Contact Lenses - Enjoy clear, natural and unobstructed vision
Almost everyone can wear contact lenses. If you’re new to contact lenses, your first step is to book an appointment at Williams Optometrists to discuss a contact lens fitting. You will receive one to one instruction on how to put in and remove your contact lenses and how to care for your lenses. We can book as many of these appointments as you need until you feel comfortable and this is included in the initial Contact Len Assessment fee. Once you are confident with inserting and removing your lenses you will be given some free lenses to trial and a follow up appointment with our Optometrist to check and discuss the final fit, comfort & vision. We offer pay as you go but most patients prefer to join our Direct Debit Diamond Care Scheme which also has additional benefits such as discounts on Spectacles and Sunglasses.
Contact lenses are simply one of the great miracles of modern technology. Today, more than three million people in the UK enjoy the clear, natural and unobstructed vision offered by contact lenses.
New lens designs and materials, as well as advanced care products, now make contact lenses easier and more comfortable to wear. More than ever before. They offer freedom from wearing glasses in daily life, when playing sport, or for that important social occasion and can bring particular benefits for individuals with stronger vision correction requirements.
Are contact lenses right for me?
Major advances in contact lens design mean that almost everyone can wear contact lenses successfully. People of all ages can be fitted, although special care is needed for the very young and elderly. Common eyesight defects, such as short-sight and long-sight, are easily corrected but now conditions such as astigmatism and presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) can also be treated very effectively.
In the past, people with astigmatism, a condition in which the eye is irregularly shaped causing distorted vision, were restricted to wearing spectacles, but today toric soft lenses are available both from stock or manufactured specifically for more complicated prescriptions. Presbyopia is the ageing of the eye’s natural crystalline lens which progressively affects everyone over the age of about 40 and which makes it difficult to shift focus (accommodate) between near and distant objects. This is usually corrected with varifocal contact lenses which provide clear distance and near vision. A second alternative is blended or mono vision, where one eye is corrected for distance and the other for near but success depends on the individual and their ability to adapt to seeing out of one eye at a time.
As contact lenses are worn next to the eye, there is nothing to obstruct your peripheral vision. In addition, the lenses move with your eye, meaning that you are always looking through the centre of the lens, where vision is best. In the majority of cases, people can actually see better with contact lenses than they would with glasses.
What should I do if I want to try contact lenses?
Before you can wear contact lenses you must have a full eye exam. At Williams Optometrists we are fully trained and qualified to fit contact lenses and undertake regular training with our contact lens suppliers to ensure that we are right up to date with their latest developments.
During the examination your eyes will be tested to determine the strength of lenses you need for clear vision and also the health of your eyes and eyelids will be examined. The quality of your tears, needed for lubrication of the contact lens, will also be assessed. Then, the curvature and diameter of the cornea at the front of your eye will be measured, together with the size of your pupils and the position of your eyelids.
Based on this information, our Optometrist will be able to give advice about the most suitable contact lenses.
What types of contact lenses are available?
The most popular contact lenses are made from gel-like plastics, often with a high water content, that allow oxygen to pass freely to the eye. Because of this, soft lenses can be made much larger which in turn makes them very comfortable and easy to adapt to. Some of the new ultra-thin soft lenses are so comfortable that new wearers can leave them in all day right from the start. New users usually find that they are only mildly aware of standard thickness soft lenses and that tolerance can be built up fairly easily so that most people are able to wear them all day within a week.
All types of contact lenses are now available on a planned replacement programme. New manufacturing techniques have made it possible for users to have a fresh pair of lenses regularly for about the same cost over a period as non-disposable lenses. Daily disposable lenses are becoming increasingly popular as they eliminate the need for a lens care routine, but depending on the type of lens and the environment in which it will be worn, the replacement period can be anything from one day to two years.
Daily wear lenses are ideal for children and young adults.
Extended wear lenses
Most contact lenses are worn on a daily basis, being removed in the evening and put back in next morning. Special extended wear soft lenses are now available which may be recommended by your practitioner, which allow you to sleep in them. Typically they are replaced weekly, two weekly or monthly.
The first contact lenses were what have become known as ‘hard’ lenses. These are made of a perspex material which, while very durable, does not allow essential oxygen to pass through to the surface of the eye. Although still available for certain specialist needs, they have been largely replaced by gas permeable lenses which allow good oxygen flow and enable the eye to ‘breathe’.
Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses
Rigid gas permeable lenses allow oxygen to pass to the surface of the eye, but they are made of firmer plastics than soft lenses. This makes them more durable and gives them a longer life span. These lenses are particularly suitable for certain prescriptions such as high degrees of astigmatism, where they give very good vision. Some people find rigid lenses easier to handle than soft lenses and, although they take a little longer to get used to, regular wearers find them very comfortable.
These are contact lenses which can enhance or even change the colour of your eyes without affecting what you see and are now widely available.
Are contact lenses difficult to insert and remove?
No. Many people are worried about putting a lens in for the first time, but simple techniques have been developed which make insertion and removal of contact lenses quite easy. When you first receive your lenses you will be taught the correct method for insertion and removal.
Caring for your lenses
Daily lenses need no aftercare as because they are simply ‘binned’ after use. For weekly, two-weekly and monthly lenses, developments in lens care products have now made it easier than ever to keep your contact lenses clean, comfortable and safe from harmful bacteria. These three simple steps should result in trouble-free use:
- Clean your contact lenses daily-This will remove dust, pollution, make-up and other things that may accumulate on the lens in daily wear.
- Disinfect your contact lenses daily - Disinfecting your lenses will ensure they are free from any micro-organisms still on the lens after cleaning.
- Weekly protein removal - This breaks down protein deposits that are produced naturally in everyone’s tears. If you don’t do this the performance and life of the lens could be reduced. Your practitioner will advise as to the necessity and frequency of this routine.
There are now one-step solutions available that make the hygiene routine even easier. Always remember that if your eyes feel uncomfortable, sore or irritable, you should take your lenses out and make an appointment to see our Optometrist.
If in any doubt, always seek advice from our trained staff. We are here to help.
What is Orthokeratology?
Orthokeratology or Ortho K is a vision therapy. Ortho K lenses are manufactured from a special highly oxygen permeable material. When worn during the night these lenses apply a controlled shape to the ‘window’ at the front of the eye (the cornea), eliminating your short sightedness. This effect stays strong enough for you to function the entire day without spectacles or contact lenses.
Ortho K is ideal for low-mid short sighted people who:
- Want clear natural vision all day - every day
- Find soft contact lenses do not fulfil the comfort demands their lifestyle places on their eyes
- Are involved in recreational and sports activities where periods without wearing contact lenses is ideal
- Have considered refractive surgery because of the freedom it provides, but are worried about the risks
So how is this possible?
Very simply, Ortho K is a specially designed contact lens that reverses the power of the cornea, at the front of the eye during overnight wear. Once the full effect has taken place, the eye is effectively ‘normal’ and can see clearly during the day.
With Ortho K you will benefit from:
- Freedom from contact lenses and glasses during the day
- Very easy adaptation, only overnight lens wear required
- A comfortable, semi-permanent alternative for the correction of short sightedness
- A safe and reversible vision correction therapy without surgery