Do comfortable contact lenses exist?
March 28, 2012 11:07 AM   Subscribe

What are the most comfortable soft, disposable contact lenses out there?

I currently use Acuvue Moist, and it always feels like they are cutting into my eyeballs, despite copious applications of eye drops.

I'm about to run out of my supply and am close to getting a new contact lens Rx, so I'd like to switch to a different brand if there's something better.

I appreciate your non-Google-search-based, personal-experience-based suggestions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I currently use Sofmed breathables.

These were recommended by my optometrist as something I could wear longer without irritation. I've never had comfort problems (unless I go past the 2-week limit) with disposables, so I can't say whether they are better or worse than others I've used.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:10 AM on March 28, 2012

I'm using Air Optix, and they're quite good. The first year I moved to them (about three years ago) they were not quite as comfortable, but the company has improved their edge polishing methodology, which has helped immensely.

I have also found that the fluid they use to hold the lenses in the package makes a difference in my tolerance level. You wouldn't think that this would make as much difference during longer term wear (I wear my lenses for a month before disposal), but it did for me. YMMV.
posted by blurker at 11:23 AM on March 28, 2012

Although I can't wear any contacts overnight, I've been happiest with the Biofinitys I've been wearing the past year. Their edges and/or slickness is such that they're actually a little hard to get out of your eye, because your fingers just slick over them without dislodging them.

Apparently they're a bit thicker so they don't taco as much, but that doesn't bother me compared to the edges on the Acuvues I'd tried.
posted by Kyol at 11:27 AM on March 28, 2012

I wear Bioinfinity lenses 16 hours a day, and I can't feel them at all.

However, my understanding is that everyone's eyeballs are shaped a little bit differently, so different lenses work better for different people. I suggest going to your eye doctor to have a contact lens fitting, so your eye doctor can help you pick out the best lens for your eye shape.

Also, I used to have dry eyes and my eye doctor suggested using Clear Care contact lens solution, which is totally different than your normal contact lens solution - you use a special case and it bubbles. It helped my dry eyes a lot.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:27 AM on March 28, 2012

I wore contacts for many years, switching between brands to try to avoid the feeling you're describing. Bit the bullet and got lasik- lifechanging. If it's in your budget, seriously consider it so you're no longer throwing money down the contact hole.
posted by MangyCarface at 11:29 AM on March 28, 2012

I wear monthly lenses, which I change on the first of each month unless they get particularly uncomfortable, in which case I open a new pair sooner.

I used a Bausch and Lomb brand (I forget which style) for many, many, years, but about two years ago I switched to Acuvue Oasys. I find them much more comfortable to wear. I found a stash of my old lenses that were about to expire, and for a time I switched back just to use the old lenses up before they expired -- this confirmed that they were less comfortable. As a caveat, though, I find that the Oasys lenses are also MUCH easier to rip or tear accidentally.

When I made the switch, it was because the eye doctor I went to (I had recently moved and had to change eye doctors) suggested that the Oasys lenses would be more comfortable to me based on the shape of my eye. I'm assuming, then, that different brands fit different shaped eyes. Therefore whatever brand one person finds most comfortable will be annoying to another person, and so on. So I think this is really a question for your eye doctor.

When you go for your eye exam, ask the doctor if you could try out a couple of different brands of lenses to see which one is most comfortable to you, before you commit to buying a 6 month or 1 year supply.
posted by tckma at 11:32 AM on March 28, 2012

Oh, and to the person who suggested Lasik -- I've had three different eye doctors all tell me that my prescription is far too bad for Lasik and they all suggested I don't have the surgery because the probability of bad side effects would be a lot greater with me and it could really screw me over if cataracts developed when I got into my 60s and older because they might not be able to remove them because of the Lasik. I haven't asked any doctors about PRK. Also, the idea of being fully awake and alert while lasers are cutting away at my eyes scares the living daylights out of me.

Without contacts or glasses I can't even see the huge E on the eye chart, so I'd be willing to overcome fear of eye surgery if surgery were an option -- but as I said, three different eye doctors have told me it's not a good idea. For some people, it's not a good option, even if they have the money in their budget.
posted by tckma at 11:42 AM on March 28, 2012

Taking Omega-3 every day makes a huge contact lens comfort difference for me too. If you try it, give it a couple weeks. Then stop cold turkey--you should notice uncomfortable eyes again around day two or three, and then they'll get comfortable again a couple days after you start taking it again. Totally worth it if changing your brand doesn't make too much difference.
posted by zeek321 at 11:43 AM on March 28, 2012

I wear Acuvue Oasys. I'm a longtime lens wearer and these have worked well for several years now. Talk to your optometrist. They can give you samples to try. This is how I ended up changing from Acuvue Advance. They were starting to bother me, so he gave me the Oasys to try. Tried them for a week and they made a world of difference!
posted by fresh-rn at 11:50 AM on March 28, 2012

i use biofinity torics and clear care every night, and i've never had a problem with pain or discomfort (i've been wearing this brand for about 2 years now, and i have the monthlies). i wear my contacts 16-18 hours a day, and work on computers for much of that, if that helps any. you may also be having fitting issues - perhaps a second opinion on the fit of your contacts might not be a bad thing to have.
posted by koroshiya at 11:50 AM on March 28, 2012

my gf and i both swear by air optix night and day. they're breathable enough that even the occasionally 'sleeping in them' isn't especially uncomfortable, something i could never do with my old contacts.
posted by modernnomad at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2012

