With lots of information about contact lenses out there, it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t.
So, we thought it would be a good time to dispel some common myths and give you the truth about contact lenses!
Myth 1: I’ve tried contact lenses before without success, they will never work for me
Research has shown that many people who have previously struggled using contact lenses for many reasons, can successfully use modern lenses.
Technology, lens designs and materials are constantly advancing, which means they are becoming more and more comfortable, and easier to handle. In fact, some of the best lenses feel like you are wearing no lens at all. There are also contact lenses available in a far wider range of prescriptions than ever before.
Even if you have struggled in the past with inserting and removing contact lenses, we will show you how to do it safely, so don’t worry! It just takes a bit of practice.
We offer full support on how to correctly wear your contact lenses, so you can feel comfortable and confident wearing the latest lenses.
Myth 2: I am too young/old to wear contact lenses
As long as you and your optician are happy that you’re comfortable putting them in, taking them out and being responsible with hygiene and cleaning your contact lenses, there’s really nothing stopping you, whatever your age!
Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are available if you need different lens powers for distance and close-up work. You can also choose to wear contact lenses for some of the time and spectacles for the rest.
Research has shown that young children (and even babies in specific rare cases), can benefit from wearing contact lenses. Now that most contact lenses are replaced frequently, there is no need to wait until the eyes have stopped changing, to wear contact lenses.
Myth 3: Contact lenses can’t be used if you wear make-up
Many people find it easier to apply their make-up once they start wearing contact lenses, as they can see what they’re doing more clearly!
For hygiene reasons, it’s better to insert your lenses before putting make-up on, and take them out before removing make-up.
You might want to avoid powdery and metallic shadows and mascara with fibres in case the particles get into your lenses. You should also avoid any contact with lotions or creams and putting eyeliner on the inner rim of the eyelids, as this can make the lens dirty.
Several brands offer formulas developed for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes.
Myth 4: Contact lenses cannot be worn for only one day
Some people are keen to wear contact lenses on their wedding day. This is no problem and you may also find there are other occasions as well where you’d prefer to wear contact lenses instead of glasses.
It is possible to wear contact lenses as a one off, but you must still take care of your lenses and follow the same care advice, as if you were wearing them every day.
Myth 5: Contact lenses cannot be worn by allergy/dry eye sufferers
With a wide range of contact lenses now available, most allergy sufferers can wear contact lenses. Daily disposable soft lenses are proven to be very effective for people suffering from seasonal allergies, such as hay fever.
It is also possible to wear contact lenses with dry eyes. We can advise you on the best lens types for your needs and recommend ways to alleviate dryness.
You should always check before using any eye drops or dry eye preparations that they are safe for use with contact lenses.
Myth 6: Contact lenses provide no protection from the sun
Of course, contact lenses can be worn with sunglasses to protect your eyes and surrounding area from bright sunlight, as well as damaging UV rays. However, if wearing sunglasses is impractical, UV-blocking lenses offer some protection to the eyes against UV rays. There are also photochromic lenses available now, which will change colour with the sun and stay clear when you’re indoors!
Myth 7: I don’t need a check-up as my eyes seem fine
We have a duty of care and always recommend attending your contact lens aftercare appointments, as well as your eye tests. This allows us to pick up on any changes or problems early and to ensure your lenses are still suitable for you, in terms of vision, comfort and fit. New contact lenses are being developed all the time, so if it’s been a while since your last visit to the opticians, it’s likely you could benefit from a free trial and upgrade to a better lens material that could be better suited to your individual needs.
Myth 8: Contact lenses can be worn overnight
Contact lenses should only be worn overnight if they are approved for overnight use.
‘Extended’ or ‘continuous’ wear lenses can be worn whilst sleeping, but speak to your practitioner first, as it can increase the risk of eye infection and should be avoided if you feel unwell.
There are also orthokeratology lenses, which are designed to be worn overnight and removed in the morning to correct vision (particularly corneal reshaping), so glasses and contact lenses aren’t needed during the day.
Myth 9: Contact lenses can be worn for swimming
Although water-tight goggles make wearing contact lenses whilst swimming possible, the BCLA advises not to wear contact lenses for swimming, showering, in hot tubs or while participating in water sports.
You should never allow your contact lenses OR contact lens case to come into contact with water, no matter what type of lens you use, due to the risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis - an infection of the cornea, the clear ‘window’ at the front of the eye, that can be very painful. The infection is caused by a microscopic organism called Acanthamoeba, which is common in nature and is usually found in bodies of water (lakes, oceans and rivers) as well as domestic tap water, swimming pools, hot tubs, soil and air.
You should also dry your hands thoroughly after washing and before handling your lenses to prevent damage to the lenses and risk of infection.
Myth 10: Cosmetic lenses are completely safe
Although cosmetic lenses are becoming increasingly popular and widely sold online, there is a high risk from wearing them, as poorly fitted lenses can lead to serious eye infections, corneal ulcers, abrasions and even loss of vision.
This includes novelty Halloween contact lenses, 'circle' lenses that make your pupils appear bigger, or lenses that change your eye colour. The BCLA (British Contact Lens Association) recommends only purchasing and wearing contact lenses after a practitioner has assessed your eyes and issued you with the correct contact lens prescription.
Myth 11: Contact lenses are bad for my eyes
This is a common worry, but contact lenses are a very successful way to correct your vision and thankfully, problems are extremely rare. Following the correct care and hygiene advice will help to prevent infections and keep eyes healthy.
According to the BCLA - contact lens-related infections only affect 4 in 10,000 wearers per year, and vision loss due to infection is less common, affecting just 6 in 100,000.
As you will have seen, with so many myths dispelled, contact lenses aren’t something to be afraid of. You’ll soon find them easy to apply, and a safe, convenient option for correcting your vision.
There are certainly advantages to wearing contact lenses, including:
You’ll have full peripheral vision that isn’t blocked by frames
There’s no need to worry about breaking your glasses during sports
Reflections and fogged up spectacle lenses are a thing of the past
There’s no restrictions on who can or can’t wear them!
Feel confident in the right contact lenses for you and your lifestyle. Book an appointment at your local branch.
Check out our previous blog, for further information about contact lenses.