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8 FAQs About Contact Lenses: A Guide for First-Time Wearers

If you’ve decided to give contact lenses a try, you probably have quite a few questions. There’s a lot to get your head around, from working out the right contact lens option for you, to how to use them safely, to when you will need to replace them.



Here are eight of the most frequently asked questions (plus our answers) we usually encounter at our optical and eyewear stores in the UAE.



1. What are contact lens options available to me, and which are the best?



You may have noticed that there are many contact lens options in optical stores under different brand names. The first step is to get help from your contact lens practitioner who can guide you to select  the most suitable option for you. However, together you will be choosing from one of different types of contact lenses, each of which is made of a distinctive material.



Whether you need contact lenses with a prescription or just cosmetic ones, your first choice is from the soft ones: however, there are rigid and hybrid CLS, that will be discussed in different articles, but don't worry will provide you with some insight in the next section.



The soft lenses are made from very thin, gel-like plastics called hydrogels or silicone hydrogel Both materials have pros and cons, but always remember that their suitability differs from eye to eye, your lifestyle, usage, etc.



Both of these have been developed modified to provide high comfort, high oxygen transmissibility, and high vision quality similar to a naked normal eye.



Another material is the plastic (polymethyl methacrylate) or PMMA lenses which are rigid lenses. They offer excellent improvements to vision. However, they are little used these days as two other types of lenses can match what they offer in terms of vision, but with more comfort. These are gas permeable lenses and hybrid lenses.



Gas permeable lenses are rigid contact lenses that allow oxygen to get to the eye, which makes them more comfortable than PMMA lenses. These often offer clearer vision than soft lenses but can also take a little more getting used to. After a few weeks, however, most users find these as comfortable as soft lenses.

Hybrid lenses combine the best of all other lenses. These have a rigid gas permeable center that offers crystal clear optics, but with a soft hydrogel surround for comfort. They are, however, more costly and a little trickier to fit than other lens types.



The last three materials are speciality contact lens-related materials and can be used and chosen for certain vision and corneal abnormalities and cannot be provided or delivered without a proper fitting by an eye care professional.



There are a lot of factors that will go into working out which type of lens is best for you: your eye exam, your overall eye health, cost, convenience, ease of fitting, how often you want to wear them, and how often you are willing to replace them. It is wise to discuss your needs in-depth with an eye care professional before making any decisions.



2. Can I wear contact lenses every day?



Yes, you can wear your contact lenses every day. Just be sure to follow the advice given to you by your contact lens specialist. And always remember that contact lenses are not an alternative to eyeglasses. The idea behind contact lenses is to provide you with a certain level of freedom and flexibility when it comes to certain daily activities.



3. How long can I wear my lenses for each day?



This depends on the type of lens you choose to use. Contact lenses can be worn from morning until evening under normal conditions (around 14 to 16 hours) but must be removed before you go to bed.



4. How often will I need to replace my lenses?



This, again, depends on your final choice. Gas permeable lenses are designed to last a long time, even up to a year or longer before they need replacing. All soft lenses need replacing more frequently and fall into one of the following categories:



Daily disposables are designed to be worn one time on a daily basis and should be thrown away upon removal.

Disposable lenses can be worn for more than one day, but usually not for longer than one month. These types of lenses can be used continuously if recommended of course, meaning: up to 30 days of continuous wear, to be removed on a weekly basis for cleaning purpose as approved by the FDA.



5. Is it safe to play sports with contact lenses?



Yes, wearing contact lenses is likely to be the best option for you. Glasses can fall off and are easily broken or smashed. Contact lenses will improve your vision and maintain your peripheral vision well, unlike glasses.



6. Is it okay to buy contact lenses online?



When you buy contact lenses for the first time, it is vital that you have discussed your needs with a reputable contact lens practitioner who will provide you with an initial prescription and assist you with fitting.  After this, it is possible to buy replacement lenses online, provided you use a reputable, appropriately licensed site.



Just be sure that you see your eye care practitioner regularly for necessary eye tests and health checks, advice, and prescription updates.



7. How do I put on and remove contact lenses?



Many first-time contact lens wearers worry about this. Fears include losing the contact lens behind the eyeball, or it getting stuck or getting injured in some way.



It’s actually much, much easier to do than most people expect; it just takes a little practice and then it quickly becomes second nature. And you cannot lose a contact lens behind your eye; if it disappears, then it is either lodged behind your upper or lower eyelid and can still be removed, perhaps just a little more awkwardly.



The easiest way to put on or remove contact lenses is to wash your hands first, then use your non-writing hand to gently pull your eyelids further apart. Use your index finger with the lens on the tip and move it toward your eye to put on the lens. To remove, use your forefinger and thumb on your dominant writing hand to gently pinch the lens, then pull it down and out.



8. How do I protect my contact lenses?



Just be careful not to rub your eyes, if possible. This can dislodge your contact lens or make them wear out more quickly.

Using sunglasses is highly recommended when outdoors to protect your contacts from dust and the elements, and to keep your eyes from drying.

Regular and proper cleaning of the lenses will ensure you have healthy eyes.



If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact an eye care professional for advice. Wearing contact lenses can seem daunting at first, but the vast majority of people quickly adapt and never look back.



AUTHOR BIO



Firas Saab is an enthusiastic trainer with more than a decade in the retail and optical industry and loves to share his experience and help others to succeed in selling. He has recently acquired HND in Business and Management in addition to his Optical qualifications despite the work responsibilities; he believes in no excuses to succeed. Firas is an energetic speaker with merit in Toastmasters International. Before being a training manager, Firas has occupied different positions that helped him to create a guideline for a Successful Team & helped built a Leadership course that can help potential people to unlock their capabilities to achieve and inspire.




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