The use of contact lenses has grown enormously over the past 20 or 30 years. Major advances in technology and material science mean that more people than ever can now wear contact lenses comfortably for longer and with better vision than ever before.
We now have available, lenses that can be worn on a daily throw-away basis, right through to lenses that can be left in for 30 days continuously. Many people who have previously worn and had to drop out of lens wear, can and have been successfully refitted with modern lenses and are now once again full time contact lens wearers.
Through careful examination of your eyes and discussion about your visual requirements, we can come up with the lens type and wearing regime that is most likely going to fulfill your needs.
I can't wear lenses because.... A few common misconceptions that I hear about why contact lenses can't be worn.
I'm too young - Normally anyone aged 10 or over and I am happy to fit. Occasionally, younger if circumstances indicate that lenses are the best option. The final decision depends on whether the young person is responsible enough to look after and care for their eyes and lenses properly. Discussion with a parent/guardian is essential in these cases as initially it may be the adult that has to get the lenses in and out!
I'm too old - As we get older the 2 biggest problems for our eyes are that we need different prescriptions -bifocals, varifocals etc and that our eyes become dryer that is, the tear film starts to deteriorate and we often get symptoms of gritty, itchy even hot and burning eyes. These symptoms previously were the biggest cause of people dropping out of lens wear, but with modern materials being far more "biocompatible" and less prone to dehydration this is becoming less of an issue and we now have the option of multifocal contact lenses as well. Or we can try "mono-vision" correction, that is having 1 lens for distance and 1 lens for reading. know it sounds odd, but it works very well for many people.
I've got a stigma! - This generally comes from people that have mis-heard thier optometrist and they may have astigmatism which is basically an irregular prescription caused by the eye being slightly non-spherical. Picture the shape of a rugby ball rather that a football, that slight irregularity is astigmatism. Help is at hand because there are now several lenses designed to correct for this irregular shape and can give vision as good as spectacles.
I won't be able to get the lenses in - In 20 plus years, I have only ever had 2 or 3 people that with a bit of tuition, encouragement and patience haven't managed to overcome initial fears of putting a lens on the eye.
If you think that you would like to try contact lenses, give us a call and make an appointment for an initial test, assessment and trial.
Whether lenses are used occasionally, daily or on an extended wear basis, there are always risks that the wearer needs to be aware of. Our job as eyecare professionals is to make sure that you are aware of what can go wrong and help you to minimise the risk.
Warnings - what you should know about contact lens wear
It is essential that you follow your Eye Care Professional’s directions for the proper use of your contact lenses. Problems with contact lenses could result in serious injury to the eye. Eye problems, including corneal ulcers, can develop rapidly and lead to the loss of vision.
The results of a study of lenses used with care products indicate the following:
The overall annual incidence of ulcerative keratitis (corneal ulcer) in those who wear contact lenses for daily wear is estimated to be about 4.1 in 10,000 and about 20.9 in 10,000 for those who use them for extended wear.
The risk of ulcerative keratitis is 4 to 5 times greater for extended wear contact lens users than for daily users.
When daily wear users who wear their lenses overnight and extended wear users who wear their lenses on a daily wear basis are excluded from the comparison, the risk among extended wear users is 10 to 15 times greater.
When daily wear users wear their lenses overnight (outside of the approved indication) the risk of ulcerative keratitis is 9 times greater than among those who do not wear them overnight.
The risk of ulcerative keratitis among contact lens wearers who smoke is estimated to be 3 to 8 times greater than for non-smokers.
The overall risk of ulcerative keratitis may be reduced by carefully following directions for good hygiene and lens wear.