Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be glasses free but have been concerned about the whole process and never tried. Well now is the perfect time. With many different types of materials and lens designs available, contact lenses are now a comfortable and safe option for most people.
How do I go about getting contact lenses?
If you want to wear contact lenses to correct your eyesight, our contact lens specialist will discuss all of the various options available to you and help you to decide which lens will be most suitable.
What happens when I go for a contact lens fitting?
Fitting includes discussing your visual and lifestyle requirements. An eye and contact lens examination will determine if your eyes are healthy and if you are suitable for lens wear. Your eyecare practitioner will also take measurements of your eyes to find the best lens type, fit and vision, before trialling lenses with you.
Can anyone wear contact lenses?
Nowadays, almost everyone can benefit from contact lens wear. Most eyesight problems can be corrected with contact lenses and advances in lens materials and solutions mean that wearing contact lenses is simpler, more convenient and more comfortable than ever before.
I’ve tried contact lenses before without success. Should I try again?
Yes. Research has shown that many people who drop out from contact lenses can be successful with modern lenses. Lens designs and materials are constantly evolving – so ask our practitioners about the latest developments.
How do I know if contact lenses are right for me?
Our eyecare practitioner will put contact lenses on your eyes so that you can see how they feel, and will then check the lens fit and your vision. Once you’ve tried the lenses, you and the practitioner can decide together whether contact lenses are right for you.
What type of contact lenses should I wear?
Think about when and where you want to wear contact lenses: every day, for going out or playing sport, or just for special occasions. Your practitioner will help you decide on the best type of lens to suit your needs and advise you how often you should replace them.
Are all contact lenses the same?
No. There are hundreds of different types of contact lenses and thousands of different fittings. Each lens type needs to be fitted to meet your individual requirements. Contact lenses are not interchangeable and you should never change your lens type or the way you wear your lenses without the recommendation of your practitioner.
Am I too young for contact lenses?
Young children, and even babies in some instances, can be fitted with contact lenses. Research has shown that children can be very successful and benefit from contact lens wear. Now that most contact lenses are replaced often, there’s no need to wait until your eyes have stopped changing to wear contact lenses.
Am I too old for contact lenses?
With modern lenses, there’s no reason why age should be a barrier. Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are available for those who need different lens powers for distance and close work, or you may want to wear contact lenses for some of the time and spectacles for the rest.
Can I wear contact lenses for sport?
Yes, contact lenses have many advantages for sport because they provide all-round, natural vision, are more stable than spectacles and are not affected by rain, fog or reflections. They allow protective eyewear or sunglasses to be worn and means a low risk of damage or injury.
What type of contact lens is best for sport?
Soft contact lenses are generally the best choice for active sports as these tend to move less on the eye compared to rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP) and are less likely to be dislodged. For outdoor sports, your contact lenses can also incorporate protection from ultraviolet (UV) light.
Can contact lenses protect my eyes against the sun?
Some contact lenses block ultraviolet (UV) light and, worn with other forms of eye protection, offer protection from damaging UV rays. UV-blocking lenses alone can offer some protection when wearing sunglasses is undesirable or impractical.
Will I still need to have glasses?
Yes. You’ll need to have an up-to-date pair of glasses to wear when you remove your lenses. You may want to combine different types of vision correction to suit your eyesight and lifestyle. And you may also want to have sunglasses to wear with your contact lenses.
How much do contact lenses cost?
The cost of contact lenses varies according to the lens type and the frequency of wear. Remember that you will need to pay for check-ups as well as for lenses. Our contact lens practitioner will include the cost of check-ups in the price of your lenses, most patients opt for our monthly eye plan.
Isn’t it cheaper to buy them off the internet?
The monthly cost of contact lenses bought from an optician’s often look more expensive as they generally include the cost of regular aftercare appointments and professional time doesn’t come cheap. When comparing prices between online retailers and your eyecare practitioner, you should include the cost of at least one aftercare appointment per year (£30-£60/year), not forgetting that you still need a full eye examination (sight test) at least every two years. It is the advice of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) that contact lenses only be purchased and worn after a registered contact lens practitioner has undertaken an initial contact lens assessment, and issued you with a contact lens prescription. Buying contact lenses online from unregulated overseas website may increase the risk of eye infections, corneal abrasion and even corneal ulcers.
Are contact lenses comfortable to wear?
Contact lenses provide excellent comfort and vision. Most people find that they are so easy to use that they forget they’re wearing them. Our practitioner will help you find the most comfortable lenses for your needs.
