Wearing contact lenses for the first time is exciting – but comes with some maintenance.
Contacts are great for some things where glasses get in the way, such as playing sports or being outside on a rainy day.
But how do you choose the best lenses for your prescription and needs? What risks come with wearing contacts? How do you look after them?
Be prepared: take a look at these essential things you need to know before you choose your first contact lenses.
What Does Wearing Contact Lenses for The First Time Feel Like?
When your optician first fits your contacts in, it’s going to feel weird. Very weird. If you’ve become used to hitching your glasses up your nose every few minutes, be careful not to poke yourself in the eye with this habit!
Wearing lenses for the first time is liberating, but may feel uncomfortable for a few minutes. This often isn’t helped by having someone (your optician) watch you as you blink your way to glasses-freedom.
Blinking will feel strange only for the first few seconds, though. Your eyes will naturally tear up enough to lubricate the lenses, so they’ll sit more freely on your eyeball and you won’t notice them.
Wearing contacts is painless – you don’t realize you’re wearing them a lot of the time. Sometimes you may be aware of them, such as in dry environments or in very heated rooms, but some contact-friendly eye drops will help soothe them.
Seven Essential Things to Know About Wearing Contacts
There are a few things to research and learn about before you buy your first pair of contact lenses.
1. You Must Get a Prescription First
You need to visit an eye specialist before you buy your first pair of contact lenses. Even if you recently had an eye test, your prescription for your glasses will be different from the one you need for your lenses.
Your first contact lens appointment is a good time to talk things over with a specialist. They will ask about your lifestyle, check your prescription, and determine which type of lens is probably best for you.
Most opticians will offer a free trial of contact lenses because they know that you need to try them out before you commit to buying. They will show you how to put your lenses in and out, how to care for the lens type and tell you essential information such as how long you can wear them each day.
2. You Don’t Have to Buy From Your Prescribing Optician
You don’t have to buy your lenses from the place you get your prescription from. This means you can get a contact lens test and fitting, but then choose to buy your lenses for less money online or from another store.
Knowing that you’re not obligated to buy from your eye specialist will help you to relax about making your contact lens choices. You won’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot and can spend time researching the best lenses for your budget.
3. It’s OK to Try Several Types
Not every contact lens type suits every person. Some people are fine with permeable gas lenses, while others will prefer a hard contact lens.
The maintenance and care may also affect your choice of lens. Eye specialists prescribe daily contact lenses for most trials as this keeps hygiene levels at a premium. These contact lenses are disposed of at the end of each day, compared to a monthly pair which you need to clean every night.
Your optician will give you a trial pair before you buy any lenses – and if you don’t get along with them, don’t panic! That’s why it’s a trial. Go back and speak to your specialist about trying an alternative before you buy any lenses.
4. Keep Your Lenses Clean
If you don’t use daily contact lenses, it’s absolutely vital to keep to the hygiene regimen your optician describes.
Bacteria behind a contact lens can cause eye infections. In addition, other eye problems such as blepharitis are exacerbated by wearing lenses – so keeping your eyes and lenses clean is vital to prevent such painful problems.
Keep your contact lenses in a special lens cleaner pot, and change the lens cleaning solution daily too. Some pots are simple dishes, while others have a mechanism to ‘lock’ the lenses in place while you swish them in the solution to ensure all debris is released.
Always change the solution daily – and if you use a ‘swish’ style pot, clean the lenses first and then replace the solution for your contacts to sit in overnight. This prevents any of the debris from sticking to your lens.
5. Always Wash Your Hands Before Touching Your Eyes
When you’re wearing glasses, it’s easy to forget how much you touch your face throughout the day. However, with contact lenses, you’re exposing your eyes to more debris and bacteria.
Always wash your hands when you need to put in or remove your lenses, and before touching your face at any time. This cuts the risk of introducing nasty stuff to your eyes or spreading infection from one eye to the other.
6. Use Eye Drops for Contact Lenses
If you have sensitive eyes and you’re not sure whether you can wear contacts, don’t worry! There are lots of options for sensitive eyes, such as gas permeable or high-aqua content lenses to improve comfort.
You may experience some dry eye, though, such as in air-conditioned buildings or in windy conditions. It’s OK to use eye drops to ease dry and itchy eyes, or to reduce redness, but always make sure the label says the solution is suitable for contact lenses.
The same goes for mascara, too: you may find you need to change your brand of mascara if it isn’t suitable for lenses. The 3D fiber-lash style mascaras are particularly prone to irritating contact lens wearers, as the tiny fibers can get caught behind the lens in the eye.
7. Don’t Sleep in Daily or (Most) Monthly Lenses
No matter how tired you are, always take your lenses out at the end of the day. The one exception is if you’ve opted for month-long lenses that are designed to be slept in – although these are often more ideal for experienced contacts wearers.
Your eyes will dry out overnight, and this will mean it becomes very (very!) painful in the morning if you awake with old lenses stuck to your eyes. If you’re likely to forget to take them out, put a sticky note by your bed to remind you every night before you go to sleep.
How Will Contact Lenses Affect Your Esteem?
Wearing contact lenses for the first time is a huge ego boost: you’re no longer hiding behind glasses!
One small change like changing from glasses to contact lenses is a big step to starting a full life overhaul.
Boost your self-esteem even further with these top tips!