Contact Lenses


A Guide to Contact Lenses

When it comes to buying contact lenses it’s essential that you make the right choice, not only so that your lenses are comfortable and convenient, but also so that they don’t end up damaging your eyes. Our guide to contact lenses will tell you everything you need to know so you can make an informed choice and pick the perfect contact lenses for you.

First steps

Before you decide if contact lenses are for you it’s important to discuss your options with your optician. Your optician is likely to ask you questions about your lifestyle and when you want to wear your lenses to work out which type would be best for you.

Soft lenses

Soft lenses conform to your eye shape and are made of a thin, gel like substance. If you’re very active or take part in a lot of sport then soft contact lenses can be a good choice because they stay in place well. Soft lenses can be used to correct a number of vision problems, including astigmatism, hyperopia and myopia. You can buy contact lenses for extended wear, daily wear and single use. The following table illustrates the pros and cons of each:

About Pros Cons
Extended wear They can be worn during the day and at night for a certain number of weeks Allow enough oxygen to reach your cornea so the lenses can be worn while you sleep Continuous wear can cause microorganisms to build up and increase the risk of an eye infection
Daily wear These lenses are worn daily and can be used for a few weeks, dependent on the maker Cheaper than single use lenses Need to be cleaned daily and regularly replaced to avoid protein building up in the eye
Single use This type of contact lens is designed to be used once only. You wear a new pair each morning and throw them away when you go to sleep Very convenient because they don’t need to be cleaned and can be used when needed Can be more expensive than soft lenses designed to be worn more than once

Hard contact lenses

RGP or rigid glass permeable lenses are less flexible and considerably smaller than soft lenses. This can make them less comfortable to wear, particularly when you first try them. This type of lens does allow oxygen to reach the cornea which can lessen the risk of irritation or infection. In some cases hard lenses can correct vision problems more effectively than softer lenses.

The pros and cons of hard contact lenses: Pros
  • This type of lens is hardwearing and easy to look after. If you take care of your lenses they could last for up to three years provided that your prescription stays the same.
  • Hard lenses can be less comfortable and may take more time to adjust to when you start wearing them. If you stop wearing them for a week or more then it will also take longer for your eyes to adjust when you put them in again. They’re also more likely to move from the correct position in your eye than soft lenses.

Buying contact lenses online

  • If you’re planning to buy contact lenses online then it’s essential that you choose lenses that match your prescription or you could end up causing serious damage to your eyes.
  • Look for a supplier that offers a refund policy so you can get your money back if the lenses aren’t right for you.
  • Expect to pay a shipping cost to have your lenses delivered, you can reduce the cost of shipping by buying in bulk.
  • Make sure you look for the VeriSign logo if you’re making an online purchase with a debit or credit card to guarantee that your payment is made securely and your details will not be passed to a third party. Make sure that the company you buy from have a contact number on their site so that you can speak to them face to face if necessary.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true it most probably is. If you’re worried whether a company you’re considering is legitimate then look for reviews and testimonials about them online. If you’re in any doubt then don’t make a purchase.

Cleaning and maintenance

If you want your lenses to work as well as possible then it’s essential to follow the instructions on how to wear them and how to clean and maintain them. When budgeting for your lenses take into account the cost of cleaning fluid if you pick more permanent ones or buying replacements if you choose disposable lenses.

Once you have your contact lenses it’s important to visit your optician regularly for a check up to make sure that your prescription doesn’t need changing.

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