Who can wear contact lenses?
Contact lenses can be worn by just about everybody to correct just about any eye condition. They can correct near-sightedness and far-sightedness, as well as astigmatism and presbyopia. Contact lenses can even be worn by people who don’t need vision correction, but who simply want to change their eye color. Remember, contact lenses may not be a good choice for you if you have repeated eye infections, suffer from severe allergic reactions, have dry eyes, or are in a dusty environment.
I have dry eyes, can I wear contact lenses?
You are less likely to be comfortable with contact lenses than someone who has normal eye lubrication. However, you may choose to wear your lenses only occasionally. You can increase the comfort of your lenses by putting eye lubrication drops.
I have allergies, can I wear contact lenses?
Yes. Sometimes people experience discomfort during the peak of their seasonal allergies. If that happens to you, visit your eye doctor. Your doctor may suggest that you simply reduce your wearing time or discontinue wearing your lenses until the allergy symptoms have disappeared. Thoroughly and frequently cleaning your lenses may help reduce allergy discomfort. In addition, never use eye drops that are not made for contact lens wearers when you are wearing your contact lenses.
My eyes are bothering me, can I wear contact lenses?
It is not advisable to wear contact lenses if your eyes are bothering you, particularly if the discomfort is related to contact lens wear.
I have astigmatism, can I wear contact lenses?
There are many kinds of contact lenses available now which will correct astigmatism, both in soft and gas permeable materials. There is a special type of soft lens called a “Toric” lens, which is designed with different curvatures on the front and back to compensate for the astigmatism. They are more difficult to fit and a lot more difficult to manufacture, therefore tend to be more expensive than standard soft lenses but are widely available now, you can even get monthly disposable toric lenses.
I wear bifocal glasses, what are my options in contacts?
You have three options: (1) wear bifocal contacts in both eyes; (2) wear one contact for distance vision, and one for near vision, this option is called monovision; or (3) wear your distance correction in the contacts, and wear reading glasses when needed.
Can contact lenses damage cornea?
No, if you follow all prescribed steps for inserting, removing and caring for them. Contact lenses are a safe and effective vision correction device. As a contact lens wearer, you should see your eye doctor on a regular basis to ensure good corneal health.
Are there any risks of wearing contact lenses?
Any time a foreign object is placed in the eye; there is an increased risk of problems. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you follow your eye doctor’s instructions about caring and cleaning of your contact lenses and see your eye doctor for regular follow-up exams. Contact your eye doctor, if you experience any problems such as unexplained eye discomfort or pain, redness of the eye, watering eyes, or decrease in vision.
Will I experience discomfort or pain when using contact lenses?
Most first time wearers are delighted with the level of comfort that contact lenses provide. Initial contact lens fittings by an eye doctor can minimize any irritation associated with new lenses. After a brief adjustment period, most people report they can no longer feel contact lenses on their eyes.
How long does it take to adjust to wearing contacts?
It depends upon you and the type of lens. People with dry eyes may have greater difficulty adjusting to and wearing contact lenses. Soft contact lenses usually take only several days to a week. On the other hand, hard contact lenses may take several weeks to two months before they can be worn comfortably. At first, contact lens wearers may experience some scratchiness, redness, tearing, sensitivity to light and occasional blurred vision.
Can I wear makeup with my contact lenses?
Yes. Try to avoid getting makeup on your lenses. Always insert your lenses before applying eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara.
Can I play sports or work out while wearing contact lenses?
Yes, contact lenses are an excellent option for sports and work out enthusiasts. They may also improve your peripheral vision, depth perception, hand/eye or foot/eye coordination, and increase your overall performance. Unlike glasses, contact lenses are more stable and flexible. They don’t steam up from perspiration, don’t smudge and don’t fog up if you go from cold to warm temperatures. Contacts don’t slide down, or fall off even during vigorous movements. Contact lenses also make it easier for you to wear protective safety goggles.
My 10 year old child wants to wear contacts, what should I do?
It should be discussed between the doctor and the parent as to whether the prescription indicates contacts and whether the child is mature enough to follow instructions properly.
Can my child wear contact lenses during sports activities?
Yes, contact lenses provide excellent vision for most sports. However, they should also use polycarbonate sports safety goggles or glasses when participating in sports.
Can I go swimming while wearing contact lenses?
Generally speaking, you should not swim in your contact lenses. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, it is very easy for the lenses to be washed out of the eye by a small wave or if you place your head under the water. Secondly, the lenses, especially the soft ones, will absorb chlorine or microorganisms from the water. They will then stay in or on the lens for several hours, irritating the eyes and possibly causing infection. Exposure to pool water may also cause contact lenses to adhere quite firmly to you eyes. If this occurs, leave the lenses in the eyes until the natural tears replace the pool water.
You can get readymade watertight prescription swimming goggles that are safe for swimming. For those involved in active water sports should seriously consider LASIK surgery for vision correction.
Can I travel by airplane while wearing contact lenses?
