Contact lenses present an excellent option for individuals seeking an alternative to eyeglasses. It is worth noting that contact lenses do not serve as the primary means of vision correction for all patients, which is a fact often overlooked.
Every individual is unique, and some patients choose to wear contact lenses selectively, such as on weekends, special occasions, or during sports activities. This aspect of contact lens usage highlights its remarkable flexibility, allowing each person to adapt them to their lifestyle.
When considering contact lens wear, it is crucial to prioritize proper and comfortable fit, as well as maintaining contact lens safety and hygiene. A comprehensive contact lens examination includes an overall eye health assessment, a vision prescription evaluation, and a consultation specifically focused on contact lenses to determine the ideal fit.
Regardless of whether you experience vision issues, regular eye check-ups play a vital role in ensuring the health of your eyes and detecting any potential eye conditions. A comprehensive eye examination evaluates both the general eye health and the quality of your vision. While this examination determines your eyeglasses prescription, it alone does not suffice for contact lens wear. Moreover, the eye doctor will also assess any eye health concerns that could impact the comfort and success of wearing contact lenses.
The contact lens industry continuously advances, introducing new innovations to enhance the comfort, convenience, and accessibility of contact lenses. As a result, during a contact lens consultation, it is important to engage in a discussion with your eye doctor regarding various lifestyle and health factors that may influence the most suitable type of contacts for you.
Several options should be considered, such as choosing between daily disposables or monthly disposable lenses, as well as deciding between soft and rigid gas permeable (GP) lenses. If you have specific eye conditions like astigmatism or dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor may provide tailored recommendations for the ideal type or brand of lenses to ensure optimal comfort and vision.
This is also an opportune moment to express your interest in colored contact lenses. Additionally, if you are aged 40 or above and experience difficulty in reading small print, which necessitates bifocals for near vision, your eye doctor might suggest multifocal lenses or a combination of multifocal and monovision lenses to address your unique vision requirements.
Contact Lens Fitting Process
When it comes to contact lenses, a one-size-fits-all approach does not apply. To ensure a proper fit, your eye doctor will conduct specific measurements. Ill-fitting contact lenses can cause discomfort, blurry vision, or even harm to the eye. Here are some of the measurements your eye doctor will take during a contact lens fitting:
Corneal Curvature: To ensure that the curvature of the contact lens aligns with your eye’s front surface (cornea), your doctor will measure its curvature. This measurement is performed using a keratometer, which helps determine the appropriate curve for your contact lenses. If you have astigmatism, where the cornea is not perfectly round, a “toric” lens designed for astigmatism may be recommended to optimize vision and fit. In some cases, your eye doctor may employ corneal topography, a detailed mapping of the corneal surface, for more precise measurements.
Pupil or Iris Size: Your eye doctor may measure the size of your pupil or iris (the colored portion of your eye). This measurement can be done using a biomicroscope or slit lamp instrument, or manually with a ruler or card. It holds particular significance when considering specialized lenses like Gas Permeable (GP) contacts.
By taking these measurements, your eye doctor ensures that the contact lenses are tailored to your eyes, promoting comfort, clear vision, and optimal lens fit.
Evaluation of Tear Film
Dry eyes are a common issue encountered with contact lens wear. When lenses lack sufficient hydration and moisture, they can cause discomfort, resulting in dry, irritated, and itchy eyes. This concern is particularly relevant for individuals with dry eye syndrome, as their tear film must adequately maintain the lenses’ moisture for comfortable vision.
To assess the tear film, your eye doctor may employ various methods. They may use a liquid dye on your eye and examine your tears with a slit lamp. Alternatively, a special strip of paper may be placed under your eyelid to absorb tears and evaluate the moisture level. If your tear film is insufficient, your eye doctor may recommend specific types of contact lenses that excel in maintaining moisture.
Contact Lens Trial and Prescription
Once a suitable lens option is determined for your eyes, your eye doctor may have you try on a pair of lenses to confirm fit and comfort before finalizing and ordering them. The doctor or an assistant will insert the lenses and allow you to wear them for 15-20 minutes. Afterward, the doctor will examine the fit, movement, and tearing of your eyes. If the lenses prove to be well-fitting, your eye doctor will proceed with ordering them. Additionally, you will receive instructions on lens care and hygiene, including proper insertion, removal, duration of wear, and storage if applicable.
It is common for your eye doctor to schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure the proper fit of your contact lenses and monitor your eyes’ adjustment. If you experience discomfort or dryness in your eyes, it is important to visit your eye doctor promptly. They may consider trying different lenses, alternative contact lens disinfecting solutions, or adjustments to your wearing schedule to address any issues.
Q: What are the latest trends in contact lenses?
A: The latest trend in contact lenses is the increasing popularity of “daily” disposable lenses. These lenses are inserted in the morning and discarded at night. This style of contact lens wear offers convenience and promotes eye health. With daily disposables, patients need to purchase fewer solutions and no longer have to keep track of how long they have been using their lenses. Additionally, daily disposables are known to cause fewer allergies and dryness while reducing the risk of infections. They are available in various prescriptions, including distance vision, astigmatism, and multifocal/bifocal prescriptions.
Q: Are contact lenses preferable for sports activities?
A: Yes, wearing contact lenses is often preferred for sports activities as they provide a wider field of view, helping to prevent avoidable injuries. While prescription sports goggles can be effective, they tend to fog up and move around during vigorous physical activities when sweat is involved. Therefore, I frequently recommend contact lenses to my active patients.