I don’t like the idea of putting something on my eye. Can I still wear contact lenses?
Many people are concerned about a lens touching their eyes or putting them in but are still very successful with contact lenses. Try a lens for yourself and see how comfortable it can be. Soft lenses feel much like a drop of water on the eye.
Are contact lenses hard to put on and take off?
Applying and removing lenses takes some practice but will soon be as natural as brushing your teeth. Our contact lens assistant will help you get used to handling your lenses and will be on hand to give you advice.
Am I likely to lose a contact lens?
Contact lenses are very unlikely to be dislodged provided you avoid rubbing your eyes. Take care when handling your lenses to ensure they only come into contact with your clean finger and your eye. If they touch any surface other than the lens case you should clean and disinfect them before re-applying
Are contact lenses bad for my eyes?
Contact lenses are a very popular and successful way of correcting your vision and problems are thankfully rare. Contact lens-related infections affect only about four in 10,000 wearers per year and vision loss due to infection is less common affecting just six in 100,000 wearers per year.
How can I check my eyes for problems with my lenses?
Ask yourself these three questions, each time you wear your lenses: do my eyes feel good with my lenses; do my eyes look good – no redness; and do I see well – no unusual blurring with either eye? If the answer to any of these questions is no, leave your lenses off and consult our eyecare practitioner immediately who will advise you what to do next.
Can a contact lens go round the back of my eye?
The outer coating of the eye is continuous with the inner coating of the eyelid. If a lens is dislodged from the front of the eye it may settle under the upper or lower lid but cannot go behind the eye. Make sure you remove the lens if it becomes dislodged.
Do I have to wear my contact lenses every day?
No. In fact some types of contact lens, such as daily disposable soft lenses, are particularly useful if you only want to wear contact lenses part time or occasionally. Ask our contact lens practitioner for advice on the best type of lens to suit your needs.
My optician told me I have astigmatism. Can I wear contact lenses?
Yes. Almost all prescriptions can now be corrected with contact lenses, including astigmatism. Soft lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses and bifocal or multifocal lens designs are all available to correct astigmatism. These lenses are also known as ‘toric’ lenses.
I have two pairs of glasses, for distance and for reading. Can I wear contact lenses?
Yes. There are many convenient options for correcting your eyesight with contact lenses. You may want to have contact lenses for most situations or continue to wear glasses just for reading. Bifocal or multifocal contact lenses allow you to see clearly at various distances. Ask our contact lens practitioner to explain the options available.
I normally wear multifocal glasses. Can I get multifocal contact lenses?
Yes. Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are available in soft and rigid gas-permeable materials. Ask our contact practitioner about trying these lenses and the advantages of each lens type.
I suffer from allergies. Can I wear contact lenses?
Most people with allergies can successfully wear contact lenses. With the right choice of lenses, and, where necessary, appropriate medication, all but the most severely affected can continue to wear their lenses. Daily disposable soft lenses have been shown to be effective for those suffering from seasonal allergies such as hay fever.
I have dry eyes. Can I wear contact lenses?
Contact lenses are not contraindicated in most cases of dry eye and can be worn successfully even in challenging environments. Ask our contact lens practitioner for advice on lens types and alleviating dryness, and check before using any eye drops or dry eye preparations.
Can I reuse my daily disposable lenses if they’re still comfortable?
No. Daily disposable are designed only for single-use and must be discarded after each wear. These lenses should be used strictly on a daily wear basis and are not intended or approved for re-use or for overnight wear. Daily disposables have a low risk of problems when used correctly.
Can I wear my monthly lenses for more than a month?
No. Comfort and performance will be affected if you extend the life of your lenses beyond the recommended replacement interval. Wearing dirty or damaged lenses can put your eye health at risk. Always follow the wearing schedule and replacement frequency recommended for your lenses by your contact lens practitioner.
Can I wear my contact lenses overnight?
Only lenses approved for overnight use (‘extended’ or ‘continuous’ wear lenses) can be worn during sleep and then only on the advice of your contact lens practitioner. Sleeping in contact lenses increases the risk of eye infection irrespective of lens type. Avoid sleeping in extended wear lenses if you are unwell.
I’ve heard about lenses that are worn during sleep and not during the day. What are these?
Orthokeratology (‘ortho-K’, ‘corneal reshaping’ or ‘overnight vision correction’) uses specially designed rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses to alter the shape of the cornea (the transparent front part of the eye) during sleep. These lenses are designed to be worn overnight and removed in the morning and to correct vision without the need for spectacles or contact lenses during the day.
