Do you switch between glasses and contact lenses? A lot of people do! Advances in modern technology and the wide range of available products mean that almost everyone today can wear contact lenses. Eye care professionals in fact increasingly recommend contact lenses because they’re so comfortable. In this article, we’ll cover the various options and criteria your eye care professional evaluates when prescribing lenses.
Your optometrist and optician can determine the option best suited to your needs. Your corrective factor, eye physiology (the curve of your cornea, for example) and your environment and lifestyle are all factors that your optometrist or optician must consider when recommending lenses.
1. Your environment and lifestyle
The type of lenses prescribed often depends on a patient’s habits or specific circumstances. For example, an optometrist will usually recommend daily disposable soft lenses for a kid who plays hockey and finds glasses inconvenient. Daily disposable lenses are ideal for avoiding bacterial buildup, which can lead to infections, because they require less handling. So, don’t hesitate to talk to your optometrist about your lifestyle habits as it could help determine the option best suited to you.
2. Disposal frequency
Soft lenses are made of hydrogel, a substance that helps reduce ocular dryness and increases lens comfort. However, the material is more porous, which can increase the risk of eye irritations and infections when the lens is not replaced regularly. This is why lenses should not be worn more than 12 hours at a stretch.
- Daily disposable lenses: Daily disposable lenses or “daily” lenses are increasingly popular. According to Dr. Morggan Debaets, optometrist at the Opto-Réseau clinics in Saint Felicien, Metabetchouan, Roberval and Dolbeau, their main advantage is the low risk of infection since you wear a new lens every day. There’s also less maintenance involved since they’re disposable. Comfort, however, is still the biggest factor. Since they’re replaced every day, the lens is always “fresh” and thus always comfortable to wear.
- Monthly or bi-weekly disposables: Soft lenses also have less frequent disposable options. The important thing is to respect the length of use recommended by your eye care professional, because despite regular care, lenses can accumulate protein and lipid deposits, which may cause discomfort and promote bacteria.
Some people have to wear rigid lenses for specific reasons, diagnosed during an eye exam. This is usually the case for people who suffer from dry eyes or have a strong prescription. These types of lenses can be worn between 12 and 18 months and require regular but simple care. These lenses are gas permeable, allowing more oxygen to reach the eye.
Optometrist Dr. Debaets adds that lenses are an option for the majority of patients, even those with irregular eye conditions. For instance, therapeutic scleral lenses are specially designed for patients with a deformed cornea. No matter your eye condition, don’t hesitate to ask for more information on contact lenses. There could be various corrective options available to you based on your prescription and lifestyle.
3. The type of correction needed
Contact lenses come in different shapes depending on the eye condition they’re designed to treat.
- Are you near- or far-sighted? Your optometrist will probably recommend spherical lenses.
- Do you have astigmatism? Astigmatism is corrected with a toric lens, specially designed for corneas that are more oval in shape.
- Are you presbyopic? Multifocal contact lenses offer different corrective strengths at different distances.
Some people have several vision issues and other conditions. The solutions discussed here can vary with each individual case. Your eye care professional will be better able to recommend the most appropriate solutions for you.