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Top 5 questions about contact lenses answered

If you’ve never worn contact lenses before, the thought of working out which ones to buy, and how, can be daunting. In the last year, our Clinical Team have received hundreds of questions on how to find and buy the right lenses. We think the process should be simple, so we’ve provided answers to five of the most commonly asked questions.

Top 5 questions about contact lenses

Image of paper contact lens prescription

1. I currently wear glasses. Do I need a different prescription for contacts?

If you already wear glasses, you’ll need a separate prescription for contact lenses. Contact lenses have extra measurements such as diameter and base curve, for the perfect fit. Everyone’s eyes are unique, so a contact lens prescription ensures you have lenses which are comfortable and fit well.

The key details you’ll find on your contact lens prescription are:

  • The brand of the lenses you’ve been fitted with
  • Details of the base curve which measures the curve of the lens to your eye (in mm)
  • The diameter (width) of your lens (in mm)
  • The strength of your prescription, listed as ‘power/sphere’ (in diopters)

Astigmatic wearers will need extra measurements of cylinder and axis. Presbyopic wearers will need the extra measurements of addition and dominant. These will be provided by your optician.

Contact lens boxes

2. What are the different types of contact lenses?

When it comes to contacts, there are plenty of different types to suit your individual needs. Here are the most common types of lenses:

  • Daily disposables – These lenses are convenient and simple to use, as you only wear them once.
  • Monthly disposables: These are great for regular lens wearers. Depending on your schedule, they may work out cheaper than daily contact lenses, but you’ll need to take good care of them.
  • Extended wear: For those who wish to wear lenses continuously or overnight. Be sure to check with your optician to see if these are suitable for you.
  • Toric: These lenses are designed to correct vision for those suffering from astigmatism. As the strength varies from person to person, this is strictly a prescription-only lens. They’re available as daily disposables, monthly and other lens types.
  • Multifocal: Multifocal lenses are designed for people with presbyopia, a condition brought on by ageing. They’re available as daily disposables, monthly and other lens types.
  • Coloured: Ideal for the fashion conscious, these lenses allow you to change your eye appearance and colour. Coloured lenses need fitting just like regular contact lenses and are available as daily and monthly disposables.

Remember, only an optician who has examined your eyes can prescribe contact lenses for you.

Contact lens blister

3. Can I switch from daily to monthly lenses?

Even if the contacts are of the same brand, you’ll need a new fitting before switching between types of lenses. Ask your optician about trialling a new type of contact lens.

It’s quite common for a friend or a family member to recommend the lenses they wear, because they find them comfortable. But remember, a lens which is suitable for one person may not be suitable for another.

Single contact lens

4. Can I extend the life of or reuse my contact lenses?

While there are monthly contact lenses available, daily contact lenses cannot be reused, and doing so can put you at risk of infection. Once removed, you must discard daily disposable lenses and never use them again.

You can wear monthly lenses, dependent on your optician’s advice. Once opened, monthly lenses are only safe for 30 continuous days. Similarly, you can wear lenses suitable for extended wear continuously for up 6 nights. However, you must replace them with fresh new lenses after the recommended wear period is over.

Contact lens case

5. How do I look after my contact lenses?

Taking good care of your contact lenses is essential, particularly if you wear monthly lenses. Not doing so can put you at risk of infection: hygiene is crucial. Always wash and dry your hands before handling your contacts to avoid any dirt or bacteria from entering your eyes.

As a rule, always follow the care guidelines provided by your optician. But there are a few things to keep in mind for monthly and extended-wear lenses:

  • At the end of each day, carefully remove your lenses one by one and clean them with a cleaning solution recommended by your optician.
  • Rub the lens on the palm of your hand.
  • Rinse the lens again to remove any dirt or bacteria.
  • Fill the case with fresh cleaning solution (this is not the time to recycle)
  • Be aware that disinfection time varies from lens to lens. You’ll find the details on the packet.
  • If you’re wearing hard lenses or hydrogen peroxide solution lenses, this set of instructions will differ. Get in touch with your optician to check.