Over three million people in the UK enjoy the numerous benefits contact lenses have to offer. As well as the obvious cosmetic advantages, many people see better with their contact lenses than they do with their spectacles as they provide a more natural form of vision correction. There are also many practical advantages to contact lens wearers for sports and recreational use.
Contact lenses are constantly improving so even if contact lenses have not worked for you in the past, it is worth trying again. Nowadays almost all those who need vision correction are able to wear contact lenses.
So you have decided to opt for the freedom of contact lens – what next? Following an eye examination a contact lens consultation is required.
During the consultation we will decide the best type of lenses to suit your needs. Detailed examinations of the front surface of the eye and measurements to achieve the right fitting lenses will be undertaken. Trial contact lenses are then fitted and assessed on your eyes. We will teach you how to insert and remove the lenses safely and in most cases you will be given trial lenses to take away with you.
Following the initial consultation, an after-care appointment is required to ensure the lenses suit you and your eyes remain healthy. Check-ups at regular intervals are essential to ensure the lenses are doing their job and your eyes are happy. This will be determined by the Optometrist and at time intervals will depend on your own individual requirements.
Daily disposable lenses are ideal for many wearers. There is no cleaning involved – just wear them once then throw them away. They are perfect whether you want to wear them every day, weekends only, for sport or for the occasional evening out. Disposable lenses are now available to correct for moderate levels of astigmatism.
Silicone Hydrogel lenses are a recent breakthrough in soft contact lens wear and are revolutionising the way soft contact lenses are worn. They are healthier than conventional soft lenses because they allow up to six times more oxygen to pass through.
If you have had intolerance to contact lenses due to dry eyes then silicone hydrogel lenses could be the answer. Oxygen is carried through the lens by silicone and not water, which means they do not dry out as much as conventional contact lenses. These lenses are also great for people who work in air conditioned environments or those who work on a VDU. And because of the amount of oxygen penetrating the lens, it is the ideal for those people who have long wearing times.
They are available as twice weekly and monthly lenses and some even allow for extended wear (which allow you to sleep in the lenses). Toric forms are also available to correct for astigmatism.
Around the age of 40 the eye muscles can not accommodate for near vision. Many contact lens wearers feel they need to either give up contact lens wear altogether, or are forced to wear reading glasses over the top of their distance contact lenses. For those who wear contact lenses for the freedom of not having to wear glasses, this can be a nuisance.
However varifocal contact lenses are available and come in both daily and monthly forms.
RGP lenses are rigid, but the plastics they are made from are more flexible than conventional hard lenses. Modern RGP lenses allow more oxygen to pass through the eye. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘Oxygen Permeable’ lenses.
Although soft lenses are fitted more regularly, gas permeable lenses are excellent for certain prescriptions:
- Keratoconus / high astigmatism
- Keratoconus and people with complex prescriptions who require sharper vision