Gone are the days when, if you wanted to get away from the bespectacled look and decided to wear contact lenses, you would be a martyr to itchy eyes and constant battles with little glass containers and fluids.
The biggest innovations in the use of contact lenses have occurred over the last thirty years with THE major innovation being the development of disposable contact lenses.
Today it’s just a matter of taking the advice of your optometrist:
- They will not only test your eyes to find out what prescription you need, but will also check if contact lenses are suitable for you.
- They will supply the contact lenses, making sure they fit correctly and are comfortable to wear. Follow-up appointments will ensure your eyes have readily accepted their new partners in vision!
Questions to Ask Yourself (and Your Optometrist)
- Do I want to wear contact lenses at all times, or maybe just for sport?
- Do you want to alternate using contact lenses with wearing glasses?
- Are you going to try continuous wear contact lenses, where you don’t have to take them out at night and so avoid what can be a tedious cleaning schedule for some, (but can be a pleasant nightly procedure, along with teeth brushing, for others?)
- Would you prefer permanent or disposable contact lenses?
- Are you happy with the cleanliness procedures required with longer term disposables or would you prefer daily ones that are easier to cope with in terms of cleanliness and safety, especially for the contact lenses newcomer.
But perhaps before you start to ask those questions, it might be a good idea to learn to distinguish between the various options available to the prospective contact lens wearer. It can be tricky, since for example the simple term “daily” can mean the contact lenses are disposed of daily or alternatively are taken out daily for overnight cleaning and kept for a week or two.
The Contact Lens Options:
- Daily disposable contact lenses – as the name implies, these are used for one day and then disposed of, meaning there is no need for cleaning, so very safe, and great for sport where they might only be needed for one or two days a week over a season. These are really suited to those people who find it difficult, for one reason or another, to follow a strict regime (for those who think they are not very well organised) and costs overall are quite reasonable when cleaning materials and time and effort are taken into account.
- Daily cleaned contact lenses – designed to be worn for one or two weeks, even months, before being disposed of.
- Extended or continuous wear contact lenses disposed of after a week – great for those that don’t want the routine of taking out contact lenses at night, and having to clean them and make sure they are safe ready for the next day.
- Traditional longer term nightly cleaning contact lenses.
- Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses. The above options are all termed soft contact lenses. RGP contact lenses are often (up to 20%) more appropriate to correct vision. They are a specialised product and you will find that success depends on expertise. If you are recommended to wear RGP contact lenses and you fail in them, it could be that an experienced contact lens specialist optometrist is required to help you out.
Finally, if you are unsure what replacement schedule is for you, how long a period of wear you can manage comfortably or how the costs of the various options compare, your Optometrist is there to advise you and monitor your progress.