Getting Started with Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are a wonderful and convenient method to enable clear vision without requiring spectacle lenses to sit on the face. They can be a great help with athletics and other activities along with cosmesis if one simply wants to show a different appearance to the world.
Depending on your age, refractive error, and budget, there may be several options of soft contact lenses available for you, and the differences between them can be confusing. Read on to learn about lens types, basic contact lens hygiene, and how your eyes will be checked throughout the process.
Types of Soft Contact Lenses
One way to classify contact lenses is based on replacement frequency, including daily, bi-weekly, or monthly lenses. Daily lenses are replaced with every use and should never be worn two days in a row or, obviously, slept in.
They are the most convenient in that there is no need to clean them with solutions or store them. Because more lenses are needed though, they are more expensive than monthly or biweekly lenses if worn full time. They are overall the best type for eye health and wearing comfort.
Monthly lenses are the opposite in that a new lens is worn for one month then replaced, requiring cleaning after each use and storage with solutions. This adds some cost though the monthly modality is still the cheapest way to go. Bi-weekly lenses are the middle option in that they are replaced every two weeks and will also require a solution for the lenses to be stored in.
Contact lenses are usually approved for daily wear, meaning that you wear them while awake and do not wear them to sleep. Some lens materials are breathable enough that they can be worn overnight without seriously increasing the risk of adverse effects like infection. Even if you use a lens like this, it is still a good idea to take breaks from contact lens wear whenever you can.
Lenses can also be classified based on their design. Spherical lenses correct the first number of your prescription only, the power. Toric lenses correct astigmatism, which requires the correction of power in a certain direction, meaning that these lenses must fit in a specific orientation on the cornea.
Finally, multifocal lenses also provide a gradient level of power to allow correction of distance and near if you are above the age of 40 and require reading glasses.
Contact Lens Hygiene
Whenever handling contact lenses, your hands should be washed. Ensure that your hands are then free of debris before inserting the contact lens. Also make sure that the lens is clean, free of defects, and right side out, evidenced by a bowl-shaped curve on your finger.
If you put the lens in and feel pain, remove it, clean it and your finger, lubricate the eye with a drop if irritated, and try again. When removing the lens, pull it downward with your finger before pinching it off the eye.
If it is a monthly or biweekly lens, rub it for cleaning before rinsing and storing it in solution. Never sleep in the lens if it is not approved to do so, throw it out at the approved interval, and return to our eye doctor immediately if you notice a red and painful eye.
Your Contact Lens Exams
After your initial check, you will leave our clinic with some trial contact lenses for you to wear in your daily routines. You will then return for a checkup within one or two weeks to determine how the lenses are performing in vision and comfort and whether they are working well on your eyes.
If this checkup goes well, you will be able to order a long term supply of lenses. After this, it is of course important to continue regular eye examinations to ensure up to date prescriptions in the contact lenses and optimal eye health.
You can schedule your next appointment with us online!