People have a lot of questions when they are considering contact lenses for the first time or are wondering about trying them again.
Which type of lens is best for me?
This will depend on your prescription, whether you want to wear them everyday, or just occasionally, and what activities (e.g. sports) they are to be used for.
As the decision is best made in consultation with an optometrist, we offer a free 15 minute service to help answer your questions, and to accurately indicate what costs are involved (please bring your current glasses and/or a copy of your prescription). Please contact us to arrange an appointment.
A hard or soft contact lens?
Contact lenses are divided into soft or RGP (rigid gas permeable, i.e.'hard'). RGP lenses allow a high level of oxygen to the eye, and are recommended for certain prescription types (e.g. keratoconus, see Common Eye Conditions). Soft lenses are used more commonly as daily, fortnighly or monthly contacts than annual lenses.
What if they don't work for me?
Some people are concerned about whether or not they can wear contact lenses. With our professional help, and the latest quality contact lenses, it is rare for this to be an issue.
Why do many of my friends use disposable lenses?
Disposable lenses are soft lenses that are replaced frequently: daily, fortnightly or monthly. With such regular replacement, cleaning is minimal, making them more convenient. There are fewer complications with lenses that are replaced regularly, and you always have spare lenses to hand! Currently 85% of contact lens wearers use some form of disposable contact lenses.
Can the lenses be worn just for sport or social occasions?
Yes. We usually recommend disposable soft lenses for part-time wearing. The daily disposables are ideal for occasional wear - wear once and throw away, giving you clean fresh lenses every wear.
Are there lenses you can sleep in?
Silicone hydrogel lenses are the very newest material that provides enough oxygen to the cornea to allow the user to wear them continuously for up to 30 days and nights. We do check the eye health more regularly for wearers of this type of lens.
What about coloured lenses?
There are a range of soft and disposable lenses available with tints to change eye colour. These lenses need to be fitted with the same attention to eye health as all other contact lenses.
Does wearing contact lenses hurt?
No, but they do take a little time to get used to. Once fully adapted soft lenses and the very thin disposable lenses have virtually no sensation. For RGP lenses, most wearers will usually have some mild sensation when wearing the lenses.
How much do contact lenses cost?
There are three factors for new wearers to consider - professional fees for appointments, the contact lenses themselves and cleaning solutions. Fees vary according to the type of lenses fitted, but as an example, a fitting for single vision disposable contact lenses costs £60 for a new wearer.
The cost of the contact lenses will depending on what type of lens is required - and there are dozens of different lenses available. For full-time wear it would be about £25 to £50 per month or about £1 per day for occasional wear. In order to answer this question more accurately for your own specific needs, we offer a free initial discussion with the optometrist.
Are contact lenses safe to wear?
Yes. There are some risks, but these are minimised by cleaning and then disinfecting contact lenses after every wear (or throwing them away daily!). The lens surface can get deposited with proteins, fats and calcium from the tear film which can result in decreased vision, poor fitting contact lenses and long-term allergic reactions. For successful contact lens wear it is best to keep ahead of potential problems with the use of appropriate cleaning solutions and have regular eye examinations.
What are the follow-up visits for?
Follow-up or "aftercare" appointments are important to assess the contact lens fitting, your eye health and vision. These visits occur in the first few months of lens wear. It may be necessary to modify or change the lens to a different design of lens to ensure optimum eye health and vision.
How often do I need to come back?
Once you and our optometrist are satisfied that you are successfully wearing contact lenses, we only need to see you once a year to examine your eyes and renew your contact lens prescription.