EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Almost everyone can wear contact lenses. Your optician will be able to answer all your questions and help you choose the ones that suit you best. Contact lenses can help correct your vision or enhance the beauty of your eyes - with or without vision correction.
It's normal to feel nervous at first, but with practice it will become an easy part of your routine. Your optician will be able to answer any questions you have and show you how to handle your contact lenses. Have a look at our simple steps for applying and removing contact lenses.
It isn't difficult. Daily disposable contact lenses can simply be applied in the morning then removed at the end of the day and thrown away. Monthly replacement contact lenses need to be cleaned after wearing with a simple contact lens cleaning solution that will be advised by your optician. To find out more, read the contact lens care section or ask your optician for their advice.
Yes, your contact lenses should be comfortable. If you are experiencing discomfort please speak to your optician for advice.
Short-sightedness or myopia, is very common in people of all ages. It often first becomes noticeable in school-age children and tends to advance in the teens, as the eye continues to grow during this time. The condition generally stabilises in adulthood
Common signs and symptoms of short-sightedness include:
- Objects far away, like a whiteboard or road signs, appear blurry
- Needing to squint to see clearly
- Difficulty seeing whilst driving, especially at night
- Needing to sit closer to the television, cinema screen or the front of the classroom
- Holding books very close whilst reading
- Not able to see distant objects
Long-sightedness or hyperopia
You may have difficulty focusing on near objects, such as reading, using a computer or a mobile
Hyperopia, or long-sightedness usually begins in childhood, however it can be easily missed because young childrens eyes have the flexibility to compensate. As we grow older we can lose the ability to compensate for this.
Common signs & symptoms of long-sightedness include:
- Difficulty focusing on close-up objects, like a pen or a book
- Eyestrain, aching eyes or a burning feeling around the eyes
- Needing to squint to see clearly
- Headaches while reading or after close-up work such as drawing
Just as perfectly aligned teeth are rare so is a perfectly curved cornea in your eye. The more irregularity the more likely you are to need corrective lenses to help you focus light rays better.
With a mild astigmatism your symptoms may be barely noticeable. In some cases however, it can cause troublesome vision distortion. Here are the most common signs and symptoms of astigmatism:
- Blurring or distortion of images at all distances
- Eye discomfort or irritation
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Trouble distinguishing between similar letters and numbers like P and F, or B and 8
People with astigmatism may experience symptoms that cause them to see what seems like a shadow or fuzzy image around what they are looking at. It is most pronounced when there is high contrast in the image, such as black text on a white background or a light shining in the darkness.
Presbyopia is a natural condition that makes it harder to see and read things close-up. As we get older, the lenses in our eyes lose some of their elasticity, and with this they lose some of their ability to change focus for different distances. The loss is gradual. Contact lenses are now becoming a popular choice for presbyopia.
Presbyopia develops gradually, with most people developing symptoms by their early to mid-40s. Here are the most common symptoms that you may experience due to presbyopia:
- Blurred vision at normal reading distance, including while wearing your normal glasses or contact lenses
- Holding reading materials at arm’s length to focus properly
- Tiredness while reading or doing close-up work
Contact your optician if you’ve developed any of these symptoms.
Multi-purpose contact lens solutions such as OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® clean and disinfect contact lenses in a one bottle system. Some multi-purpose solutions also recondition contact lenses. Make sure to discuss with your Optician which contact lens care products work best with your lenses.
Hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens solutions such as AOSEPT® PLUS with HydraGlyde® employ a one-step or two-step process, depending on the product. They use hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and bacteria for strong disinfection, and some systems require a separate step for cleaning. Hydrogen peroxide care systems are preservative-free and are often recommended for contact lens wearers who may be sensitive to preservatives found in multi-purpose contact lens solutions. However, it is important to follow every step in the product instructions.
Saline solutions are mainly used for rinsing contact lenses. Saline solutions are not indicated or meant for disinfecting contacts.
A daily cleaner is used to clean contact lenses prior to disinfection. Daily cleaners are not indicated or meant to disinfect contact lenses so you will be required to use additional products.
DO Stick strictly to the wearing schedule prescribed by your optician and dispose of your contact lenses as directed.
DON’T “Stretch” your lens wear beyond what your optician has recommended or the guidance given on the packaging. If you are told to replace your contact lenses every month, it is important you follow this advice to ensure the health of your eyes.
DO Clean, rinse and disinfect your contact lenses with solution each time you remove them. Always remember to use fresh solution. Do not add more solution on top of what’s already in the case.
DON’T Use saliva, tap water or anything other than contact lens solutions for lubricating, rewetting and/or cleaning your lenses.
DO If your eyes become red, irritated or your vision changes, remove your lenses immediately and consult your optician.
DON’T Let the tip of solution bottles touch other surfaces – including your fingers, eyes or contact lenses.
DO Always refill your lens case with new solution instead of adding more solution on top of what’s already in your case.
DON’T Share your contact lenses with anyone! It’s unsanitary.
