wearing types, Daily, two weekly, monthly continuous wear and coloured lenses, they are also available to correct various eye conditions.

  • Myopia (Shortsightedness) - Is a common eye condition which causes blurred vision at a distance, but clear, more focused vision up close.There are a number of silicone hydrogel contact lenses from various manufacturers and even cheaper substitution lenses that can correct myopia, such as Dailies Total 1
  • Hyperopia (longsightedness) - Causes objects close to you to be blurred, and objects at a greater distance to be clear. There are a wide range of silicone hydrogel contact lenses including cheaper substitution contact lenses available to correct Hyperopia, such as Qualis Daily Silicone
  • Astigmatism - Astigmatism is a structural disorder in the eyes often resulting in unevenly shaped corneas that often causes blurry vision. There is a large range of Silicone hydrogel contact lenses to help correct this such as Biofinity Toric
  • Presbyopia (Age-related farsightedness) Objects that are far away are easier to focus on, but objects closer to your face may become blurry or smeary. Multifocal silicone hydrogel contact lenses are available to help correct this such as Airoptix Multi focal Plus Hydraglyde.

As you can see if you need to wear silicone hydrogel contact lenses there should be an option out there for you.

Our Customers Top 10 Silicone Hydrogel Lenses

These silicone hydrogel contact lenses from Coopervision contain their patented Aquaform technology creating a hydrophilic lens to allow greater levels of oxygen to flow through the lens to the eye, this allows them to stay moist and comfortable all day long.

These silicone hydrogel contact lenses have HA Matrix lubricant embedded in the lens material providing superior comfort and excellent handling.

Alcon’s Dailies Total 1 is their first 'water gradient' contact lens.
A silicone hydrogel contact lens with a core of 33% water content that allows maximum oxygen transmission through the lens, sandwiched between a ultrasoft, high water content (greater than 80%) surface gel which provides exceptional comfort.
Our customers rate Dailies Total 1 4.6 out of 5 with 80% of reviews awarding them 5 *

Qualis Daily Silicone contact lenses use a unique formulation of material and design, which offers  just enough silicone to deliver the maximum amount of oxygen an eye needs during wear, with the user-friendly physical characteristics of a traditional hydrogel contact lens.
Can be worn comfortably and safely for 16 hours+ each day.

Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus from Johnson and Johnson is a premium silicone hydrogel contact lens. Providing unbelievable comfort even in demanding conditions, such as in an air conditioned office, when using a PC, on a plane, or long hours of wear. Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus is the #1 selling contact lens in the world.(2)
Available in two fittings 8.4 and 8.8 and a wide range of powers.

Biofinity Toric features CooperVision's breakthrough Aquaform technology, that allows greater levels of oxygen to freely flow through the contact lenses to the eye, helping eyes stay whiter and healthier for most contact lens wearers.

Air Optix Plus HydraGlyde from Alcon is an advanced silicone hydrogel contact lens that combines a new level of comfort with enhanced Oxygen capability ( Up to 5X greater oxygen transmissibility than traditional soft contact lenses), which provides superior all day comfort in a lens that is healthy for your eyes.

Bausch and Lomb’s Purevision 2 HD is a silicone hydrogel contact lens containing high definition optics (HD) which reduces glare and halos around lights, whilst delivering crisp clear vision, even in low light conditions.

Clarity 1 day from Coopervision are made from a soft and flexible silicone hydrogel material, they are an exceptionally breathable contact lens that let a large amount of oxygen pass through them to the eyes. This ensures that your eyes not only feel healthy but also look bright and white too.

All the benefits of Alcons Air Optix Plus HydraGlyde but for people with astigmatism. An advanced silicone hydrogel contact lens that combines a new level of comfort with enhanced Oxygen capability ( Up to 5 X greater oxygen transmissibility than traditional soft contact lenses), which provides superior all day comfort in a lens that is healthy for your eyes.

How Much Do Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses Cost

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are a slightly more expensive option than regular hydrogel contact lenses.
The price of Silicone hydrogel contact lenses can vary considerably because they come in such a wide range of contact lens types. Not only are silicone hydrogel contact lenses available in daily disposable contact lenses they are also available as monthly disposables and continuous wear contact lenses. Those categories can be subdivided into torics and multi-focals, making it difficult to say how much each lens may cost, but you can typically expect to pay an extra 20% or more for Silicone hydrogel contact lenses.

Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses Compared To Hydrogel Contact Lenses

Contains SiliconeHigh levels of oxygen permeabilityAvailable as Daily, 2 Weekly and Monthly disposable lensesAvailable as Extended wear lensesCan be worn overnight*Available in colours
Silicone Hydrogel contact lensesY**
Hydrogel contact lenses

*Only if recommended by your Optometrist
** Limited range of colours available

Getting The Best Out Of Your Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses

To get the best out of your silicone hydrogel contact lenses make sure you wear them, and care for them as recommended by your Optometrist, so if you are wearing 
Daily disposable contact lenses you can simply throw the lenses out each evening and insert a fresh new pair each morning.
Monthly disposable contact lenses need to be removed every night, cleaned with an approved contact lens solution and stored in a contact lens case with fresh solution using this procedure:

Morning

  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your contact lenses
  • Remove your contact lens from it’s storage case, apply a few drops of your recommended solution on the front and back of the lens and rub gently with your index finger
  • Insert your contact lens
  • Empty your contact lens case of solution and let it air dry

Evening

  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your contact lenses
  • Remove contact lens from your eye, apply a few drops of your recommended solution on the front and back of the lens and rub gently with your index finger
  • Store the lens in your contact lens case and submerge with fresh solution

Extended wear contact lenses remember to set a reminder to remove your lenses after 30 days or less if recommended by your optometrist.

Best Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses For

Sensitive EyesDry EyesActive LifestyleBest ValueBest UV Protection
Acuvue Oasys 1 DayAll Silicone Contact lensesCrystal Air DailyCrystal Air DailyAcuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus

FAQ's

Are Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses More Comfortable Than Regular Contact Lenses

There are many reports that customers find silicone hydrogel contact lenses more comfortable than regular hydrogel contacts, but in tests this has been hard to determine (1) Commonly neither silicone hydrogel or hydrogel alone outperforms the other for comfort, and both have low occurrence of contact lens related problems and conditions.
Your optometrist will determine which lens type is best for you taking into account your vision, wear times required, comfort and oxygen needs of your cornea.

Can I Sleep In Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses

Yes, but only if your optometrist has fitted you with an extended wear contact lens.
Many silicone hydrogel contact lenses have been approved for overnight wear for between 6 to 30 nights due to their increased oxygen transmissibility. However, overnight wear of contact lenses needs to be monitored carefully by your Optometrist to make sure your eyes receive enough oxygen and remain healthy(3).

Are Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses Worth The Money

Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are generally more expensive than their sister Hydrogel contact lenses, although cheaper substitute silicone hydrogel lenses are now available such as Crystal Air Daily that can work out cheaper than regular hydrogel contacts.
Whether silicone hydrogel lenses are worth the extra cost will probably depend on why you need them.
If you suffer from  dry eyes and find with regular hydrogel lenses your wear time is reducing, if you live or work in an air conditioned building that is causing your lenses to dry out or if your Optometrist recommends you need extra oxygen to get through to your eyes, then silicone hydrogel may well be worth the extra cost, as they can increase your wear time whilst not drying out and allow more oxygen to reach your corneas.
If you are experiencing no issues with your regular hydrogel lenses and your Optometrist is happy with your eye health, then you may decide silicone hydrogel are not with the extra cost at this point.

Why Should I Wear Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses

Due to their increased oxygen transmissibility, silicone hydrogel contact lenses have enabled many people to comfortably wear contacts for longer hours than they could have with regular hydrogel lenses.

There are many reasons why silicone hydrogel contact lenses might be the best choice for you

  • If you have occupation, where you are likely to be called upon to cover longer hours at short notice - for example a casualty Doctor or a firefighter
  • If you suffer from dry eyes
  • If you need thicker lenses due to a high prescription 
  • If you work or live in an air conditioned building

References

1. Hydrogel vs Silicone Hydrogel lenses
Published Optometirst Network
Dr. Russel Lazarus, November 4, 2021
https://www.optometrists.org/general-practice-opto...
2. Comfort and adaptation to silicone hydrogel lenses for daily wear
Kathryn A Dumbleton 1, Craig A Woods, Lyndon W Jones, Desmond Fonn
Published 2008 July
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18787429/
3. Wearing contact lenses overnight
BCLA.org.uk
https://bcla.org.uk/Public/Consumer/Wearing_contac...


Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
John qualified from Aston University in 1980, he has authored for Contactlenses.co.uk over the last 20 years, bringing his expertise to visitors to the site and providing valuable optical advice to customer questions throughout the years. He has been featured by several leading publications including The Express and ITProPortal