Many factors influence this decision, such as:
- Corneal Curvature
- Dry Eyes
- Previous Over-wear
- Frequency of Use
Seeing your Optometrist will help you determine the best type of contact lenses for your eyes.
Your lifestyle often determines your sight correction requirements, which in turn influences the type of contact lens suitable, as well as frequency of use. For example, you may work in an office and use the computer all day, for which you wear spectacles; perhaps you play golf, or football once per week and find that your spectacles “steam up”?
A limited supply of daily disposables just for sport would be your best option rather than monthly disposables, which require cleaning and will not be used often enough to make them worthwhile. If you are a rugby player and require good side vision in order to perform optimally, full-time contact lens wear is probably your wisest option.
For those who wish to wear contact lenses socially in order to see the restaurant menu without needing reading glasses, a daily disposable progressive lens, or Monovision system may be best.
Frequent jet-setters may prefer spectacles as contact lenses inevitably dry out whilst flying. Whatever your lifestyle, your optometrist will prescribe contact lenses tailored to your needs.
Your eye health must be good in order to wear contact lenses. If it is, you will want to keep it so.
The healthiest type of lens is the daily disposable soft lens. These lenses are always sterile when inserted into the eyes as they are never kept overnight.
This means that no dirt, bugs or tear proteins can accumulate which all have the potential to cause problems. Fortnightly and Monthly disposables are also available which still require daily cleaning and overnight storage with contact lens solutions.
This is when your eye is shaped like an egg and is not perfectly round like a tennis ball.
At a certain level of astigmatism the contact lens prescription needs to be “tailor-made” in order for you to see clearly. Lenses that cater to astigmatism are called Torics and are available in both rigid and soft form.
With lower levels of astigmatism it is often possible to fit a normal rigid contact lens and correct the problem without the need for a Toric. If you have mainly short or long-sight with very little astigmatism, a normal soft contact lens is generally fine.
This tells us how steep or flat the front of your eye is and allows your optometrist to decide on a suitably curved contact lens to match. Contact lens curvatures are described with the term ‘base curves’ or BC.
Two different lens types with the same Base curve will not necessarily fit your eye in exactly the same manner. Ideally, the best way to assess the fit of your contact lens would be to have it checked after 4-5 hours of wearing time.
Hayfever, eczema or asthma sufferers may find contact lenses more uncomfortable than most people. Allergies can create an over-sensitized eye, rendering increased lens awareness. Also, the eye reacts to dirt and proteins on the lens much more and may cause the upper eyelid to develop bumps. This is called contact lens related papillary Conjunctivitis. The best solution for those with severe allergies is to wear lenses infrequently (up to 3 times/week) and to use daily disposables. If your lifestyle requires you to use lenses constantly, then disposables are still the best option. Occasionally some individuals are allergic to a certain lens material or a certain lens solution.
Some individuals suffer from chronic dry, smarting eyes. This may cause increased lens awareness after some hours of lens wear. Your optometrist will prescribe an alternative lens with a different water content, fitting or material, in order to improve the comfort. Preservative-free contact lens comfort drops are also advised.
If your lifestyle leaves your hands and fingernails dirty or you smoke, then daily disposables are the best lenses for you. Occasionally, doctors have prescribed overnight lenses for those whose lifestyles demand it. Examples include doctors working in A&E, fire fighters, marine biologists and oceanographers. Sometimes an event like a 30-day trek to the Himalayas or 2 weeks of Regatta sailing prompts us to temporarily provide overnight lenses so that no routine handling is necessary.
If you have previously over-worn your contact lenses, your eyes will need more oxygen and you may be told to use a higher water content, or higher Dk, lens. This may be a soft or rigid lens. Remember to give your eyes a break and use your spectacles one day per week.
Frequency Of Use
Perhaps you only wish to use contact lenses for a sporting activity once per week? A daily disposable will be most suitable from both a health and cost perspective. Rigid lenses are not recommended as they need to be used most days in order to achieve best comfort. Those who wear their lenses sporadically may wish to consider fortnightly or monthly disposables. Your optometrist will be able to discuss the various options most suited to your requirements.
Selecting the right contact lenses is shaped by individual factors including lifestyle, eye health, astigmatism, corneal curvature, allergies, and hygiene practices. Whether it’s for daily use, sports, or occasional wear, the type and frequency of lens usage vary. Daily disposables offer hygiene and comfort benefits, especially for allergy sufferers. Personalized consultations with an optometrist are crucial for tailored recommendations that align with one’s specific needs.