Contact lenses, when used properly, are very convenient and, with the latest advancements in technology, are extremely comfortable. Most of the time, you’ll hardly know you’re wearing them, though you’ll certainly notice how clear and accurate your vision is. Contact lenses are small lenses worn on the surface of the eye, called the cornea, to correct vision. Lenses are sometimes worn for cosmetic purposes only. We recommend wearing contact lenses in conjunction with eye glasses. This allows you to best meet your overall lifestyle needs while protecting the integrity of your overall eye health.
We’ll discuss the option that’s best for you. Many patients choose contact lenses for their primary vision correction and back-up glasses. Many patients who wear glasses have activities and events where they’d rather not wear their glasses and choose contact lenses for these times.
Contact Lens Types
The types of contact lenses available have exploded in the past few years. There are contact lenses available for almost everyone. Many or our patients were told in the past that they couldn’t wear contacts, or unsuccessfully tried contact lenses. You owe it to yourself to see what’s new. We carry many options, and promise to do our best in selecting contact lenses that you’ll love wearing. Choose from the following list for a brief look at some of the options available.
Conventional Soft Lenses
Soft lenses are very comfortable and come in a variety of types, depending on the wearer’s needs. Conventional soft lenses are worn during the day, and cleaned and stored at night. Usually once a week the lenses must be cleaned using an enzymatic cleaner, which removes protein deposits. These lenses can last for a year or more if your prescription stays the same and you take good care of them.
Frequent Replacement Soft Lenses
These lenses are similar to conventional soft lenses except they are replaced more frequently. Oftentimes, they are worn for one-month periods then replaced. Other frequent replacement soft lens types are worn two to three months before they are replaced. Like conventional soft lenses, they have to be cleaned and stored at night and cleaned once a week with an enzymatic cleaner to remove protein deposits.
Disposable Soft Lenses
Disposable soft lenses are much more popular than conventional soft lenses. These lenses are worn for a period of time then, of course, thrown away. The most well-known disposables last for two weeks. There are also one-week and one-day disposables. These are perfect for many patients who were told they couldn’t wear contact lenses because of allergies or mild dry eye conditions. They have a low cost per lens and are also popular for athletes and hobbyists who don’t necessarily want to wear contact lenses every day.
Tinted Soft Lenses
Next, you have tinted soft lenses, available in conventional, disposable, or frequent replacement types. With tinted soft lenses, you can change your eye color or enhance your eye color. Even if you don’t need corrective lenses, you can use “plano” tinted lenses to change your eye color.
Bifocal Soft Lenses
Recent technology has greatly improved bifocal soft lenses. Many patients past their 40s who need bifocals can now enjoy the comfort and benefits of soft contact lenses.
Toric Soft Lenses
Toric lenses are used to correct astigmatism. Astigmatism is a vision condition where an irregularly shaped cornea affects the vision. In the past, if you had astigmatism, your only options were either glasses or hard gas permeable contact lenses. But toric lenses now offer an alternative. There are several types of toric lenses to choose from.
Extended Wear Soft Lenses
Extended wear lenses are the result of new technology in lens materials that transmit more oxygen to the cornea of the eye. Some of these lens materials can be worn up to 30 days, day and night, without removal. Extended wear lenses can last one week, two weeks, or one month, depending upon the lens material and your doctor’s recommendations.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses
As the name implies, these lenses are hard and gas permeable. If you’ve been told you can’t wear soft lenses, RGP lenses are often a great alternative. RGP lenses are available in specialized designs to correct just about any vision disorder.
There are a variety of solutions available from many different manufacturers. The important thing to remember is that not every solution is right for every type of contact lens. Some contact lenses require the use of multipurpose solutions, while others require separate solutions for the four steps in contact lens care: disinfecting, cleaning, rinsing, and enzyming. Use only the lens solutions that are recommended by your eye doctor. If you wish to change brands, check with our office first.
Contact Lens Care Made Easy!
Few things affect the quality of your life more than your eyes-never put them at risk. Contact lenses are prescription medical devices. To make sure your eyes and vision stay healthy while wearing contact lenses, please follow these few guidelines or the instructions recommended by your doctor.
