LIFESTYLE: A beginner's guide to contact lenses

Contact lenses are a popular way of correcting vision problems, but just how much do you know about these seemingly invisible pieces of eyewear? This brief guide takes you through the basics.
The benefits

Here are some of the many reasons you may want to swap your spectacles for contacts:
  • Vision correction - they are a safe, comfortable and effective way to correct your eyesight
  • Style - unlike glasses, contact lenses don’t interfere with your look
  • Convenience - they’re easy to use and can be worn in many different environments
  • Sports and leisure - fancy a game of tennis or a spot of mountaineering? They won’t get in your way
  • Suitability - they are suitable for people of all ages
  • Flexibility - you don’t have to give up your glasses altogether - you can always keep them for going out or special occasions
Getting a prescription

According to contact lens specialist Feel Good Contacts, you cannot get contacts using a glasses prescription. Rather you will need to have an eye test and contact lens consultation with a qualified optician who will talk you through your options and how to use and care for your contacts.
The options

There are contacts available to suit most eye conditions and lifestyles. Here are some of the most popular options.
Daily disposables
  • Designed to be worn for one day only
  • Used to correct short-sightedness and long-sightedness
  • Great because you don’t need to use solutions and you get a fresh, unclouded lens every day
  • Ideal for part-time contact wearers
  • Designed to be worn on either a monthly or two-weekly basis
  • Used to correct short-sightedness and long-sightedness
  • Great because you don’t have to replace your lenses every day. You can wear the same pair of lenses over an extended period of time and you can even sleep in some
  • Ideal for contact lens wearers looking for value for money
You can also get multifocal, bifocal and astigmatic contacts. Multifocals and bifocals are designed to treat people with presbyopia - a condition that makes it hard to adjust focus from far to near objects. Astigmatic lenses treat astigmatism - a condition in which the cornea or lens of the eye isn’t perfectly curved, resulting in blurred vision.

If you want to change your look, you can also get coloured or fashion lenses.
How to use them

For your eye health and comfort, it’s important to read the instructions that come with your contacts carefully.

Putting them in

  • Remove the lens from the packaging with clean, dry hands
  • Check the lens - it should be a semicircular in shape and free from tears
  • Rinse the lens with solution to clean it
  • Place it on the tip of your index finger
  • Hold your upper eyelid lashes against your brow with the your other index finger
  • Hold down your lower lid with your thumb of the same hand
  • Look up and carefully place the lens over the lower part of your eye
  • Allow your eyes to close gently and blink several times to position the lens
  • Repeat procedure with other eye
Taking them out

  • With clean, dry hands, hold down your lower eyelid while looking up
  • With your index finger, touch the lower edge of the lens
  • Carefully move the lens down to the white of your eye
  • Gently grasp the lens between your index finger and thumb and remove it
  • Repeat procedure with other eye

If you think these easy-to-use glasses alternatives may be for you, why not book yourself a consultation? And if you have any opinions, tips or tricks on contacts, why not leave a comment below?

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