The low humidity in airplane cabins causes dry eyes and contact lens discomfort. It may help to put lubrication drops in your eyes before you enter the aircraft or during the flight. If discomfort continues, it is probably easiest to wear eyeglasses when flying.
Can I wear contact lenses if I have had refractive surgery?
Yes, but the refractive surgery will have change the curvature of your cornea, requiring a more specialized lens than normal. It is best to consult your eye doctor.
How do I know if contacts are right for me?
It depends on your prescription, your eye health, visual need, and your lifestyle. Only a comprehensive contact lens examination can determine if your sight can be adequately corrected with contact lenses. If you work in a dusty environment or exposed to bright, windy conditions much of the time, eyeglasses may be safer and more comfortable to wear.
What’s the difference between daily-wear and extended-wear lenses?
Daily-wear contact lenses are designed to be removed each day for cleaning, and should be taken out before you sleep or nap. Extended-wear lenses can be worn continuously for up to seven days before they are removed for cleaning.
Can I sleep in my contact lenses?
Yes, but remember that only extended wear lenses are designed for this purpose.
What if I fall asleep with my daily contact lenses in?
If you are wearing daily contact lenses, you should always take them out before you go to sleep. If, however, you do fall asleep with them on your eyes, remove your lenses as soon as you get up, and follow the recommended lens cleaning and disinfecting instructions. It may be helpful to put drops in your eyes before removing your lenses to moisturize them.
How do tinted contact lenses work?
Your iris is colored, but does not affect the color of things you see. Enhancer tints highlight a wearers existing eye color and come in a variety of colors including aqua, blue, green, brown, amber and violet. Opaque tints cover the natural color of the iris, making the eye appear a completely different color (such as blue over a brown iris). The wearer sees through a clear area in the center of the lens while showing the world a different eye color.
How do I know which color is best for me?
The color choice is up to you. In general, choose colors that complement your hair and skin tones. You can choose one color or several colors to be worn all day, every day or simply for special occasions.
Can I share contacts with someone else?
No! Never try to wear contact lenses that were not prescribed to you directly. Even if the lenses are cosmetic or colored lens with no power (plano) you should not share lenses with anyone else. Also, sharing contact lenses can promote the spread of eye disease. Never allow anyone else to wear your lenses.
Can I use my eyeglass prescription for ordering contacts?
No, you cannot use your eyeglass prescription to order your contact lenses. Contact lens prescription and eyeglass prescription are different. It should be noted that the power of a contact lens would not necessarily be the same as that of a spectacle prescription due to the optics of a lens being closer to the eye. A contact lens prescription differs from a spectacle prescription primarily by the addition of lens parameters such as diameter of the lenses, the base curve, the type of material of the contact lens, and the design or manufacturer’s name. If these measurements are not taken by an experienced eye care professional, your contacts may not feel comfortable. Thus, before you can order contacts, you must first undergo a contact lens fitting exam. Doctors charge an additional fee for this fitting exam.
Do I need to see an eye doctor, if I want to wear contacts?
Yes, an eye exam is needed to determine the right contact lens fit for you. Because contact lenses are medical devices, they need to be properly fitted by an eye doctor.
Why do I need a prescription, I just want lenses to change my eye color?
Even lenses without correction are medical devices that can cause problems to your eyes. If you have never worn contact lenses, you need to be fitted by an eye doctor and taught how to insert, remove, and disinfect them. If you already wear clear lenses that are available in a tint then you may substitute with a tint without a problem.
Why do I need a recent prescription for contact lenses?
Your doctor has a right and a responsibility to put an expiration date on your contact lens prescription, to ensure that you receive regular check-ups to rule out the possibility of long-term complications of contact lens wear that you may be unaware of.
How long is my contact lens prescription good for?
Although it may vary from State to State, normal regulations maintain that you should see your eye care practitioner every year to update your prescription and maintain good eye health.
How do I read my contact lens prescription?
Depending upon your visual needs, you may or may not have all of the following items on your prescription:
- OD (Oculus Dextrus) is right eye
- OS (Oculus Sinister) is left eye
- Sphere power is the actual power of the contact lens
- Cylinder (if any) is the power of the astigmatism correction
- Axis (if any) is the alignment of the contact lens in the eye
- Base curve is the shape of the contact lens
- Diameter is the distance from edge to edge (in mm) of the lens
In most cases, the most important parts of the prescription are the Base Curve, Diameter and Sphere power.
Do I still need regular eye exams once I get contact lenses?
Yes. The single best way to protect your vision is through regular professional eye examinations. Eye care professionals do more than provide eye exams, they care for the overall health of your eyes. This is especially important for contact lens wearers because the contacts could be causing damage to your eyes without necessarily causing any obvious symptoms. You should see your eye care professional regularly.
Do I need to keep my glasses once I get contact lenses?
Yes. Though contact lenses provide benefits, you should still keep your glasses’ prescription current. There may be days that you don’t want to wear your lenses, or when your glasses are better suited for the situation.
How often should contact lenses be changed?
The recommended life of contact lenses varies depending on the type of lenses, from 1-day, 1-week, 2-weeks, 1-month, and longer. With any contact lens, you should follow the prescribed wear and care instructions that include guidelines for replacement.
