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I first tried contact lenses when I was about 14 but I found that a lot of the solutions irritated my eyes so I went back to glasses. A couple years later I decided to give contact lenses another go as I did not want to have to wear my glasses all of them time. That was several years ago now and I cannot remember the last time I wore a pair of glasses, I would recommend contact lenses to anyone who wanted an alternative to glasses.
Types of Contact Lenses There are different types of contact lenses available including both hard lenses and soft lenses. I have always had the soft Toric lenses, they look like a very small round think piece of plastic with a slight blue tint to then, however this does not show up when they are worn. Toric lenses are used to help correct astigmatisms in the eyes which I have in one of my eyes. Soft contact lenses are very flimsy and pliable this is due to them containing 30% - 40% water, the fact that they are very soft and flexible means that they are very comfortable to wear. Soft contact lenses are also made from an oxygen permeable plastic, this also adds to their comfort when worn. You can also opt for a hard contact lenses however I am not sure about these as I have never actually tried them. I do know people that have tried them but said they were not that comfortable and they have since switched to the soft lenses.
Not only do you have a choice of hard or soft lenses you can also purchase lenses which last for different amounts of time, for example there are daily disposable lenses, monthly lenses and extended wear lenses (I think these last several months) I have only ever had the monthly lenses, I tend to put a new pair in at the beginning of each month trying to stick to the same date each time, although that does not always happen as I sometimes end up damaging a lense and starting a new pair earlier then planned. You are told that you should not wear a pair of contact lenses longer than stated, however I have in the past worn mine for over a month and I have to say you can tell the difference, after a month I find that the lenses are no longer as comfortable as they should be and sometimes the surface becomes slightly damaged or scratched meaning it can effect your vision.
Cleaning Solution There are hundreds of different cleaning solutions and it really is a case of trial and error to find one that suits you. The solutions were the main problem I had the first time I tried contact lenses, however I now use a saline solution which is suitable for sensitive eyes, The solution I use is suitable for both cleaning and storing my contact lenses in whilst I am not wearing them, however I do think you can get separate ones which are only suitable for either cleaning or storing. I personally like to saline ones as they do everything, they leave your lenses clean and clear and also prevent them from drying out when they are not being worn. Although I get most of my solution from my opticians, I do often end up running out so I end up buying my own from places such as Superdrug. Many pharmacies sell various types of contact lense solution, obviously there is not such a wide range compared to what the options can offer but they usually have several to choose from, I tend to go for Superdrugs own make of saline solution as it is very similar to the one I receive form the options and both cleans and stores my lenses.
Storing and Cleaning When you collect your contact lenses from the opticians depending on the type of arrangement you have you often collect a few months supply of cleaning solution and storage pots. It is very important to keep your contact lenses properly cleaned and stored correctly, any small piece of dirt or make up that gets onto the lense and not cleaned off will then transfer into your eye causing irritation and possible infections. I clean my lenses every night after taking them out, I remove one lens and squirt a small amount of cleaning solution over it in the palm of my hand and slightly rub it with my finger just to remove any 'bits' that have got stuck to it, I then squirt a small amount of the same solution in the storage pot and place the lens in it over night until I am ready to put them in again the next morning. The storage pots I have are small and flat, they consist of 2 halves each with a screw lid one white (right lense) and one blue(left lense) There are many different types of storage pots available, I only use these ones as they come with my solution, however other styles can be purchased from shops such as Superdrug and Boots. Aswell as keeping your lenses clean it is also very important to store them correctly, as I said previously you keep soft lenses when not worn in a small pot of the solution, this prevents them from drying out Once soft contact lenses have dried out they can no longer be worn, instead of being very a very soft, bendy and pliable piece of plastic they become very hard and brittle. If your lenses do dry out for what ever reason they only thing you can do is throw them away and start again with a new pair, do not try to wear them!!!!
How Well Contact Lenses Last Generally I find that my contact lenses last pretty well. I have the monthly ones as I said and it is not often that I have to start a new pair early due to the current pair getting damages. Because the soft contact lenses are so soft and thin they can tear quite easily if you are not careful. I have also had a few pairs that have felt uncomfortable in my eye and when I have removed the lens to investigate there is a small chuck missing from the edge of the lens that was there when I put the lens in in the morning. Although this does not often happen with me it is important to check you lenses for damage just incase they do become ripped or torn as wearing a damaged lense can be very uncomfortable and even damage your eyes surface by scratching it.
How to put contact lenses in Now this is a bit of a tricky one as everyone has their own technique. I find the easiest way is to take the lens out of the pot and squirt a little bit of solution onto it and place it on the end of my finger, then with the other hand gentle hold down your bottom eye lid, then place the lens up to your eye, you will feel it contact with the surface of your eye, once you feel this you can let go. In theory give a couple of blinks and the lens will stay in place that's the idea anyway, sometimes the lens will not be quite in place and when you let go and blink the lens will drop out of your eye. The optician shows you how to successfully put the contact lenses in but it really is practise and finding which method suits you best.
Price I pay for my contact lenses via a monthly direct debit and then collect a 6 months supply of lenses, solution and storage pots. I pay £ 17.50 a month for my lenses, however they should be more expensive that this at about £25, I had a few problems with my opticians supplying me with my lenses and they reduced my monthly bill for me to compensate and prevent me from leaving. I think in the long run contact lenses probably do work out a bit more expensive then glasses but for me it is worth the money as I really do not get on with my glasses, especially after wearing contact lenses for so many years.
Are Contact Lenses Comfortable? Basically yes they are. Providing your lenses are clean and there is nothing on them you cannot tell you are wearing them.. From time to time the lenses may move a little in your eyes especially if you rub your eyes but I would no say they were uncomfortable. It does hurt if you get something in your eye and it gets under your lens, this could also scratch the surface of your eye and cause infection if you do remove the grit from your eye as soon as possible. Personally I do find that occasionally in the mornings if I am particularly tired my lenses do feel a little uncomfortable in my eyes but after a few blinks this soon wears off. Overall I would say wearing soft contact lenses is very comfortable, some people say they could not have something in their eye all the time, but you really do forget that they are there.
Advantages No more glasses You can put them in in the morning and forget about them Not that expensive Wide range of lenses and accessories to choose form
Disadvantages Soft lenses can get damaged. Hurts if you get something under you lenses