If you’ve never worn contacts before, the idea of sticking a foreign object into your eye every day can be intimidating, to say the least. However, wearing contacts for the first time shouldn’t be a scary experience. Thanks to advances in medicine and modern technology, today’s contact lenses not only benefit those who need vision correction, but they are quite comfortable.
One of the best parts about contact lenses is that they give you a chance to get rid of those bulky eyeglasses, providing more versatility and ease. Whether you are an athlete, live somewhere bright and sunny, or are simply tired of messing with eyeglasses, it may be time to consider contacts. Once you’ve made the decision to wear contacts, it can be difficult to know where to start. How do you know which contacts are best for your needs? Should you get daily or monthly lenses? What if I have an astigmatism or require bifocals – can I still wear contacts? The purpose of today’s guide is to answer all of these questions and more. We want you to feel at ease with your decision to embark on a contact wearing journey, while also understanding how to properly care for them. Investing in your health is extremely important, and with all the different options on the market today, it can be hard to know where to even begin. If you have any questions not answered in this guide, please do not hesitate to contact First Eye Care DFW today. With that being said, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about contacts, as well as tips to help make the transition to contact lenses a smooth one:
How to Choose the Right Contacts
The very first step when it comes to wearing contacts is knowing how to choose the right ones for your eyes. This is done by coming in for a contact lens exam. During this exam, one of our experienced eye doctors will perform a series of tests, such as measuring your eye, evaluating your eye’s, and looking at your ability to produce tears. All of the information from these tests and the actual eye examination itself will help us understand what the right contacts are for your needs. For some people, daily contacts are a great option, whereas others may prefer monthly lenses and even lenses you can sleep in. This first consultation is extremely important and something you do not get by buying your contacts through a third party. We have your best interests in mind and will make sure the contacts you leave here with will provide you with comfort and clear vision.
Are Contacts Safe?
Contact lenses are very safe, however, they require proper care in order to ensure the eye is not damaged. It is important you follow the care instructions provided by your eye doctor (we will also go over contact lens care later in the guide) and always properly clean your contacts and case. In addition, all contacts have specific replacement schedules that must be followed in order to avoid a build-up of lens deposits and other potentially harmful materials. Never over-wear your contacts, as this could lead to serious problems and damage.
Do Contacts Hurt?
The short answer is no, they do not hurt. They are not harmful to the eyes as long as they are worn correctly and kept clean. If you do not properly clean them or fail to follow the care instructions, they could hurt your eyes. Even if a contact gets ‘stuck’ in your eye it is not harmful. One of the most common misconceptions about contacts is that they can get lost in your eye, but this is not possible. There is a barrier that prevents anything – including contacts – from going ‘behind’ your eye, so this is nothing to worry about.
What Is the Most Comfortable Contact Lens?
The most comfortable contact lens will depend on the person. Everyone is unique and has different needs, as well as a different eye structure. For some, soft contacts that are worn on a daily basis (also referred to as ‘dailies’) are the most comfortable, whereas others prefer specific brands and contacts that provide more oxygen to the eye. We encourage you to try out a few different options before settling on the best contacts for you, as you may find that your comfort level will change as your eyes adjust. Some of the brands that have been around the longest and that have the best reputation for comfortable lenses include Bausch & Lomb Ultra Contacts (great for dry eyes), Acuvue Oasys, and Cooper Biofinity.
Can Contacts Help with Dry Eyes?
One of the most common complaints we get from people who wear contacts is that they make their eyes feel dry. If this is something you are dealing with or a concern of yours, it doesn’t mean contacts aren’t for you. There are numerous brands out there that have designed contacts specifically for those who suffer from dry eyes. If your eyes feel irritated and turn red when you wear contacts, switching to a different type may be the simplest solution. There are new technologies that have helped manufacturers make contacts that reduce lens-induced dry eye (CLIDE) symptoms, which is the number one reason why people stop wearing contacts. If this is a concern of yours, we encourage you to talk to one of our optometrists.
How Long Can I Wear Contacts?
The length of which you can wear contacts will depend on a host of factors, including the type of lens you are wearing. Some contacts are designed to be worn just once (dailies) whereas others can be worn for several weeks or even months, as long as they are properly cleaned and cared for. When deciding on the best contact lens for you, discuss these options with your optometrist. If you are someone who is forgetful and may not remember to take out and throw away your contacts every single day, dailies may not be for you.
Can I Sleep With My Contacts In?
