Answers to contact lenses FAQ, useful for first time wearers and those who have had problems wearing contact lenses
First-time wearers and also those who have tried contacts but given up often have many questions about contact lenses. This page answers some of the most common ones but, if you can't find the answer you are looking for, why not:
Contact Lens Case
This first section looks at common questions around how comfortable it is to wear pieces of tiny plastic in your eyes.
Are contact lenses comfortable to wear straightaway?
The answer partly depends on the type of lens chosen. Rigid gas permeable lenses, for example, take up to a fortnight to get used to as users have to build up gradually and will "feel" the contacts during this time. Soft lenses, on the other hand, are usually pretty comfortable for most people immediately although the sensation of having a foreign object in the eye can feel "uncomfortable" for some.
How long can I wear lenses?
Daily use lenses can usually be worn for up to 14 hours once users have got used to wearing lenses. If eyes become sore during the day, simply take them out and pop on a pair of specs to give eyes a rest.
Can lenses be put in the wrong way round and if so, does it hurt?
Soft (but not rigid) lenses can be put in the wrong way. Some people find it difficult to tell which way is correct, so some manufacturers put tiny numbers on the edge of the lens; if they are back-to-front, the lens is inside-out. It doesn't actually hurt but if inserted incorrectly, the lens may feel a little uncomfortable and will eventually fall out as, being convex, it will not adhere to the eyeball correctly.
Many people suffer from contact lenses and dry eye syndrome. The following questions help to explain why:
Daily disposable lenses are expensive so can I wear them for more than one day?
NO - while it is possible and I know friends who have done this to save money, lenses intended for daily use are much thinner than other soft lenses so are not easy to store and may be slightly torn on second use; this could scratch the eye.
Do I need a prescription to wear colored cosmetic contact lenses?
You don't need a prescription for vision correction if you have perfect eyesight BUT you should still see an optician as contact lenses are classed as medical devices and your eyes must be tested for suitability before inserting any foreign body into them.
Your optician will also give you the right advice on which lens solution to use and how to care for your colored contacts properly.
I'm scared to wear contacts as they can be lost behind the eye. How do you get them out when this happens?
Actually lenses cannot go "behind" the eye as there's a thin membrane between the eyelid and the eyeball that stops this happening. BUT they can appear to be "lost" if you rub your eye hard and move the lens off the center of the eyeball. If this happens, stay calm and gently massage the eye or slide the displaced lens back into position.
Some tips for those new to contacts:
Avoid long fingernails when inserting or removing lenses as they can scratch the eyeball and potentially rip delicate soft lenses.
Do you wear tons of make-up? Be careful as particles can get under the lenses and cause real discomfort not to mention an eye infection. I think it's better to put on make-up AFTER you've put in your lenses as hands are less likely to have make-up on them.
Chilli lovers beware - ALWAYS wear gloves when chopping hot chillies. Believe me it is VERY painful even if you've washed your hands thoroughly when it comes to taking those lenses out!
Some people just can't get their lenses out and then panic. If that's you, ask your optician for a little suction device to get that darn lens out!
Remember to replace your lens solution once it is 90 days old rather than trying to save money by getting every last drop out a year later.