Are you thinking about getting contact lenses? Many people enjoy them because of their convenience and appearance (or lack thereof!). If you've never worn them before, there are many things you should know to help you enjoy a better experience while supporting healthy eyes and vision. This guide can help you know where to start.
Contact Lenses: The Basics
Before you wear your first pair, you'll have to start at the beginning by getting a prescription and learning the essentials. Finding a great eye doctor can help make the whole process simple.
Visiting the Eye Doctor
You'll need to see an optometrist or optician to get a prescription for contact lenses. They'll inspect your vision to determine how much correction you need. They'll also inspect your eyes and examine their shape and positioning, as these also determine which type of contact lenses will work best for you.
Everyone should see an eye doctor at least once every two to three years, but if you wear glasses or contact lenses, annual appointments are a must. Not only does this allow your eye doctor to keep tabs on your vision and how well your corrective lenses are working, but it also gives them the chance to perform important screenings, such as retinal imaging, pupil dilation, and more. This helps them make sure your eyes are still in great health.
Types of Lenses
There are many different types of contact lenses you can choose from. Soft, reusable lenses are very common because they are durable yet comfortable. Hard lenses are sometimes recommended for certain patients. These require a bit more care when placing, removing, and storing them. Daily options exist; rather than cleaning and storing these, you simply throw them away at the end of the day.
You can also wear contact lenses that change the color of your eye if you so choose. Some corrective lenses are designed to be worn only at night to correct your vision gradually. Your doctor can help you decide which option is right for you.
Finding the Right Fit
You may receive one or a few different types of contact lenses to try. It is a good idea to explore more than one option so you can see how different types or brands feel in your eyes. Wearing new contact lenses requires a little time and patience. With practice, most patients adjust to their new contacts in two weeks or less.
Tips for Wear and Care
Taking care of your contact lenses is easy when you follow these suggestions.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Transferring bacteria to your eyes is a major concern when wearing contacts. Always wash your hands with soap that's oil- and lotion-free before handling contacts or touching your eyes. Allow your hands to drip dry or pat them dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.
Don't Ditch Your Glasses
Even if you love your contacts and opt to wear them most days, it's a good idea to keep a current pair of eyeglasses as well. There are some situations where you should not wear contact lenses, such as if you have a certain illness, injury, or irritation with your eyes. It's also possible to lose or damage them. Having glasses as a backup ensures you can still see well in these situations.
Have Extras On Hand
If you wear contact lenses, it's a good idea to keep a storage case, some contact solution, and even an extra pair with you when you're out and about. You can store them in your bag or your car for emergencies. Always take extras (or your eyeglasses) with you when you travel as well.
Follow Instructions for Cleaning, Storage, and Replacement
Because there are so many different types of contact lenses, instructions for cleaning and storage can vary. Some should be gently rubbed in saline after wearing. Others should be rinsed after being removed from a certain storage solution. Follow the instructions carefully to prevent damage to the lenses and irritation and injury to your eyes.
Even well-made and cared-for contacts won't last forever. While it might be tempting to keep your lenses longer to stretch your money, there's a good chance you'll irritate your eyes doing this; you could risk bacterial buildup as well. Replace them as often as your eye doctor recommends.
Wearing contact lenses can be a great alternative to eyeglasses. See an eye doctor today to find out if making the switch is right for you.