Sleeping in your contacts is generally not advised unless you are wearing contacts that are specifically designed to be slept in. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to contacts is sleeping in them when they are not supposed to. Not only can this decrease the longevity of the lenses, but it can cause damage to your eyes. If you are looking for contacts that you can sleep in, be sure and bring this up during your contact lens fitting. The more information your optometrist has, the better chance you have of being fitted with a contact that will support your vision, rather than hinder it.
Common Contact Lens Fears
Many people avoid making the switch to contacts because they have fears about the very idea of them. One of the most common concerns people have is touching their eye, as this can be quite unnatural and, well, strange. If you are someone who struggles to even put eye drops in your eyes, the notion of inserting a foreign object like a contact lens can be downright scary. However, this is nothing to be afraid of. Once you get the hang of it, putting in and taking out your contacts is a super simple task you won’t even think twice about. Let’s take a look at some of the other common fears people have about contacts:
- Can contacts get lost in my eye? No! As we discussed earlier in the guide, there is a barrier (the conjunctiva) that stretches from the inner surface of the eyelids to the back of the eyelids, serving as a covering of the eyeball and a barrier that makes it impossible for anything to get behind the eye.
- What happens if I put the contact in the wrong way? This is one of the most common mistakes people make, and very easy to correct. You will likely be able to tell almost immediately that the contact is in the wrong way, as your vision may be blurry and they will feel uncomfortable. Simply take them out with clean hands, flip them around, and reinsert them.
- Will my contact fall out if I blink or rub my eye? A contact that is properly fitted for your eyes will not fall out. During your contact lens fitting, the optometrist will take a ton of different measurements, using them to ensure the contacts you leave with fit your eye like a glove.
- Will contacts make my vision worse? This is a very common concern people have. The only way contacts will ever make your eyesight worse is if you put them in the wrong way! In all seriousness, contacts are medical devices that aim to help you see better. However, if you do not properly care for them or overwear them, they could lead to serious problems such as corneal ulcers and eye infections.
How to Care for Your Contacts
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of properly caring for your contacts in today’s guide, and now it’s time to go over what this really means. It may seem like a lot of work to take out your contacts every night before bed, disinfect them, and place them in a clean case, but it’s worth it. And once you get into a routine, it will come naturally. Here are instructions for how to insert your contact lenses:
- Always wash and dry your hands completely with soap and a clean towel
- Rinse the lenses with a solution to remove any dirt or other debris
- Place the lens on the tip of your index finger and make sure it isn’t inside out (there should be markers on the lenses that will tell you which way is right)
- Using your other hand, lift your eyelid to widen your eye
- Using the free fingers on the hand with the contact, pull down your lower eyelid
- As you look up, put the lens into your eye
- Slowly remove your hands and bling a couple of times to center the lens
- If the lens feels uncomfortable or irritated, take it out and give it a once-over. If there are any little cuts on the lens or other debris, you will either need to throw the lens away or re-clean it
Here are tips for removing your contacts:
- Always wash and dry your hands using mild soap and a clean towel
- Just as you did when you inserted the lens, look up and pull down your lower eyelid
- Using your index finger and thumb, gently squeeze the lens and remove it
Here are a few tips for cleaning, storing, and caring for your contacts:
- Always wash your hands before handling your contacts
- Replace the solution in your case every single night with fresh solution
- Make sure you are only using the solution recommended for your specific contacts by your optometrist
- Keep water away from your contacts (it is too harsh and can be damaging)
- Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor
- Replace your contact lens case every three months
- Visit your eye doctor yearly to ensure the contacts are still right for your eyes
- If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, remove your contacts immediately and call your eye doctor
Options for Daily Contacts
As mentioned, there are numerous options for daily contacts on the market today. We encourage you to contact First Eye Care DFW with any specific questions or to learn about the daily contacts we recommend for our patients. Many of the popular brands (Acuvue, Biofinity, and Bausch & Lomb, to name a few) offer dailies that are great for people looking at this option.
Options for Monthly Contacts
Just like with daily contacts, there are numerous options out there for monthly lenses. From Air Optix Night and Day (yes, you can sleep in them!) to Biofinity and Acuvue, we carry all the name brands. For those with astigmatism or other vision concerns, there are specifically designed lenses that will provide you with the comfort you need.
To learn more about what to expect when making the switch from glasses to contacts, or if you are a first-time contact-wearer, please contact First Eye Care DFW. We hope this guide will help you better understand how to buy, wear, and care for your contact lenses.