Q: I have astigmatism and wear bifocals. Is there any chance I could ever wear contacts?
Yes! We have more options now than ever before to help patients that want to wear contact lenses. During your exam the doctor will discuss pros and cons of various contact lens options. New products also come to market all the time.
Q: I suffer from Dry Eyes. Are there contact lenses that would be helpful for my condition?
Newer materials in the contact lens industry has made contact lens comfort better than ever. These materials are retaining moisture on the surface, as well as being very oxygen permeable.
Q: Is there ever a need for contact lenses after LASIK surgery?
It is best to think of LASIK surgery “resetting” your prescription. That means that your prescription can shift in the years following the procedure. Sometimes patients are deemed to be not a candidate for a repeat LASIK surgery. Those patients are often interested and can usually be successfully fit into contact lenses again.
Q: About 5 years ago, I was told I was not a good candidate for contacts. I have odd shaped eyes. Are there new options available today?
Some patients with astigmatism have been told that their “odd shaped eyes” make contact lens wear impossible. Contact lens manufacturers have expanded parameters for high astigmatism contact lenses into their newer and better materials. This has greatly increased the amount of patients that can be fit into contact lenses.
Q&A for Daily Disposable Contact Lenses
Q: Can you explain what the difference is between contact lenses that can be worn for a month vs. those that can are meant to be worn for a day, are they made of different materials?
Daily disposable contact lenses, which are also known as single use lenses, typically are thinner than monthly disposable lenses. They can be made thinner because they don’t have to hold up to the cleaning and disinfection processes that monthly lenses must go through. There can also be differences in modulus (stiffness of the lens) and edge profile (which plays a big role in comfort).
Q: Please clarify the difference between what we are speaking about, replacement frequency, vs. daily wear or extended wear contacts, which is an issue of wearing schedule.
Manufacturers make recommendations on wearing schedules based on the profiles of their various lenses, and they get approval from the FDA for those wearing schedules when they bring a new lens to market. Extended wear contact lenses are lenses that have been approved by the FDA to sleep in. These lenses must be very oxygen permeable to be approved for overnight use. Despite this approval, sleeping in contact lenses creates additional risk to the eyes, especially if the lenses are not taken out and cleaned regularly.
Q: Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?
The biggest advantages to single-use contact lenses are better eye health, increased convenience and optimal comfort. Nothing feels better or is more healthy for the eye than putting in a fresh, completely sterile contact lens on the eye each day. We see fewer eye health complications related to contact lenses with single use lenses than any other lens modality. Patient’s also love not having to deal with the hassle of cleaning and disinfecting their contact lenses.
Q: What do you find in particular, most exciting about single-use contact lenses, that brings you to recommend them to the patients in your care?
In addition to the benefits described above, the increased prescription ranges that are available in single use contact lenses are very exciting. We are able to most patients with myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia with single use contact lens options.
Q: Do you find that your patients express positive feedback about daily disposables, and what is it that they are most happy with?
Patients are usually most happy with the comfort of single use lenses, especially at the end of the day. Many patients get used to feeling like end of day comfort issues are to be expected. So to have single use contact lenses provide comfort all day long is a very exciting thing for patients.
Q: Will it be more expensive for me if I need to use a new pair of contacts every day?
There is a wide variety of single use contact lens options from the manufacturers. These lenses all vary in their material and their cost. We work with all our patients to find the right balance of the latest technology at an affordable cost. Many contact lens manufacturers offer rebates for annual supply purchases, which brings down the cost of the product. Also, not having to buy solutions for the care of contact lenses is a savings as well.
Q: Are there certain conditions of the eye, or any other reason why you would specifically recommend to a patient the use of single use contact lenses?
Patients with allergies are ideal candidates for single use contact lenses. Any allergen that binds to the contact lens during the day gets thrown away with the lens each day. Patients can also develop sensitivity to the disinfection chemicals and preservatives in the solutions used to care for reusable lenses. Single use lenses eliminate the exposure to these solution chemicals. Finally, patients with mild dry eyes may be able to tolerate single use lenses better than reusable lenses.
Q: Are daily disposable contacts available for patients that wear specialty contact lenses?
Patients who use specialty contact lenses typically have complex corneal conditions such as keratoconus where a standard single use lens would not work.
Q&A for Contact Lenses
Q: Who can wear contact lenses and at what age can you start?
During an eye exam, your eye doctor can talk to you about your candidacy for contact lenses. Your individual prescription, eye health, and vision demands need to be discussed in order to find out whether contact lenses would be right for you. There is no set age when contact lens wear can be started. We have fit children as young as 10 years old in our office. Parents often have the best insight as to whether their child is responsible enough to begin wearing contact lenses.
Q: Are glasses better for my eyes than contact lenses?
Some patients are better off wearing glasses instead of contact lenses. These patients often have conditions such as dry eye that limit the comfort and safety of wearing contact lenses. Other patients such as those that are highly myopic may find that contact lenses give them a more “natural” view of the world. These patients often have difficulty with glasses causing optical distortions due to their high prescription.
Q: Is wearing contacts better for sports activity?
Contact lenses are generally preferred for sports. Glasses can limit the peripheral vision of the athlete which can detract from performance. Glasses also are at risk of coming off the face during competition.
Q: Should I see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for my first pair of contacts?
Most ophthalmologists specialize in managing eye disease and performing eye surgery. While they may have some training with contact lenses, most don’t fit contact lenses themselves. Optometrists are more like primary care doctors but for the eye. Most optometrists fit patients into contact lenses every day, and that experience helps us maximize the chances for contact lens success.
Q: About five years ago, I was told I was not a good candidate for contacts. I have odd shaped eyes. Are there new options available today?
Most likely were told you had astigmatism that prevented contact lens wear. The available parameters in contact lenses that correct for astigmatism have increased greatly in recent years. Discuss your options with your eye doctor. There is likely a contact lens that could work for you.
Q: Do you carry contacts that can change my eye color?
Yes, we have contact lenses that can change eye color. The Air Optix Colors by Alcon is probably the best colored lenses on the market. During a contact lens exam, you can try on colored lens trials to see how your eyes look with them.
Q: Can I sleep with my contacts?
Generally, we do not recommend sleeping in contact lenses. Sleeping in contact lenses is associated with a much higher risk of complications, even with lenses that have FDA approval to sleep in. If you are determined to sleep in contact lenses, we discuss the best way to care for the lenses to minimize risk.
Q: I am worried about putting my finger in my eye. How does someone get used to this?
Almost every patient is apprehensive about learning to insert and remove contact lenses for the first time. We have technicians that will guide you through the process.
Q: I had an eye exam about 8 months ago. Do I need a separate exam in order to get contacts?
Yes. A contact lens exam would be needed to make sure you have the best prescription, and to discuss and fit you in the most appropriate contact lenses for your situation.
Q: Can I swim with contacts in?
It is not recommended to swim in contact lenses. When this situation cannot be avoided, it is best to dispose of the contact lenses immediately after swimming and replace them with a fresh pair.