What is a contact lens evaluation?
We start with a regular eye examination to check for disease, make sure your contacts are fitting well, and adjust your prescription. We take the data we get from the examination and design the right contact lenses for you. The technology changes fast, so we look at available improvements and upgrade your lenses where appropriate. We may use some trial lenses to test what works best for you. We also train you in the best techniques for using your contacts.
How often should I get a contact lens examination?
Every year. Contact lenses are a medical device. They need regular care to make sure they aren't damaging your eyes. We check the health of your eyes, including any early warning signs of cataracts or other dangerous eye problems. We make sure the contact prescription is still correct since the shape of your cornea changes thus changing your prescription over the course of a year. We look at upgrading your contact lens technology so you get the advantage of the latest developments. Think of the annual exam as part of the cost of wearing contacts. It's that important.
What's the best way to take care of my contact lenses?
When we fit you for the right contacts, we’ll guide you through your particular contacts’ best solution and care routine. Many people prefer the all-in-one solutions (such as Opti-Free Replenish and Complete) that clean, rinse, and disinfect. However, these solutions are not the best choice for everyone as some people develop allergies to them. We recommend hydrogen peroxide based solutions (ie Clear Care) in these cases.
Can I get my soft contact lenses mailed to my home?
Yes! It is best to buy a year’s supply at the time of your annual exam. If you buy a year's supply, you'll not only save more money but also save yourself the extra time of ordering them several times a year. We also mail you an annual exam reminder.
How often should I throw away my disposable contact lenses?
Contact lens manufacturers and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have tested each type of lens to find the best wearing time. That's why they recommend different times (daily, 2 weeks or every thirty days) for different contact brands/types. If you follow the manufacturer's suggestion, it will help you avoid many problems, such as Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC). GPC can make you unable to wear contacts.
A good rule is when your lenses become uncomfortable, your vision becomes blurry, or your eyes look “angry” to yourself or others, you need to change lenses.
Is there a true extended wear contact lens that will be healthy for my eyes?
No, it is best to take contacts out every night. While contacts today have been engineered to deliver much more oxygen to the eye, when contacts are worn overnight continuously they trap debris. This creates a cesspool-type eye environment, potentially damaging the eye’s health.
What are one day lenses?
One day lenses are contact lenses that you use for one day (not overnight) and then throw them away. They’re great for sports (in case you lose one) and traveling when you don't want to pack cleaning solution. They are often the most comfortable and healthy lenses you can buy.
What are “two week” lenses?
These lenses are good for two weeks then tossed out. Although these lenses are disposable, they still need to be taken out every night, rubbed with disinfectant, and stored in fresh solution.
What if I want to change my eye color?
There are tinted lenses that change the color of your eye slightly and opaque ones that change it entirely. The most effective ones have three different colors in a single lens to make the change look very realistic.
For Halloween, or just for fun, we can order lenses that sparkle, turn your pupils into cat-like slits, spirals or fire.
How old do you need to be to wear contacts?
You need to be old enough to practice good hygiene: wash your hands, brush your teeth, and floss daily. When a person is old enough to do that, he/she can probably handle contacts. We've found that most kids are ready by about age eleven. Parents tell us that they're amazed at how easily their children get used to contacts.
Can I switch from rigid gas permeable lenses to soft ones?
Generally, you can switch from hard to soft lenses, if your eyes are healthy. Sometimes, it takes a while because the rigid lenses have molded your corneas but if you're patient it usually works.
What is a rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens and when should it be used?
A rigid gas permeable lens is a hard contact lens that lets oxygen through to your eye. It's the modern version of the original contact lens, but much improved. It's often used to correct astigmatism, presbyopia, and other eye conditions.
Unlike soft contact lenses, it can take time to get accustomed to a hard contact lens. While they can be uncomfortable at first, they provide sharper vision and can last for many months.
I have an astigmatism. Are there contact lenses for that?
Astigmatism means that the front surface of your eye is shaped irregularly, more like an egg than a ball. It causes the light that falls on the retina to bend unevenly, so some of what you see is fuzzy or distorted.
Many companies now offer “toric” lenses that are shaped to correct the astigmatism. Hard lenses were once the only solution but now we can usually fit you with disposable, soft lenses.
I have presbyopia. Are there lenses for that?
As we get older, all of us get presbyopia. The lens inside our eyes loses its flexibility, making it harder to see close up. We usually have to get reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses.
When it comes to contact lenses, there are multifocal lenses that work well for some people and less well for others. If they don't work for you, we may suggest a monovision approach (see the next question), or we'll use contact lenses to take care of your distance vision and give you reading glasses or bifocals or some other combination of lenses for near vision. It takes creativity and some experimentation to find the best solution to presbyopia for each person.
What is monovision?
Monovision is when you use one eye for distance viewing and the other for seeing close up. It sounds crazy, but it works for most people. Your brain gets used to using one eye for each viewing task.
The concept of monovision has been around for a long time. Monocles are a kind of eyeglasses that use this idea. They have a lens for only one eye. Nowadays, we use monovision with contacts, cataract surgery and Lasik surgery. For a few people, monovision can cause headaches and nausea. Some people don't like the way it limits their depth perception. So while it works for most people, it's not for everyone.
Can I get progressive or bifocal contacts?
Bifocal and progressive contacts are available. Bifocal contacts have two prescription strengths in each lens, one for far vision and one for near vision. Progressive lenses have several strengths to make it easier for your eye to find the right one for the distance you're looking. Because these types of contacts have many quirks, they're probably best used in a modified monovision technique.
Can I wear contact lenses if my eyes are dry?
There are a lot of things we can do so you can wear contact lenses if you have dry eyes. First, there are medicated lubricating drops that are quite remarkable. Eating a diet with adequate Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids helps make sure your eyes have the proper tear film so they don't dry out. There are special lenses that are designed to be more comfortable for dry eyes. If necessary we can use 'punctal plugs' to dam up the tears, so they nourish and moisten your eyes. Finally, we also will prescribe Restasis after testing shows inadequate aqueous tears.
If I have contacts, do I need glasses?
Yes. If you don't have glasses, you'll eventually over-wear your contacts, which is very dangerous. Most patients benefit from wearing their glasses a little every day, in the morning and in the evening. Even people with extended wear contacts will have better ocular health if they can use their glasses in between contact use.
What is Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)?
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis, or GPC, is an allergy people develop to contacts. Although it can develop in non-contact wearers, GPC mostly comes from debris and deposits that form on your contact lenses. If you get GPC, you may become unable to wear contact lenses, so it pays to keep your lenses clean and discard disposable ones when it's time.