Keys to Wearing Contact Lenses
There are a number of keys to wearing contact lenses successfully:
Ask yourself why you want to wear contact lenses. Is it to look better, to see better, or to reduce your dependence upon glasses? Whatever the reason, contact lens patients have to be motivated and have realistic expectations. Finding the ideal contact lens for you may take several tries and adjustments. Lenses selected and worn in the office for 30 minutes may feel different after several full days of wear. The actual shape of your cornea can change after wearing them for a while. Blink patterns and tear film can change as patients adapt to wearing contacts. If you understand there is always a bit of trial and error to obtain the best fit, chances are you will be a successful contact lens wearer.
#2 Refractive Error
The type of refractive error you have can influence your chances for success. Some refractive errors can be corrected with standard lenses. More complex prescriptions may require more complex or specialty contact lenses. Your initial exam will determine if your refractive error is simple or complex and where it is located (cornea or lens inside the eye). Corneal dystrophies, corneal transplant, and post refractive surgery patients are always more complex but we can usually obtain success with one of the many new technology contact lenses available at our offices.
The way patients comply with recommended handling, cleaning, storage, replacement and the prescribed wearing schedule has a significant influence on success. Lenses must be clean to perform their best and eyes are more tolerant to a consistent wearing schedule.
#4 Hygiene & Environment
Hygiene and environment also have an influence on success. Lid hygiene can affect the chemistry and production of tears necessary for hydration and comfort. Lid conditions such as blepharitis, meibomitis, or other lid abnormalities, can affect the secretion of the oil glands that keep our tears from evaporating too quickly. Contact lenses become soiled more quickly if the eyes are dry. Patients who have dry eye can be treated prior to contact lens fitting to improve their chances for success.
As we age, our eyes have a tendency to become drier and many previously successful contact lens wears may lose their compatibility with contact lenses. Many of our patients regain their success with contacts by improving their “dry eye” symptoms with therapy. Many contact lens failures, however, are able to experience success with refractive or intraocular lens replacement surgery. We can evaluate and recommend your best option if your contacts can no longer be tolerated.
Physical fit of the contact lens and its alignment and movement when blinking is important in providing tear exchange under the contact. This provides oxygen to the cornea for normal metabolism and eliminates debris and by-products. There are many different manufacturers of contact lenses with many different designs, materials and fitting characteristics. At Slade & Baker Vision, we have state-of-the-art equipment in order to measure the dimensions of your cornea and allow us to select the very best fit for you.