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Are Contact Lenses with Higher Water Content Better?

Water content. One of the most important parameters when choosing quality contact lenses. Water moisturizes the lens, it makes them softer and more comfortable to wear. You might want to say that more water contains the better, but…there’s a cat­ch!

Contact Lenses According to their Water Content

Depending on water content, contact lenses can be divided into three groups. Each group means a slightly different quality in contact lenses. Do you know which group your contacts belong to?

  • Low water content (up to 45%) – modern silicone hydrogel contact lenses, used in contacts that are intended for continual wear. They have almost 100% oxygen permeability.
  • Mid water content (up to 60%) – hydrogel contact lenses, suitable for most users.
  • High water content (up to 90%) – hydrogel contact lenses for more sensitive eyes. Suitable for prevention of the dry eye syndrome

Chart of Water Content and Oxygen transmissibili­ty (Dk/t)

Chart of water content and oxygen transmissibility (Dk/t)

What do you mean by that?

The ratio permeability of your lenses depends directly on their water content.

The more water contact lenses contain the more difficult it is for oxygen to get to the cornea where the surface is dependent on atmospheric oxygen.

If it can’t get to the cornea, a vascularization occurs (which is irreversible).

Chart of Contact Lenses According to their Water Content and Oxygen transmissibili­ty (Dk/t)

Chart of Contact Lenses According to their Water Content and Oxygen transmissibility (Dk/t)

And the other way around?

The less water contact lenses contain, the less comfortable they are. Especially by the end of the day, you might feel your eyes itchy and burning. Please keep in mind that water disappears in time, it evaporates from your contacts throughout the day.

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  • Balazs N.

    After reading some articles on the topic, it seems that there is a consensus that oxygen permeability is a key factor in keeping the eyes healthy. Dk/t values as high as 160 are available on SiHy contact lenses, yet some manufacturers go for high water content and a Dk/t value as low as 26 (like Dailies AquaComfort Plus). Why is that? Articles suggesting that high oxygen permeability is important:

    • Gergana-Ekaterina Belcheva

      Hello, Balazs,

      We do agree that the Dk/t values are important. However, we would suggest that you consult your doctor for further information on the topic.

      Thank you.

  • Denise H.

    is up to 45% water better in colored contacts with people who suffer from Astigmatism?

    • Tanya Roydeva


      Thank you for your question.

      The higher the water content in the lenses, the softer they are and the more water is being taken from the eye. It shouldn't be a problem if you don't suffer from dry eye syndrome. It should be also okay for Astigmatism lenses.

      Best regards,

  • Laeticia G.

    (DK) 7.93 x 10-11

  • Lucy

    I always found that the higher the water content the drier my eyes get. It's because of the lack of oxygen getting in my eyes. The lenses literally stick onto my eyeballs. Even eyedrops don't do anything especially if the water content is like 58%!!

    • Fabrizio Sgubbi

      That's right Lucy, we're all different and the choice of water and oxygen percentages depend on our individual needs. That's why it's always advisable to consult with a specialist to find the correct type of lens.

      Best regards, Fabrizio

  • Leonardo F.

    Thats one of the most interesting articles i ever readed online. I would like to add that i read somethere that 24,5 dkt is the idea spot for eye contact lenses. So you really dont need a contact eye lenses over than 100dkt. I used one colored lenses with only 17dkt and 38% of water and i did fine most of time. It was a hydrogel one. I would say that get a lenses with much more water is better than more dkt, cause its more confortable in general.

    • Emma W.

      That's fine if you're only wearing daily lenses...but if you wear lenses for extended periods, then lack of oxygen causes irreversible neovascularization in your eye. More water = less oxygen permeability. If you're wearing lenses to sleep, I'd say go for the highest Dk/t you can get!


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