Ocular complications and/or long-term corneal damage are the consequences of contact lenses that are worn longer than recommended. Oftentimes, your lenses will still feel good even when you are over-wearing them. Do not wear your lenses overnight unless they are approved for extended wear and your doctor has discussed this with you. Overnight wear increases the risk of infection and other complications.
It will take at least a few days for your eyes to get used to wearing contact lenses. The best way to insure maximum visual comfort and keep your eyes healthy is to patiently and faithfully adhere to this wearing schedule.
DON’T wear your lenses longer than 12 hours a day until your first follow-up visit with your doctor, unless the doctor has specifically told you otherwise.
DON’T continue use of contact lenses if your eyes become red, irritated, painful, or if your vision gets worse while wearing lenses. Immediately take out the lenses and clean them. Let your eyes get back to normal and if the problem persists, contact our office.
DON’T exceed the wearing times suggested, even if your lenses still feel comfortable. Studies have proven that the eye needs time to adapt to contact lenses, and your wearing schedule is based on those studies.
DO always remove your contact lenses at least one hour before going to bed to allow for proper oxygen nourishment to the cornea.
DO schedule and keep follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.
DO wear your contact lenses for at least 4 hours the day of your follow-up appointment unless you are experiencing discomfort.
Please Note: If you complete your wearing schedule for a given day and take out your lenses for at least 2 hours, you can wear them the same day for another 2 to 3 hours after cleaning and disinfecting them.
Caring For Your Contacts
Deposits and infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses-etc., can build up on the surface of all contact lenses. For this reason, it is very important to keep them clean and disinfected.
There are four steps in contact lens care-follow the care prescribed for your lenses:
1. Cleaning removes dirt, mucous, and other debris that gets on the lenses during wear.
2. Disinfecting kills bacteria (germs) on the lenses. Disinfecting is essential to prevent serious eye infections.
3. Rinsing removes the other solutions from the lenses and prepares the lenses for wear.
4. Enzyming uses enzyme drops or tablets to remove protein and other deposits that build up over time on the lenses.
The best way to properly care for your lenses is to develop a care routine, then stick to that routine!
1. Follow the directions the doctors. Oftentimes instructions are also listed on the packaging or the package insert for the contact lens solutions prescribed for you.
2. Multi-purpose solutions can be used for more than one step in contact lens care. Read the label to see which functions the solutions can be used for.
3. Many solutions can not be used together, and not all solutions are appropriate for all types of lenses. Only use solutions recommended by your eye doctor, and check with your eye doctor if you want to switch brands.
4. When you remove your lenses, they must be cleaned, rinsed, and disinfected before they are worn again.
5. Enzyming and cleaning do not substitute for disinfecting.
6. Lenses that have been stored for more than 12 hours may need to be cleaned, disinfected, and rinsed again.
7. Make sure solution containers are kept closed tightly, stored upright, and kept in a clean, dry, cool place when you’re not using them. Keep your case clean and replace it every 2-3 months to prevent bacterial growth.
8. Don’t touch container bottle tips to any surface to prevent them from becoming contaminated.
9. Throw away expired solutions (Look on the bottle for the expiration date!).
10. Use new solution in your contact lenses case every day.
11. Discuss with your eye doctor care for your lenses if you wear them while swimming in a pool or hot tub.
12. Only use approved rewetting drops for lubricating or wetting your lenses. Never place the lenses in your mouth.
13. Do not use tap water to rinse soft contact lenses.
14. Be careful with makeup, lotions, creams and sprays-consider putting on lenses before makeup and remove them before removing makeup. Also, water-based makeup is less likely to damage lenses than oil-based makeup.
Here’s what you need to watch for: Redness, blurriness, light sensitivity. Remove your lenses if you are experiencing any of these 3 things. If your eyes have not returned to normal after 24 hours, please contact our office. If you have any change in vision, comfort, or irritation, immediately remove your lenses. If there is no improvement within a couple of hours, please contact our office.