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Need Contact Lenses?

FAQs for Prospective Contact Lens Wearers

Are you considering making the switch from eyeglasses to contact lenses, but still have questions on your mind? We’ve answered a few of the most common questions below.

Do I need a contact lens exam?

 Yes. Contact lenses can cause discomfort and even damage the overall health of your eyes if they are not properly fitted. Contact lens exams ensure that your lens prescription correctly fits your eyes and your vision needs. Even seasoned contact lens wearers should have annual exams to make sure that their eyes show no signs of ill effects from the lenses.

Can I use my glasses prescription for contacts?

Don’t use an eyeglass prescription in place of a contact lens prescription. An eyeglass prescription differs from a contact lens prescription because it doesn’t include the diameter and base curve components necessary for a well-fitting lens. Whether you are an experienced or first-time contact lens wearer, schedule a contact lens exam with your eye doctor to evaluate your personal vision needs.

Can I wear contact lenses when I sleep?

It depends on whether your lenses have been approved for sleep. Your eye doctor is the only one that can determine if overnight wear is the right option for you. For example, Biofinity contact lenses have been approved for up to 6 nights/7 days of extended wear.If so, he/she can offer you information on proper overnight use and replacement schedules. If your lenses aren’t designed to be slept in, removing them is the safest practice because your risk for a nasty eye infection increases when you fall asleep in them.

Can I go swimming with my contact lenses in? What about showering?

No. Any type of water contains microbes, bacteria, and fungi that can contaminate your lenses and lead to corneal infections, painful irritation, and even ulcers on your eye.  Skip the contacts when swimming and talk to your eye doctor about available swim goggles instead.

 And just like swimming with contacts is a bad idea, so is wearing them in the shower. The water can cause your eyes to feel dry and your contact lenses to swell. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a blast of water to the face could flush your contacts out of your eyes and right down the drain. Instead, store your contacts in lens solution while your shower so they can get a bath of their own.

Can I wear contacts if I wear bifocal reading glasses?

 Yes, you can wear “multifocal” contact lenses. Multifocal contacts are designed for people with presbyopia, an age-related condition that occurs when the eye’s natural lens stiffens and no longer focuses well on close objects. With multifocal lenses, you’ll be able to see both close-up and far away. Even astigmatism can be corrected with multifocal contacts.

Can I wear contacts if I have astigmatism?

Yes! There are several astigmatism contact lenses to choose from. Toric contacts are one option for correcting astigmatism. Toric lenses are specially designed soft lenses which correct the refractive (light bending) error that irregularly shaped corneas cause. . A good choice for this kind of lens a toric lens design that ensures optimal visual acuity, fit, and comfort.

 Another option for astigmatism contact lenses are rigid gas permeable contact lenses (also called RGP or GP contact lenses). These lenses retain their spherical shape on the eye and in effect replaces the misshapen cornea as the refracting surface of the eye.

 A third option of contacts are hybrid lenses (a.k.a. multifocal). Multifocals have the qualities of RGP contact lenses combined with the comfort of soft lenses. Talk to your eye doctor about which astigmatism contact lenses she/he recommends for your eyes.

Can I use eye drops?

It’s important to know which eye drops are safe to use while wearing contact lenses. Red-eye reducer eye drops can cause deposits to form on your contacts which can make your eyes redder over time. Eye drops for allergies contain ingredients that can interact with your contact lenses. And eye drops for dry eyes may contain oils which can permanently cloud your lenses.
Play it safe and take your drops and your questions to your eye doctor who can help you determine which eye drops are safe to use.

Do I need to replace my contacts on a routine schedule even if they feel comfortable?

Absolutely. Contact lenses are made of plastic, and plastic has pores that help your eyes “breathe”. Over time these pores can become clogged by dust, dirt, and bacteria which makes the lenses less breathable as less oxygen gets through to your eyes. Less oxygen can lead to a bacterial ulcer on the eye which not only is painful, but can also leave your eyes scarred and leave you with some loss of vision.   Over wearing also cause painless swelling of the corneal which promotes neovascular blood vessel growth into the cornea.   

 Only a doctor using a biomicroscope can detect these painless changes that later can result in a corneal ulcer.   So if you’re thinking of wearing your contact lenses longer than they should be worn, just remember those painful, vision impairing eye ulcers. Ouch!

 If contact lenses sound like a good idea to you, the first thing you need is a prescription from an eye doctor.