How do I know if my contact lenses need replacement?
Typical signs that a lens is approaching the end of its life is hazy vision, discomfort, and lens discoloration and deposits. These can lead to allergies and other complications.
Can I continue to wear my disposable contact lenses if they are still comfortable after the recommended wearing period?
No, lenses should not be worn for longer than the recommended wearing period to stop discomfort, dryness, blurred vision and allergic reactions that can result from a build-up of protein and lipid deposits on the lenses.
If I only wear my 2-week disposable contacts part time, do I still have to replace them every 2 weeks?
No, the 2 weeks refers to the actual time of wearing, so they can last longer than 2 weeks if you are not wearing them full time.
What type of contact lens is best if I want to wear only once or twice a week?
Soft contact lenses, especially dailies, are most appropriate for occasional wear.
Can I continue to wear my lens that has a very small tear at the edge but it doesn’t trouble me?
Absolutely not. Never wear a lens that is obviously damaged, even if it feels all right. It could be causing damage to your eyes that might not be immediately apparent. In addition, never wear a lens, which is uncomfortable, causing pain or leaves your vision hazy or distorted.
I keep tearing my lenses, what could be the problem?
It could be your long fingernails or you are closing the case on the contacts. Use a thicker lens.
How can I tell if my contact lens is inside out?
Soft lenses will appear as a smooth dish shape when placed on the end of a finger and when the lens is the right way inside. Another test is to add saline, drop by drop to fill the bowl. If the edges begin to curl inwards, it’s the correct way.
How can I find out if I have swapped the contact lenses in my eyes?
Check the vision of each eye by covering alternate eyes with your hand. If the vision is unclear then try swapping the lenses and then recheck the vision.
Can contact lenses fall out of eyes?
Generally not. With normal use, contact lenses will stay firmly in position. However, they can come out under certain conditions. High winds can cause the eyes to water and pull the eyelid tight against the eye, increasing the chance of lens loss. A sharp blow to the head may dislodge rigid gas permeable lenses. And rubbing your eye carelessly may result in a lost lens.
How do I tell if I have lost the lens from my eye?
Cover the other eye to determine if vision is still clear from the eye where you suspect that you have lost the lens. If vision is blurred then more than likely the lens is either dislodged from the cornea or has fallen out of the eye.
Can contact lenses slip to the back of eye or be “lost” behind the eye?
No. There is no place for it to go. There is a thin, transparent membrane, called conjunctiva that covers the sclera (white part) and inside of your eyelids is well attached to the sidewalls of the eye socket. This forms a seal which prevents contact lenses (as well as dust and other ‘foreign’ material) passing to the back of the eye.
My contact lens is dislodged from its position, what should I do?
Sometimes contact lenses ‘hide’ beneath eyelids. If you wear soft contact lenses, they will tend to center automatically on the cornea. If you wear rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, you may need to manipulate a displaced lens through the eyelid. In rare instances, an RGP lens may adhere by suction to the conjunctiva. First, apply wetting solution to the lens and wait about a minute. Then try to move the lens while gently pressing on one edge. If that doesn’t work, you can try to very gently lift up under one edge to break the seal. Or go see your eye doctor. If a contact lens adheres repeatedly, it is not fitted correctly and should be replaced.
I have always used hard contact lenses, can I switch to soft lenses?
Possibly yes. Now, there are many new types of soft contact lenses available. Many eye conditions, which were previously corrected only by hard contact lenses, may now be corrected with soft contact lenses. Make an appointment with your eye doctor and get trial samples of soft contact lenses.
Do gas permeable contact lenses absorb water?
No. They do not need to because the material itself allows oxygen to diffuse through it making water irrelevant.
My contacts lift up on my eye, what could be the problem?
It indicates increased deposits on the contacts and/or possible allergic response of upper lids to dirty contacts. Discard the old lenses and use fresh ones.
My contacts feel dry all the time, what should I do?
My contacts hurt when I insert them, what could be the problem?
There are three possibilities (1) tear in contact; (2) increased deposits, or (3) contact is inside out.
Whenever I wear contacts, I get a watery discharge in my eyes, what should I do?
This may be an allergic reaction to deposits on contacts or possibly an eye infection. Set up an appointment with your eye doctor.
Can I store my contacts in homemade saline?
No. Home-made saline is not sterile and there is the risk of bacterial or parasitic contamination. Although extremely rare, the resulting infection can be so damaging that it simply is not worth the risk.
Can I store my contacts in tap water?
Absolutely not. This can result in infection. Temporary storage in saline is OK, but the lenses will need to be cleaned and conditioned by soaking in an appropriate disinfecting solution prior to use.
Can I store my contacts dry?
Absolutely not. Soft lenses will turn into “corn-flakes” and pop when you touch them. Hard lenses should also be stored in a soaking disinfecting solution to reduce lens contamination.
How long can I store a contact lens after it has been removed from its package?
This varies according to the cleaning and disinfection routine that you use before storing the lens. For specific details, consult the package insert of your lens care system.
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