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Most people who need to wear glasses can wear contact lenses.
There are two main types of contact lenses:
• soft lenses
• rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP lenses)
Most contact lenses fitted in the UK are soft lenses. They are available as single use daily, fortnightly and monthly disposable lenses, and more specialist lenses that are designed to last for longer.
RGP lenses last longer than soft lenses and are usually replaced every one to two years. This means that they may be cheaper in the long term than disposable soft lenses. Like a fitted leather shoe, RGP lenses can take a little more getting used to than soft lenses, and so are not suitable if you only want to wear lenses occasionally.
If you wear any reusable lens, you will need to use special solutions to clean and disinfect them so that they are safe to put back into your eyes. You do not need to clean or disinfect single use daily disposable lenses – you just throw them away after use.
The type of lens that is best for you will depend upon several factors, for example do you want to wear them just for certain activities such as sport, or do you want to wear them most of the time, instead of glasses?
Yes. There are many different types of toric contact lenses to correct astigmatism and, unless you have a lot of astigmatism, it is likely that your optometrist will be able to find a lens that suits you.
We do not recommend swimming in contact lenses. This is because there is an organism that lives in water (Acanthamoeba) than can cause a very serious infection if it gets in your eye. If you need glasses and want to see clearly while you are swimming we recommend prescription swimming goggles as a safer alternative. These need not be expensive.
When you reach your forties it is common to find that you need a different prescription for reading than you need for distance. This is called presbyopia. This may mean that you need two pairs of glasses, or you need bifocal or varifocal glasses.
There are three main options to correct presbyopia with contact lenses.
1. You may choose to have contact lenses to correct your distance vision, and wear reading glasses over the top when you need them.
2. You may have bifocal or varifocal contact lenses.
3. You may wear lenses to have one eye corrected to see in the distance and one eye corrected for near vision. This is called monovision.
Each of the different options has advantages and disadvantages and your optometrist will help you decide which is best for you.
Most people are able to put their lenses in and take them out without any problems, although it can take some practice. It is important to have back-up glasses even if you wear contact lenses every day. If you need to wear glasses for reading, you may find you need to put your glasses on to handle your contact lenses (for example, so you can see clearly when cleaning them). Your contact lens practitioner will make sure that you are able to handle the lenses safely before you take them home.
Soft contact lenses are available which change the colour of your eyes. You can get these either with a prescription in them to correct your vision, or without.
It is important to have regular check-ups to make sure that your contact lenses are still suitable for you, and are not damaging your eyes. This should be at least every 12 months, but may be more often if recommended by your practitioner.
For any more information please contact us