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Contacts FAQs

Here are the most common questions we hear from our patients.

1. How long will it take to get used to new contact lenses if I have never worn them before?

Depending on your eye sensitivity and whether you have soft or rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses, your eyes could adjust to wearing contact lenses within a day or it may take up to two weeks. Some people find that their eyes never adjust, but that's quite rare.

2. Are contact lenses difficult to care for?

Depending on the type of lens you select, you will need to take some simple steps to keep your contacts clean and germ-free. Daily disposable contact lenses and extended-wear contacts require no care regimen at all.

3. Why do I have to clean my contact lenses?

Cleaning your contact lenses removes surface debris and bacteria that may build up.

4. Can a contact get lost behind my eye?

No. At worst, you might have trouble finding it under the lid. If necessary, your eye doctor can help you to remove it.

5. Will contacts slow down the changes in my vision?

There are no studies demonstrating that contacts slow or stop the normal progression of nearsightedness in patients younger than 20. However, the new, gas-permeable "retainer" lenses halt and even reverse the progression of nearsightedness. It is not yet known whether this effect is permanent.

6. Can I take a nap with my lenses in? Can I safely leave the lenses in overnight?

A short nap with extended-wear lenses should be fine. There are many lenses approved for overnight wear, but by far the safest, least risky lenses are known as silicone hydrogels. These lenses have proven safe for extended overnight wear.

7. Do the "no rub" cleaning solutions work?

Yes and no. If used properly (rinsing both sides of a lens with a steady stream for up to 10 seconds), no-rub solutions meet the FDA's sterilization standards. However, few people use the solution properly. Fortunately, the anti-microbial properties of your tears still keep your eyes safe most of the time.

8. Am I old enough to wear contact lenses?

Contacts can be worn by babies and children provided the maintenance instructions are followed.

9. Why do people wear hard contacts?

Technically, the sharpest vision you can achieve is through rigid contacts, but soft contacts are more comfortable. A small percentage of patients cannot attain sharp vision with soft lenses, and rigid contacts become their only option.

10. Does long-term wear of contacts cause health problems in the eyes?

Some studies have shown that long-term wear, especially with poor maintenance procedures, can lead to changes in the cornea and other issues such as infectious and inflammatory conditions. Contact-lens wearers should undergo an annual evaluation by an eye-care specialist.

11. What kinds of contacts are available?

Contact lenses come in different materials and with varying schedules for replacement and wear. Lens materials include soft, rigid gas-permeable (RGP), and hard materials.  Replacement schedules are generally as follows:

  • Conventional soft contacts last about a year; conventional RGPs last several years. 
  • Frequent, or planned, replacement contact lenses last one to several months. 
  • Disposable contacts last from one day to two weeks.

Daily wear are taken out at night and extended wear can be worn while sleeping.
Special contact lenses include:

  • Bifocals
  • Colored contacts
  • Ortho-k contacts, which allow your vision to remain correct even when you're not wearing them
  • Special-effect contact lenses
  • Torics for astigmatism 
  • UV-blocking lenses

12. Are disposable contact lenses worth the extra money?

Disposable and frequent-replacement contact lenses are better for your eyes because protein and bacteria have less opportunity to build up on them. The difference in cost is offset by the safety factor.

The more often you replace your lenses, the better for your eyes. Even if you diligently clean your contact lenses (and studies show that most people don't), protein deposits can still occur and compromise your eye health and comfort.  

13. Is there really a big difference between daily and extended-wear contact lenses?

Yes! Extended-wear contacts allow more oxygen to reach your eye, which makes them safer to sleep in than daily-wear lenses. You can wear some extended-wear lenses for up to seven days at a time, while some other brands can be worn for 30 days.

14. Where is the best place to buy contact lenses?

The best place is from your eye doctor. Contact lenses can only be dispensed by prescription. Because eyes can gradually change in size, shape and physiological requirements (such as oxygen), eyes need to be checked regularly as this can affect the fit and/or health of the cornea.

15. Can I wear contacts if I have bifocal eyeglasses?

Yes, bifocal contact lenses are available.

16. Why did my doctor tell me to come back after fitting me with my contacts?

Your doctor asked you to come back about a week later so that he/she could be sure that you do not have any problems, such as improper fit or excessive bacteria on a lens.

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