Contact lenses have some advantages over spectacles – there are no distortions, they perform better in sports because they don’t fog up, no raindrops on the lenses, they don’t get knocked off and no more sweaty glasses! Cosmetically some people prefer contact lenses to glasses. However they do cost more and there is a small increase in the chance of getting an eye disease.
Which kind of contact lens for you? Gas permeable, soft or soft disposable?
Gas permeable (GP)
Gas permeable (GP) contact lenses are flexible dry contact lenses that go over about 2/3rds of the corneal surface. It takes time to adapt to them (1-3 weeks) and the comfort level will be like a good pair of shoes – you know they are there but they are comfortable. GP lenses provide good optics (you get better quality vision) and they last a long time (about 2 years). However, they are not good for casual wear or for contact sports. Dust and grit under the lens can cause irritation.
Soft contact lenses are soft water filled contact lenses that cover your entire cornea and a little of the white of your eye. They are immediately comfortable with all day wear possible from day one. They are good for casual use and contact sports. Lenses are expected to last 12 months but this may not be achieved by some people. Lenses need to be kept clean and sterile and special solution regimes are required for that purpose.
Soft disposable contact lenses provide significant advantages over conventional soft lenses: they are healthier for the eye (clean lenses cause less eye irritation and predispose the eye less to the risk of infection), if you lose or damage a lens the unit cost is low and you always have spare lenses on hand.
Soft disposable contact lenses come in different modalities. There are one day disposable contact lenses – i.e. use the lens once and then throw it away – no solutions required at all. There are lenses you can leave in the eye on extended wear i.e. all day and overnight for up to 30 days and then the more “conventional” disposable lens that you use for 14 days or a month storing in solution each night.
There are soft disposable contact lenses that correct astigmatism.
There are soft disposable contact lenses that act like bifocals and allow you to see both far and near (for patients who are over 45 years and need distance and near prescriptions).
What’s involved in getting contact lenses?
If you haven’t had contact lenses before you’ll need: an eye examination to gather baseline data, check your eye health and discuss lens types. You’ll need a further time to determine the contact lens prescription – that may take two 15 minute appointments on the same day or 30-60 minutes at one appointment or even longer over a few days. You’ll need a dispensing appointment where you are taught how to insert and remove contact lenses and you’ll need a number of aftercares (usually two) to monitor the contact lens and its effect on your cornea.
If you have had contact lenses before you’ll need an eye examination. You may need an appointment to amend your current contact lens brand or prescription and aftercares if that is the case.
Buying more contact lenses. We can supply you with more contact lenses provided your prescription has not expired. For our practice in most circumstances the prescription is valid for 2 years from the last examination. At two years we will recommend an eye examination because we care about your eyes (and we are aware of our medico-legal responsibilities!) however you may decline the eye examination and that will be noted on your file and we will usually provide the contact lenses as requested. At three years however and you decline the recommended eye examination we will not supply you with more contact lenses.
Free Introductory Contact Lens Evaluation. You can make a free 15 minute appointment with one of our optometrists to discuss the pros and cons of contact lenses as they specifically relate to you.
Contact Lens Satisfaction Program. If you don’t like contact lenses on day one there is no charge for the attempt that has been made to fit you with contact lenses. This applies to soft disposable contact lens fitting only.