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On social media lately, we have been noticing that adverts keep popping up for offers on internet-based contact lenses.

Many of you may not know the ins and outs of contact lens wearing and may be tempted to order these lenses online. There is a lot of protocol needed to wear contact lenses safely, after all they are plastic discs going directly on to the eye.

There are many different brands and types of contact lenses in the market. You can have monthly, two weekly or daily wear lenses. There are lenses for spherical vision, astigmatism, multifocal, hard lenses and soft lenses. Some people wear one lens, so they have monovision allowing them to adapt to combine distance and reading vision.

Every brand can differ so one daily lens may agree with you perfectly whilst a daily lens by a different brand may not agree at all.

It is imperative that if you are interested in contact lenses then you need to pay a visit to your opticians.

The system we have for new contact lens wearers is as follows.

  1. We check your current prescription and discuss which type of lenses (daily/monthly etc) you are interested in. If your prescription is out of date, then we book you in for your standard eye test first. We order in some trial lenses that the optician is most suited to you and what you are interested in.
  2. We book you in for a contact lens trial and teach appointment. The optician will take you into the consultation room and put the contact lenses in for you and check the vision and fit of them on your eye. You then go for a little wander or wait in the waiting area for twenty-thirty minutes, so the lenses can settle in the eye and you can see how they feel. The optician will then take you back into the consultation room to double check everything.
  3. If you and the optician are happy with the fit and feel of them, we then take you through to the teaching area. During this time our optical advisors will teach you how to take the lenses out and put them in. Also, important issues such as the maintenance of your lenses (cleaning, storing etc) cleaning your hands thoroughly before inserting/removal etc. this process varies on each patient some people can do it within ten minutes whereas some patients may need to come back a few times to go over the teach before they get the hang of it.
  4. Once you can insert and remove the lenses properly we give you a supply of trial lenses and book you in for a return consultation for a week or two later. On this return appointment you can discuss any problems you may have had such as dryness or irritation with the optician. The optician will once again check the fit of them. If you are happy with them you can then go ahead and order a supply in 1, 3 or 6-month batches (depending on type of lenses) if you feel that they aren’t quite right then we can order a different type of lens for you to trial and the process can be repeated until we find the best lenses for you.

Contact lenses come in different shapes and sizes and differ in materials. There have been so many reports of some serious ailments after people have purchased novelty lenses especially at Halloween time. Patients need to be aware that if you are buying a lens from an online company, especially if you haven’t been taught how to properly out them in and take them out it can cause serious damage to your eye.

Unauthorised contact lenses carry risks such as corneal ulcers, corneal abrasion, vision impairment and in severe cases, blindness. This isn’t scaremongering, we just want everyone to be aware of the dangers and be safe.

Online lenses may seem like a convenient and cheaper option, but you don’t receive the help or care you get from an optician. After care is just as important as initial care and when ordering online you are just an online buyer.

At Penarth eye centre we are more than happy to talk about all the different options you have as a consumer of contact lenses. If you have any questions or are interested in them, please contact us to discuss your options.

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