Finding Your Ideal Contact Lenses: Tips for a Successful Contact Lens Exam
Contact lenses are a great opportunity to see clearly without wearing eyeglasses. They provide more freedom for certain activities and offer an alternative look, which makes them fun and versatile. However, with a myriad of contact lens options available, it’s important to find the best option for YOU. To help you prepare for your contact lens exam, here are some tips for finding your ideal contact lenses.
1. Know why you want contact lenses.
People who wear contact lenses make the process look easy, but the truth is that learning to wear contact lenses takes effort and practice. It takes time to master the insertion and removal of contact lenses, so knowing why you want contacts will keep you motivated through the challenges of learning to wear them. Do you want contacts for sports, to change your eye color, to avoid wearing eyeglasses, or to feel more confident? Understanding your motivation is crucial to getting your desired result of successful contact lens wear.
2. Have the right expectations for your contact lenses
A contact lens prescription differs from an eyeglasses prescription, and the vision may seem less crisp with contacts than with eyeglasses. However, the difference in vision is usually minimal, and the potential trade-off is worth it, as contacts provide wearers with the freedom to go without their eyeglasses.
3. Know the basics of your eyeglass prescription
Understanding the basics of your eyeglass prescription will help determine the contact lens options available to you. Certain aspects of the prescription can affect what contact lenses are suitable for you. For example, an “add” power indicates the need for multifocal lenses, which correct distance and near vision, much like a no-line bifocal. Also, knowing the power of your prescription helps identify which lenses are an option for you, as some contacts are only available up to a certain strength. Finally, astigmatism is denoted by “cylinder” in eyeglasses and contact prescriptions, and toric lenses may be prescribed if the cylinder is above 1.00.
4. Know the level of effort you want to put into your contact lens care.
Good hygiene is crucial when it comes to contact lenses, as lack of care can result in eye infections, ulcers, and other unpleasant issues. With each type of lens, there is a required care regimen. Contact lenses are frequently prescribed as either extended-wear (monthly) or daily-wear lenses.
Extended-wear contact lenses are worn during the day and stored in solution overnight. Although some extended-wear lenses are safe for overnight wear, it’s still recommended to remove and clean the lenses often to prevent contact lens overwear, which can lead to eye infections and ulcers. Monthly wear contact lenses must be stored in fresh solution, and only last up to 30 days before their wearability expires. To prevent contact lens overwear, most monthly lens wearers will open a new pair at the beginning of each month and discard them at the end of the month.
Daily-wear contact lenses are removed from their packaging, inserted into the eye, and discarded after a single wear. For those with sensitive eyes, daily disposable contacts are a great option. They come in various prescriptions, including multifocal and toric lenses, which makes them available to most wearers. Because of their packaging, daily lenses are already in a sterile solution, which gives more wear flexibility.
Beginning your contact lens journey doesn’t have to be intimidating.
While finding the ideal contacts is part of a journey, it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Once you know why you want contacts and the effort you want to invest into them, you’re halfway there. The last step is to see your eye doctor and give contact lenses a try!