DO Always handle your lenses with clean, dry hands. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly with a lint-free towel before touching your lenses.
DON’T Be sparing with your lens solution and try to use less or reuse solution. Always use fresh solution to rinse, clean and store your lenses.
DO Keep bottles of solution closed when not in use and use solutions before the expiration date marked on the bottle.
DON’T Expose your contact lenses to any kind of water – tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water.
DO After use, always empty and rinse the lens case with fresh solution and allow the lens case to air dry.
DON’T Change the brand of contact lens solution unless recommended by your optician. Not all solutions are the same
DO Replace your contact lens storage case according to your optician's directions and the product instructions.
DON’T Reuse – or top up – old lens solution to disinfect your lenses. Discard all of the lens solution after each use, and use fresh solution each time.
DO Insert contact lenses before applying makeup and remove your lenses before washing off makeup.
DON’T Cut corners when it comes to lens care habits.
Days, months, years – no matter how long you have been wearing contact lenses, there is a good chance you have heard that there are ways to “bend some of the rules” of contact lens care to save time or money – or both. However, doing so can put your eyes at risk.
MYTH: It’s perfectly fine to reuse contact solution. Throwing out your contact lens solution after each use is just a marketing tactic to get you to buy more.
FACT: Reusing old solution or adding fresh solution to the old solution that is in your existing case diminishes the disinfecting properties of the fresh solution. Be sure to follow your optician's directions and product instructions for replacing your case to help avoid buildup of bacteria and residue to help protect your eyes.
MYTH: You can wear contacts much longer than the packaging suggests.
FACT: Successful contact lens wear depends on following the instructions. Contact lenses should be discarded and replaced according to the schedule provided by your optician to help ensure a successful, comfortable lens wearing experience. Protein, calcium, lipids and other substances found naturally in your tears can build up on your contact lenses over time, making them less comfortable.
MYTH: It’s OK to use tap water to clean contact lenses and lens cases. It’s just water, right?
FACT: Even when clean and clear, tap water is not appropriate for cleaning lenses. Tap water does NOT disinfect your contact lenses, and it can contain bacteria, chlorine, minerals and metal particles, which can damage both the lenses and your eyes.
MYTH: You can tell when contact lenses and contact lens cases are dirty just by looking at them.
FACT: Just because the contact lens or lens solution looks clear does not mean it is clean. That’s why it is essential that you clean your contact lenses immediately after removing them and NEVER reuse contact lens solution.
MYTH: It’s OK to swim while wearing contacts lenses as long as you close your eyes.
FACT: It is advised that you do not swim whilst wearing your contact lenses. However, if you need to then make sure you also wear a pair of good fitting swimming goggles, and use daily disposable contact lenses. You should then remove your lenses and dispose of them after leaving the pool. All water contains bacteria that can cause eye infections, and water does not disinfect your contact lenses.
MYTH: Cleaning contact lenses takes a long time and involves a difficult process.
FACT: Cleaning contact lenses is relatively quick and easy. Always follow the advice given by your optician and remember to use fresh solution each time.
The cornea is the clear protective surface over the front of your eye. When you look at something, light reflects off that object and enters your eye through the cornea. The light then passes through the pupil into the lens, forming an image that is focused on the retina. The retina contains millions of tiny light-sensing nerve cells called rods and cones that send information about that image to your brain.
The cornea is an important part of your ability to see clearly because it refracts, or bends, light as it enters the eye and helps focus it toward the retina. If the cornea is round, light can hit it from any direction and be focused sharply on a single point on the retina. But if your cornea has a steeper curve in one direction – more like a rugby ball than a football– light will bend in slightly different directions as it enters the eye. This causes the light to hit the retina in more than one place. This creates astigmatism, a condition that makes images look blurry, fuzzy or slightly distorted.
Refraction is when light is bent, or its direction is changed by something it passes through. To see light refraction for yourself, pour water into a clear glass and put a straw in the glass. The straw will appear bent or broken at the water’s surface because the light is refracted as it passes through the curved glass and water. The same type of bending happens when light passes through your curved cornea and the vitreous humour, or liquid, in your eye. If the glass, or your cornea, is not smooth and even, the image becomes more distorted and difficult for your brain to decipher.
Many eye health and vision problems occur naturally with age and may not have any obvious signs or symptoms. To take the best care of your eyes it is important to schedule regular appointments with your optician.
A few tips to help maintain healthy eyes and vision:
- Only use glasses or contact lenses suitable for your needs under supervision of an optician
- Always disinfect and replace contact lenses as recommended
- Wash hands regularly and thoroughly before touching eyes or inserting and removing contact lenses
- Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA/UVB rays
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight to avoid systemic conditions – such as diabetes – that may lead to impaired vision
- Monitor chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes and high blood pressure)
- Eat a healthy diet filled with dark leafy greens, like spinach, and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon and tuna
- Include dietary supplements that boost your intake of vitamins and minerals that support eye health