I don’t want to wear glasses on my wedding day. Can I wear contact lenses just for that day?
Yes, but you may find there are other occasions when you’d prefer not to wear glasses, such as for going out or playing sport. You will need to build up your wearing time during the week before your wedding to allow the eye to adapt safely. However often you wear contact lenses you must take the same care of your eyes and the lenses as you would wearing them every day and follow your contact lens practitioner’s advice carefully.
Can I wear my contact lenses for swimming?
The BCLA advice for contact lens wearers is to not wear contact lenses for swimming – or in hot tubs or whilst showering or participating in water sports – unless wearing tight-fitting goggles over the top. After swimming – or if lenses are removed and stored whilst swimming – contact lenses should be cleaned and disinfected in fresh solution before putting them back on the eyes. The BCLA recommendation is that regular swimmers talk to their eyecare practitioner about being fitted with daily disposable lenses for use with goggles whilst swimming. Wearers of daily disposable contact lenses should always discard them immediately after swimming.
What precautions should I take with my lenses when travelling?
Make sure you take all the contact lenses you need with you, including spare lenses, as well as your storage case and solutions if you have re-usable lenses. Daily disposables can be useful when travelling in difficult or unhygienic conditions or lenses that allow flexible wearing times may be appropriate. We often recommend that you wear your spectacles if on a long plane journey as you may wish to have a sleep, varying pressure and air quality may cause discomfort and increase the risk of infection. Ask our contact lens practitioner for advice.
Can I store my contact lenses in water?
No. Never allow tap water, or any other type of water, to come into contact with your lenses or lens case whatever type of lens you use. You should also dry your hands thoroughly after washing and before handling your lenses. You should also keep your eyes firmly closed if you wear your lenses for showering as there is a higher risk of infection.
How can I tell if my soft contact lenses are inside out?
Take the lens out of the storage case or packaging and hold it on the tip of your dry finger. If the lens turns slightly in at the edges it’s the correct way around – if the edges turn slightly out and the lens looks unusually flat it’s inside out. Some lenses have inside-out indicators to help you. A lens that’s inside out will generally feel slightly uncomfortable on the eye or will move more than usual.
Can I wear any type of eye make-up with my contact lenses?
Generally it’s best to avoid putting kohl or eyeliner on the inner rim of the eyelids since this can make the lens dirty. Remember to apply your lenses before putting on make-up and remove lenses then remove make-up. You should also avoid any contact between the lenses and lotions or creams. Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your cosmetics and discard them as directed.
Can I use any solution with my contact lenses?
To get the best out of your lenses it’s important to use the solutions recommended to you by our contact lens practitioner for your particular lens type and to follow the instructions carefully. Our practitioner may record the solutions recommended on your contact lens specification.
Are all contact lens solutions the same?
No. Different solutions contain different ingredients and may require different steps to be effective. Some lens solution combinations may be more compatible with your eyes than others so don’t switch the solution you use except on the advice of your practitioner. “No Rub Solution” Don’t always believe what’s written on a contact lens solution bottle in stores as cutting corners in lens care can increase the risk of infection.
Are contact lenses environmentally friendly?
Research has shown that the overall environmental impact of waste generated through the use of contact lens products by the end consumer is insignificant compared with the amount of waste generated in everyday life.
New contact lens wearers
If you are new to contact lenses we will take you through all of the options and help you decide which is the most appropriate lens to suit your vision and lifestyle needs. We will check your eyes very carefully to make sure that they are healthy for contact lens wear and once we have chosen the correct lens we will give you a lesson to help you learn how to insert and remove the lens.
Many people are told that they cannot wear contact lenses but in our practice we attempt to find a suitable contact lens for everyone. We feel that many people would like to have the option to be glasses free and we aim to achieve this. There are ways around having to use reading glasses on top of your contact lenses as you get older, ask our practitioner for more details.
Even if you have worn lenses before we will still take the time to check everything carefully and may offer you a better lens option. The type of contact lens we prescribe for you will depend on your requirements and preferences. There are a selection of contact lenses to choose from, such as, soft disposable contact lenses, rigid gas permeable contact lenses, contact lenses for presbyopia and astigmatic contact lenses. and we will advise you on the most suitable type for you.
For all new patients we always do a full eye examination – to give you a chance to enjoy the benefits of our latest technology. All contact lens patients receive a full eye examination during their aftercare appointments when appropriate. Once your lenses have been fitted you may wish to join one of our Annual Care Plans which gives you discounted appointments and contact lenses.