Before you get contact lenses, read this
For most people nowadays, wearing contact lenses no longer requires bottles of contact lens solutions and night-time cleansing routines. That’s history, almost everyone uses daily disposable contact lenses.
For someone new to sight correction who doesn’t want the fuss of people’s reactions to their new glasses nor the hassle of carrying them around, “I’ll just wear contact lenses” is a common thought. As eyecare professionals, we say for most people contact lenses are great for occasional use. And before you say “I don’t want spectacles”, hear us out.
We really are up for contact lenses, but bear this in mind. The prescription options for contact lenses are more limited than spectacles so your sight may not be as accurately corrected as a pair of glasses. They also tend to dry and wrinkle later in the day leading to more blur than spectacles.
That said, “Dailies” are cleverly marketed because in the blink of an eye that word takes you from “only use them for a day” to “you can wear contact lenses all day every day”. As professionals looking out for the health of your eyes, we have to say that if you put anything in your eye, it’s going to cause friction. Contact lenses rub against the surface of your eye and against the inside of your eyelid (which isn’t, by the way, just a piece of skin, it houses the glands that produce the vital oils that are part of the moisture layer keeping your eyes healthy).
Friction can rub off some cells, and that can leave a weak spot for an infection to get in. It’s just a matter of small percentages and statistics, but everyone’s eyes get drier as they get older and everything’s fine until the day it isn’t.
Even if an eye infection isn’t sight-threatening, it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable and we are sure you’ve better things to do than bathing your eyes and battling lack of sleep. For your continued eye health, you need your contact lenses to be supported by the comprehensive care package that qualified opticians provide.
How much are contact lenses?
All opticians are governed by the same regulatory standards and so any good optician will tell you that if you wear contact lenses, you need a contact lens care package.
We offer contact lenses from £31/month including all aftercare. That means we call you in for regular eyetests and inspections of your cornea for contact lens related wear and tear. We understand this may sometimes be inconvenient, but we can’t emphasise strongly enough that the health of your eyes is really important. Just, don’t take risks with your eyesight, it’s not worth it. We see the impact.
With our care package, simply if you have any concerns at all about your contact lenses, you can come in and see our optician. You can always do that, but it’s free as part of our contact lens care package.
And while we are thinking of saving money please don’t wear daily disposables for more than one day. They are not licensed for that.
Toric contact lenses for astigmatism
Another reason you would want to get your contact lenses from us is if your prescription is not straightforward. Ten years ago people with astigmatism (rugby-ball shaped eyeballs) couldn’t wear contact lenses, but now we have toric lenses. For these and for varifocal lenses, careful fitting is more important for success. A contact lens for astigmatism is thicker in some parts than others which makes it want to spin around so the heaviest part is at the bottom which makes for a more complicated fitting.
How good are varifocal contact lenses? We would say fine for distance plus occasional reading (such as a menu) but perhaps glasses are a better solution where you really need high performance … a day of office work for instance.
Not all contact lenses are available as dailies, so depending on your prescription you may require the more traditional contact lenses plus a cleaning routine and solutions.
What about red-eye?
Aside from friction causing a red eye, the other thing the front of your eye needs to stay clear to see through is oxygen from the air. This concerned contact lens manufacturers for a long while as cells without oxygen become softer and more easily sloughed off. If you are wondering what contact lenses are made of, modern lenses contain silicone which is breathable so that’s great, except silicone is hydrophobic (it repels water) so it’s dry and uncomfortable to wear. The current state of the art is to make soft lenses which are layered so the silicone is a hidden inner layer for breathing, but it’s coated to overcome the water repulsion problem for comfort.
Here in the UK, we flush away or landfill 750 million contact lenses every year and plastic can take 500 years to decompose. In saving our eyesight, we also should be saving the things we like to look at. It’s just another factor that leads us to advise that your contact lenses should be recycled. Let them dry out and bring them in, we have a special contact lens recycling bin. Bring the plastic packaging too if you like.
“Aha, but what happens to glasses that get thrown away?” They don’t get thrown away, bring them to us and we send them to charity (Vision Aid Overseas) so they get reused.
Can I use a spectacles voucher for contact lenses?
Yes, but we would always advise that contact lenses should be supplementary to glasses. That way you’ll always have glasses to turn to and you can rest your eyes if needed. Contact lenses can make your eyes more tired and they may not give you the finely tuned eyesight solution that a pair of glasses can.
Contact lenses and age
One final thing to note. As we get older the glands and systems that lubricate our eyes usually become less efficient. That increases the chance of dry eye problems. For that reason, contact lenses tend to be less comfortable for older people and therefore less popular.
Fun contact lenses
We may be cautious about health, but we only urge care so that you can enjoy life more and for longer, so yes .. there are coloured contact lenses and even halloween ones, enjoy. Pop in and see what’s possible.
How to get contact lenses
As opticians, it’s our job to be cautious and to look out for people’s health. With all of the above said, contact lenses are a great option. Sometimes you just don’t want to wear glasses, we get it. That feeling of freedom is special. So pop in or book a contact lens appointment and let’s make your contact lens experience a great one so you have the choice: is this a fun glasses day, or a freedom contact lens day?
At LocalEyes you can try contact lenses for free. Why not get in touch now and arrange your appointment.
Completely relaxed and confident from initial contact to final collection.