What you need to know before getting contact lenses

There are some struggles only wearers of glasses can relate to. They always seem to need cleaning. They tend to go missing just as you’re about to leave the house. Plus, something as inconsequential as wearing a mask can make them fog up and impair your vision.

Contact lenses can have clear advantages, but if you’re thinking about making the switch, there are a few things you should know right from the start. To help, we asked experts to share their top tips.

You’ll need a new prescription
“It’s not simply a matter of transferring your glasses prescription over to contact lenses,” says Sharon Copeland, contact lens optician at Feel Good Contacts.

“If you are thinking of making the switch from spectacles to contact lens use, you’ll need to visit your optician first.

“There, they’ll conduct a professional eye test and make a recommendation on the type and brand of contact lenses that would be best for you. Correcting your vision and ensuring comfort should be the key concerns of the optician.”

Sometimes they can be difficult to remove
If you come to remove your lenses and find they’re difficult to get out, don’t panic. If you’re panicked, you can do more harm than good. In some cases, you can be so focused on the task that you haven’t noticed the lens has come out and you’re still trying to remove it.

If it’s late in the afternoon or evening, just relax and go to bed at your regular time. Call your eye doctor and be seen first thing in the morning so that they can remove it for you.

Read: Tips for buying glasses online

Consider the types of lenses you need
“Daily disposables are great for travelling, as there’s no need for cleaning. However, opting for twice monthly or monthly lenses, means you need fewer pairs for the whole month and so offer better value,” says Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director.

There are also lots of different types of contact lenses, that vary in many ways – from the material they’re made from to the levels of oxygen they allow through to your eyes.

“As they sit directly on the surface of the eye, you can avoid distortion or reflections that people sometimes experience when wearing glasses. This is great for when playing sports or driving,” adds Mr Edmonds.

Make sure to practise basic hygiene
“Following simple hygiene and care guidelines when you’re putting in your contacts will keep your eyes healthy and ensure your vision stays clear,” says Mr Edmonds.

“Always wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses, and don’t share them with anyone else. Don’t sleep in your lenses unless you’ve been advised to do so and avoid using tap water or any other water on your lenses or case.”

Read: Risky eye health mistakes

It can be an adjustment to go back
“If you do choose to go back to wearing glasses after having worn contact lenses for some time, you may experience some minor issues, such as headaches or dizziness, as you go through the settling-in phase,” says Ms Copeland.

“If you’ve been wearing high-prescription contact lenses for a significant period of time, your brain may take several days – or even weeks – to adjust to this change.”

Keep the case clean
The biggest mistake people make in lens safety is topping off the solution. You should always rinse your case out with hot tap water and then do a final rinse with a solution and let it air dry.

The other unsafe thing that people do is neglect to replace their case frequently enough. It should be replaced every three months. The vast majority of serious infections, which are very rare, are usually due to the case being cleaned infrequently.

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At some point, you’ll probably fall asleep in them
Everybody will occasionally fall asleep in lenses. For the most part, it’s fine. Just don’t try to take them out first thing. Use a lubricating drop to hydrate the lens before trying to remove it.

If you try to take a very dry lens off, it can cause abrasion. If you have any change in vision or if your eye is very red or painful, you should make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

If you have a question about contact lenses, such as which type works best for you, how to put them in, take them out, or clean them, speak to your optician, who can give you advice.

Do you wear glasses? Are you thinking of switching to contact lenses? Share your thoughts or concerns with our members in the comments section below.

– With PA

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