It also depends on how long you've been wearing contacts - not how many hours per day, I mean how many years it's been since you started. Eventually I think they all start to feel kind of crappy.
posted by elizardbits at 11:58 AM on March 28, 2012

I don't have enough experience with different brands to recommend anything, but two things besides brand changes to keep in mind:

I've been wearing Acuvue Oasys for ~10 years. The first few years were pretty good and then they became uncomfortable. I went to see a new optometrist two years ago and she found that the base curve of the lens was wrong for my eye. I switched to the other size that was available and voila, perfectly comfortable. My current optometrist theorized that my eye had changed size somewhat, or I was fitted wrong at some point. Anyway, try different brands and be sure to communicate with the may just be wearing the wrong size.

You may need to change yours more often. My husband decided to try that option...he expressed his concern to the doctor about the cost of doing so, and ended up trying some cheap brand that maybe doesn't have the highest marks for wear long term, but which are perfectly comfortable if he throws them away everyday.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 12:04 PM on March 28, 2012

Have they always felt like this, or is this something that has popped up within the last month or so? Because my contacts (Air Optix) almost never were noticeable to me, but allergies have been really bad this year, and my eyes feel dry and scratchy at the end of the day, where before I would have never even noticed them.
posted by shortyJBot at 12:37 PM on March 28, 2012

Ask your doctor for a sample of Acuvue TruEye. I used to wear Moist and my eyes would still feel uncomfortably dry, especially during computer use, so my doctor told me about the TruEye lenses. They are about 50% better. Still not perfect but I don't have to take them out by lunchtime most days. I am definitely going to try the Omega-3 supplements.
posted by miaou at 1:04 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dropping in to (fifth?) Air Optix. When I put in a fresh pair, I don't even notice they're in. I change them when I can feel them during the day. I've been wearing contacts since I was 10 (20 years now) so ymmv.
posted by one4themoment at 1:07 PM on March 28, 2012

Guys, can you just answer the question as written? Please?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 PM on March 28, 2012

nthing Acuvue Oasys - I've been wearing them for a few years now and I loooove them. I also feel like they don't dry out as much since I started using ClearCare contact solution.
posted by brilliantine at 1:08 PM on March 28, 2012

My doc recently changed me to Acuvue Oasys and I had nothing but problems. I went back to Acuvue 2 which are far more comfortable for me.

I do think the answer to this really is, "everyone is different." But for me the "eye is being stabbed" feeling only happened with the Oasys contacts. I like a thicker lens for sure.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 1:12 PM on March 28, 2012

I've worn Acuvue 2's every single day since I started wearing contacts in 2002. The only time they bug me is when I forget to change them out and they start getting grimy. You're supposed to change them every 2 weeks, apparently, but I never have any trouble until I hit the 6-8 week mark. Every eye doctor I've visited over the years has expressed surprise at how good my eyes look -- they say they can't even tell I wear contacts.
posted by jabes at 1:17 PM on March 28, 2012

Daily disposable? Or monthly disposable? I use Biomedics 55 and they are great. My eyes feel worse when they aren't in. You might mention to your eyedoc, maybe the size and shape of the lenses you were wearing wasn't quite right for your eye?

(Perhaps this is a really stupid question, but you do know that the lenses have an inside and an outside right?)
posted by gjc at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2012

I wear AquaComfort Plus daily disposables, and like them quite a bit. I've been wearing lenses for 20 years, and daily disposables are by far the most comfortable of any I've worn. When I first switched to dailies, about ten years ago, my eye doc gave me a bunch of samples to try for a week each, and that was great because I did notice a difference between different brands.
posted by min at 6:42 PM on March 28, 2012

In order of preference:

-Bausch and Lomb Soflens
-Acuvue Oasys

Note: my preferences are subject to the fact that I am extremely nearsighted and have slightly astigmatism in my right eye; YMMV depending on your subscription. (I currently wear AirOptix in one eye and Biofinity in the other because AirOptix doesn't have toric lenses for really blind folks, apparently).

I also have bad allergies, look at a computer 12 hours a day, and live in a dry climate so you can safely say that I beat the crap out of my contacts and AirOptix would be what I recommend on that basis.

Finally, I recommend you look into dailies for whatever your chosen brand ends up being; I was specifically warned by my doctor that I might have to switch to daily lenses if my eyes kept drying out on the monthly ones. FYI, I was able to combat that by using ClearCare solution (drastically reducing my dry eye at the end of the day).
posted by librarylis at 6:49 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I also use AquaComfort Plus Dailies, and I find them to be the most comfortable contact lenses that I have worn. I wear them for the entire day with absolutely no discomfort, and I forget that I'm even wearing them!
posted by ohmy at 10:02 AM on March 29, 2012

If you feel like you're getting stabbed, the contact lens curvature may be incorrect for your eyes.

I really like the biofinity contacts - I have one toric and one not.

You're only sort of awake/alert during Lasik/PRK; they give you anti-anxiety pills to take beforehand and numb your eyes.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:47 AM on April 6, 2012

Meant to add: get samples of whatever your eye doctor recommends so you can try them out for discomfort before purchasing a stock of them.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:48 AM on April 6, 2012

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