5 Common Questions About Contact Lenses
It's easy to get complacent about contact lenses and understandably so – sometimes you may forget you even have them in! However, as comfortable as they may be, it's important to keep a few things in mind when wearing them. Here are some answers to 5 common questions we usually comes across when it comes to contact lenses.
1. Can I use my glasses prescription to order my contact lenses?
The short answer is, no.
Spectacle lenses are generally made custom to your exact prescription specifications found at your eye examination - however contact lens prescriptions are more broad. This is especially the case with astigmatic prescriptions. Your optometrist should supply you with a signed and dated copy of both prescriptions after your eye examination (if you’re a contact lens wearer), and you will most likely notice that the numbers are different. If you'd like to know more about said numbers, check out our guide to reading your prescription,
Keep in mind that with your spectacles, the lens is roughly 11mm from your eye, however, a contact lens sits on top of your tears on your eye (this distance is called the back vertex distance or BVD). The fact that there is a difference in distance of the lens from your eye, and the fact that the contact lens is floating on your tears, rather than in a set of frames, means that the prescriptions in most cases will be different. The higher your prescription is, the more different your prescriptions may appear to be. If you've got your contact lens prescription sorted from your optometrist, you can easily purchase your lenses with us.
2. How long does it take to get used to wearing contact lenses?
Soft contact lenses, especially daily disposables, are super thin, jelly like and in theory should feel comfortable on your eyes for extended periods of time. Your cornea (the membrane that your contact lens sits on) has far more nerve endings than your fingertips. This makes it super sensitive, and you will be aware of the contact lens when you first start wearing it, but it should never feel uncomfortable, and after 10 minutes or so, you should hardly know they’re there. This all depends however, on how hydrated you are, how balanced your diet is, the air quality around you and the type of tasks you do in your day. For example, if you don’t drink enough water, or have enough omega in your diet, if you’re in an air conditioned environment, or spend all day at the computer - it’s likely that your eyes will be dry, and your contact lenses will amplify this effect.
If you spend your work day in front of a computer, consider:
- wearing your glasses during the day, and keep your contact lenses for the evening and weekend use
- invest in a humidifier to stop the air around you being too dry & sucking the moisture from your contact lenses
- drink a minimum of 2.5 litres of water a day
- boost your omega intake with crushed or soaked flaxseeds
3. Do I need to worry about the risk of infection with contact lenses?
Absolutely. Being a contact lens wearer requires you to take extra care with hygiene and to follow the aftercare instructions your optometrist gives you carefully. Your eyes are a warm, moist surface, which provide the perfect environment for an infection to develop. Organisms can also live happily and multiply within the material of your contact lenses and lens cases, so it’s most important you replace these appropriately.
4. Is it bad to sleep with my contact lenses still in?
This has probably happened to most contact lens wearers for numerous reasons so don't feel guilty about it, but yes, this is bad. Very bad. As mentioned earlier, contact lenses sit on top of a clear membrane called the cornea, which needs oxygen directly through the air since there are no blood vessels in it. When contact lenses are on top of the cornea, there is a reduction in oxygen it receives, and even more so when our eyes are closed and sleeping. Since the cornea is starved of oxygen, an infection could develop or it will start to grow blood vessels in it. 10-minute naps aren't a big problem but also not ideal.
5. Do I still need to have glasses if I wear contact lenses?
Your eyes were not designed to have a slice of plastic covering the front of them all day, every day. Contact lenses are phenomenal, liberating and useful, but they cause our eyes problems if we wear them too much. At the times our eyes will naturally be more dry, your eyes will be more comfortable, and your vision will be clearer if you wear your glasses when:
- using the computer/screen/reading all day
- if you’re watching TV in the evenings
Try to give yourself (at the very least), one full day off from contact lenses per week to allow your corneas to re-oxygenate and your tears to normalise. Additionally, if you’re travelling, unwell, or have allergies, your eyes will be more comfortable and healthier when you wear your glasses rather than contact lenses.
What if I have a problem with my contact lenses?
You can always book a remote consultation with one of our optometrists who can explore the issue further with you, and give you advice on next steps; whether you need to implement a lifestyle change or book in for an in person eye examination.