When is the right time to switch from glasses to contacts?
Many patients think they cannot wear contact lenses for a variety of reasons: a previous doctor may have said they couldn’t, they have dry eyes, wear bifocals, they’ve had trouble in the past with the fit (vision not stable) or they’ve had uncomfortable contact lens fit in the past.
Contacts have come a long way. Contact lens companies have spent a great deal of time and money to develop technologies that address some of these issues with contact lenses. They have focused on patients dealing with dry eyes, presbyopia (the loss of near vision that begins in your 40s), astigmatism and extended-wear lens comfort.
One of the initial complaints of patients new to contacts is dry eyes. Rewetting drops will likely help alleviate this condition. Slowly transitioning into contacts is important as well. I recommend four hours the first day and adding an additional two hours each day until you can wear them for a full day, or about 12 hours, comfortably.
Stay patient when trying contact lenses as it may take a little longer in the morning to get ready. Give yourself plenty of time inserting the lenses in the morning so you don’t feel rushed.
Your first contact lens fitting usually takes more time than a regular checkup.
In fact, it may take a few visits to get the right lenses. Be patient and try not to miss any follow- up visits. The benefits and freedom of contact lenses are worth your time on the front end.
Toric contact lenses for astigmatism may take 5-10 minutes or more to settle in the eye. Bifocal or multifocal contacts may take even longer. Allow your eyes time to adapt. Be patient with the doctor and yourself as you work together on finalizing your prescription for your specific needs. Don’t plan on the first set of contact lens trials (diagnostic lenses) to be your final prescription. Contact lenses can t differently on everyone. Your eye doctor will need to see how each lens settles on your eyes.
I highly recommend purchasing glasses as well as contacts. If your eyes become irritated or red, you need your glasses to wear until your eyes become comfortable again. In addition, if you get an eye infection or have any trauma to your eyes, such as a scratch, you may need to stay out of your contact lenses until your eye has healed. It’s also good to occasionally give your eyes a break from your contact lenses.
Remember, you can always wear contact lenses part time. Some patients only wear contact lenses for sports, weekend wear, special occasions or travel. Contact lenses are a great freedom from glasses. Give yourself time and enjoy!