Can anyone wear contact lenses?
I think one of the most frequently asked questions I am asked in my daily practice is,
“Can I wear contact lenses?”
The short answer is, yes, you can.
It might not be the first lens you thought of, your friend may have just bought some daily disposable lenses, but that might not be the best option for you.
Which contact lenses can I wear?
There are many factors to consider:
How often would you want to wear your lenses?
Do you want to sleep in your lenses?
What is your budget?
Are your lenses for a specific sport?
Do you have astigmatism?
Do you need multifocal lenses?
There are so many questions initially, but answering these quickly narrows the possibilities for you and points you in the right direction. Whatever you choose, there will be a contact lens suitable for you.
For example, there are daily disposable lenses. These offer convenience, hassle-free wear, with no cleaning, but a reusable soft lens may be easier on the pocket.
Then there are gas-permeable contact lenses. These offer excellent vision with long-term eye-health benefits. Gas-permeable contact lenses really step-up to the mark where standard soft lenses don’t quite fit the bill, but I find they enjoy such bad press. Patients are under the impression that they are uncomfortable. One lady asked me if that was the lens that “felt like glass in your eye.”
Let me assure you that gas-permeable lenses are as comfortable, if not more comfortable in some instances, than soft lenses. Gas-permeable lenses are excellent if your eye is on the small side or you have a more complicated spectacle prescription. They are also the lens of choice if dealing with controlling short-sightedness.
Handling lenses is another area where people think they may not be suitable. Yes, I think it’s correct to be wary of putting something on your eye, whatever that might be, but with correct instruction, putting a contact lens on your eye will be a skill you will soon acquire.
If at first, you don’t succeed…
Let’s be honest, not everybody does it first try but if you relax and take it easy you do get there.
It’s not uncommon for people to take it slow and master the technique little by little over a couple of visits. If it’s time to understand what you are doing and the confidence to do it is what you need, then that is our job to give you that. If you are one of the many that are a whizz first time, then that’s OK too.
Age is not a limiting factor either. I don’t mind if you start young. As long as you understand, and are good at washing your hands, we can go ahead and fit contact lenses. I don’t mind either if you start a bit (OR A LOT) older. Again, as long as you understand and are good at washing your hands we can go ahead and fit contact lenses.
The multifocal lenses that are now available give excellent vision at all distances and design and lens materials make them extremely comfortable. We hear a lot about lifestyle choices these days. whether or not you should wear contact lenses is another one. As always, your nearest optometrist will be best suited to advise on the solution that’s right for you.