If you are new to wearing contact lenses, it may seem scary to try them at first. If you play sports or find it a hassle to wear glasses all the time, contacts are a great alternative. Follow our tips and tricks to make sure you are safely inserting and removing your lenses whilst protecting your vision.
DO YOU NEED AN EYE TEST FOR CONTACT LENSES?
The answer is yes. A regular eye test and contact lens eye test are actually two different tests! In a regular eye test, the health of the eye is examined and a prescription is made for glasses. (If needed). The contact lens prescription is slightly different to the glasses one. This is because the contacts sit directly on the eye and the glasses sit in front of the eye. This means that further testing and measuring is required. This will include a second and third appointment for the fitting and aftercare of contact lenses as well.
Even if you are after coloured contacts, (prescription or not) it is suggested to still have your eyes checked and contact lenses fitted at an optometrist to learn how to insert, remove and take care of your contact lenses to avoid eye infections.
WHAT TOOLS CAN I USE TO ASSIST WITH WEARING CONTACT LENSES?
If you are unable to use your hands, the following tools are recommended:
Specialised Contact Lens Tweezers
– Similar to regular tweezers, use these to hold and pinch the contact lens. Use when you are inserting and removing the lens.
Specialised Contact Lens Suction Cup
– Another option which can insert and remove the contact lenses with ease. The suction cup may be a good option for people who struggle to keep the contact lens in their eye.
– If you find it difficult to get your lenses in, it may be because your eyes are dry and you require eye drops to moisten your eyes.
HOW TO CLEAN AND LOOK AFTER YOUR SOFT CONTACT LENSES
These tips and tricks are very important to ensure your eyes stay healthy and you get the most use out of your contact lenses!
- The most important step is to wash your hands with soap. Remember, you are putting the contact lenses directly on to your eyes, so if there is any bacteria or particles on your fingers you will be putting that into your eyes and which may cause an infection or scratch. Always dry your hands after, preferably with a paper towel or lint-free towel to prevent micro hairs from clinging to your fingers and causing irritation.
- Take special care with your lenses. When you are trialing contact lenses for the first time, you will start off with soft contact lenses, and there are two types of contact lenses: dailies or monthly’s. These contact lenses are quite flexible and thin, which makes them very comfortable on the eyes but they can tear quite easily. As you throw out a daily disposable after single use, usually it doesn’t matter so much if you tear it. Monthly contact lenses are used up to 30 times so you need to be more careful in the cleaning and storing process to make sure you get the most use out of them.
- Clean your contacts with the saline solution recommended by your eye doctor. (Do not clean them with any other liquids including tap water!) You should do this before putting them in your eye and when you take them out and store them. Generally, you can buy a solution bottle at your local eye doctor surgery or alternatively, at a chemist.
- Store your contact lenses in a clean contact lens case (which you should let dry out during the day to avoid any bacteria growing) You should replace these cases every few months. When cleaning the case, rinse and fill it up with fresh solution, then leave to dry.
ARE DECORATIVE CONTACT LENSES SAFE?
Any eye doctor will tell you that decorative contact lenses are not safe for your eyes. The companies creating these contacts are specifically making them for the aesthetic and for dress-up purposes so they haven’t been assessed by eye-care professionals to ensure that the materials are safe for your eyes. Brands such as Alcon and J&J create coloured contacts but they also are reputable brands for prescription contact lenses, so these are the ones to look for when searching for decorative lenses.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING BLURRY VISION WITH CONTACTS?
Avid contact lens wearers will know that your vision may blur from time to time when your contact lenses are adjusting on your pupil. Usually this will settle down pretty quickly, however if you experience any pain or the blurriness does not settle down, then you need to carefully remove the lenses and book an appointment with your eye care provider.
For a contact lens consult, book an appointment with our optometrist.