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Most of us out there have to wear glasses, contacts or both at one point in our life. I have worked in the private (meaning not a Walmart, Sam’s Club or Lenscrafters, but for two private doctors who work for themselves) optical industry for about nine years. Do you need an eye exam? How can I pick out glasses that I will love? Facts & myths about contacts. Get these answers and more this week.
******I am not a doctor. These are all my opinions and if you have true eye issues, call your doctor. They can help you get your eyes seeing 20/20. Or if you are having an eye emergency please call your eye doctor or head to an urgent care facility.******
Contacts are amazing! I loved them before I had Lasik, but they really help when you want a little more peripheral vision than glasses.
Types of Contacts
Hard and Gas Permeable Contact Lenses
The old school style. these are smaller than soft lenses and can be customized to a wide range of prescriptions, but they lack comfort. I would only go with this option if you cannot find your prescription in soft lenses or if recommended by your eye doctor, unless you already wear them. If you are used to these types of lenses you can switch or don’t rock the boat on a good thing.
Soft Contact Lenses
The comfy option. It is amazing how far contacts have come. Soft lenses come in many types and most people can learn how to wear them with a slight learning curve. The different types of soft contacts are:
- Soft Conventional Lenses: Soft conventional lenses come in wider prescription parameters than soft disposable but you buy each lens individually. Normally each lens can last up to a year. The lens should be removed each night and cleaned. The downfall is if you lose or rip one, it can be expensive to replace.
- Soft Disposable Lenses: The most common type of soft lenses are disposables. Normally worn daily and removed at night for cleaning. Then replaced after a certain period of time, usually a month, but can vary depending on brand.
- Soft Dailies Disposable Lenses: These lenses are similar to soft disposables, but instead of cleaning you throw away each set after a day of wear. Some will try to wear the same pair more than one day. These contacts are not made of a material that will stand wearing more than a day.
- Soft Toric Lenses: Toric lenses are used for patients with astigmatism. These lenses are more custom and tend to be a little more pricey. They can be purchased in disposables, conventional and daily disposables.
- Soft Multifocal Lenses: Many people love the thought of a bifocal contact, but it isn’t always a great fit in reality. If you want to try multifocal or bifocal contacts be prepared to give many options a good try and be prepared if it doesn’t work out. Some people can make it work, but not all. Other options are to wear contacts and use reading glasses or monovision contacts. Monovision uses a distance contact in one eye and a reading contact in the other (again not everyone can adjust but some people love it).
- Soft Extended Wear Lenses: It can be easy to forget to remove contacts at night and end up sleeping in them. This can cause all sorts of problems for your eyes. If you are prone to sleeping in your contacts ask your eye doctor for contacts that are approved for overnight wear. It is a good idea to still remove these contacts once a week for cleaning and to give your eyes a break.
Contact Lens Tips
- Clean lenses according to the instructions. Ask your eye doctor or read the insert in the box.
- ALWAYS use fresh/new solution. It only cleans once people!
- Replace your contact lens case every three months
- Replace contacts according to what your eye doctor directs. If you try to wear them longer you risk eye infections, ulcers and other painful, irritating eye problems.
- Give your eyes a break from contacts. If you are just going to be hanging out at home, remove contacts and wear your glasses. It is hard for your eyes to wear contacts for long hours each day. In other words, have a back up pair of glasses.
- Have an exam every year. Contacts are a medical device. Have an eye exam to ensure you are wearing them properly and to check your eye health.
- Do not use regular eye drops with contacts. These can break down the contacts or make them foggy use soft contact approved drops like these or these.
My two favorite soft contact lens cleaning solutions:
ClearCare: This is a deep cleaning peroxide solution. If your eyes are sensitive to solutions this one cleans the best! If you have problems with keep your lenses clean try this, but be sure to read the instructions. The special cup neutralizes the solution so that after six hours you can put contacts directly into eyes or rinse with a saline solution. Do not put the red tipped hydrogen peroxide solution in your eyes, it will burn.
Opti-Free: The Opti-Free family has many multi-purpose solution options. They are great because they clean and rinse in the same bottle. Be sure to still follow the instructions, but most are no rub which is also a plus!
I would avoid using any store brand multi-purpose solutions. If you have an allergy or reaction to these it may be hard to know which multi-purpose solution the store brand is using.