Contact Lens Benefits
Contact lenses allow a natural field of view and naturally move with your eye. You have no frames to obstruct your vision and greatly reduce distortions.
Unlike glasses, they do not fog up or get splattered by mud or rain.
Contact lenses are very good for sports and other physical activities where glasses are no practical.
You look can look more natural in contact lenses
Compared to eyeglasses, they may offer better, more natural sight.
Important Facts About Contact Lenses
Compared with glasses, contact lenses require a longer initial examination and more follow-up visits to maintain eye health. Lens care also requires more time.
If you are going to wear your lenses successfully, you will have to clean and store them properly, adhere to lens-wearing schedules and make appointments for follow-up care.
If you are wearing disposable or planned replacement lenses, you will have to carefully follow the schedule for throwing away used lenses.
If you want to wear contact lenses to correct your eyesight, you must start by consulting an optometrist. Only registered optometrists, can prescribe contact lenses.
The eye examination and prescription for contact lenses are different, and all contact lenses are not the same. Selection of the right lens for your eye is very important. Accurate measurement and assessment is vital if you are going to be comfortable and have the best vision.
Types of Contact Lenses
Soft Disposable Contact Lenses
These are the most common contact lenses used in Australia. The lenses are made of soft, flexible plastic often called silicon hydrogel. Disposable contact lenses are available to suit most prescriptions and are generally very comfortable with no or minimal adaptation required.
Disposable contact lenses are replaced at these intervals, usually daily. You use a new pair of lenses every time you wear the contacts. These lenses require no cleaning or maintenance due to their frequent replacement, and are a very cost-effective and healthy way to go.
Regular Soft Contact Lenses
These lenses are soft hydrogel lenses that are typically replaced every 12 to 18 months. After each wear they are cleaned and stored for the next wear. As the range of prescriptions available in soft disposable contact lenses has expanded, conventional soft lenses are used less and less as soft disposable contact lenses generally offer eye health, comfort and convenience benefits compared to conventional soft lenses. However, for certain people and prescriptions, conventional soft contact lenses may still be recommended.
Extended Wear Contact Lenses
There have been many advances in contact lens design in recent years. Some of the new Silicon hydrogel lenses may be suitable for you to sleep in, and you don;t need to remove them for up to 30 days. This allows greater flexibility and lifestyle benefits. It is particularly important that if you wish to sleep in contact lenses this is discussed with your optometrist and that the health of your eyes is regularly checked
Does it Matter Where I Get My Lenses?
Contact lenses are medical devices which require the expertise and fitting of an optometrist experienced in this area of practice.(1)
Contact lenses should be prescribed by a licensed practitioner. Hygiene and proper care of the lenses is very important to avoid infections and other problems.(2)
Studies have shown that patients who purchase their lenses on the internet have a higher risk of contact lens-related complications like eye infections.(2,3).
Additionally, contact lenses ordered online or from another third party generally cannot be returned to the prescribing doctor unless purchased through the prescribing doctor's office. If you have problems with the contact lenses you may be responsible for the problems yourself.
You generally cannot use your spectacle prescription for purchasing contact lenses.
Most optometrists will take the time to provide the important education about how to safely use contact lenses, and how to insert and remove them. If you buy you lenses from somewhere else, this training may not be available or you may be charged for the service.
Steinemann, Thomas L., et al. "Over-the-counter decorative contact lenses: cosmetic or medical devices? A case series." Eye & Contact Lens 31.5 (2005): 194-200.
Stapleton, Fiona, et al. "The incidence of contact lens–related microbial keratitis in Australia." Ophthalmology 115.10 (2008): 1655-1662.
Fogel, Joshua, and Chaya Zidile. "Contact lenses purchased over the Internet place individuals potentially at risk for harmful eye care practices." Optometry-Journal of the American Optometric Association 79.1 (2008): 23-35.
Safety Information About Contact Lenses
The Centres for Disease Control USA has some very handy and comprehensive information about caring for your eyes and contact lenses. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with this information.
If you are wearing contact lenses and you experience any discomfort or have any concerns make an appointment with your optometrist as soon as possible.