To fit you with contact lenses, we will need an up to date spectacle prescription, or else we will need to test your eyes to get one.
We will ask you various questions about your general health, any regular medicines you may be taking, eye history, allergies, your occupation and tasks done at work (paticularly VDU usage), and maybe as hobbies,and also about what you hope contact lenses will do for you.
The obvious answer is “see without glasses”, but when do you want to wear contact lenses? Just socially? For sport only? Or would you hope to wear them most of the time- almost instead of glasses? It can be difficult to answer, until you know how comfortable they will be, and trust us, they will be comfortable! Most people who look for contacts are younger patients, who initially would hope to wear them socially and for sports, but very soon are wearing them a lot more than they expected. That is no problem, we can review the type of wear you now need, and perhaps might recommend a different type of lens- at least to try it.
We will make some measurements of the shape of your eyes, to determine what lenses will fit the best, and also examine the front of your eyes with a high powered microscope, called a slit lamp biomicroscope- it is essential to check this eye health initially and on an ongoing basis. Initially to document what the eyes were like before contact lens wear, and later on to ensure that no changes are occurring- any change, no matter how microscopic is undesirable. Ideally the eyes of a contact lens wearer will look exactly the same as a non contact lens wearer, and with the lens types available these days this can be achieved.
Next, once the lens type has been chosen, many optometrists would apply a pair of lenses to your eyes and then send you off for a half hour walkabout, to let them settle down. After a quick check of the fitting and the strength you would then be passed to an assistant to be shown how to get the lenses in and out, and how to handle and care for them. You would then leave the store as a contact lens wearer, with your newly purchased lenses.
We prefer to issue you with free of charge trial lenses to begin with, mainly because 1/2 an hour is not long enough to let the lenses fully settle down- you have a foreign body in your eye, which whilst it may not be uncomfortable, will cause some slight tearing. Tearing causes the lens to be more moist than it normally would, causing increased movement, which causes increased tearing, which causes increased movement……. We prefer to teach you ourselves how to get the lenses in and out, how to care for them, the “dos and don’ts” of contact lens wear, the risks, the signs of a problem, and what to do about it if there is a problem- did your optometrist give you a contact number you could call out of hours should you need to? Fortunately my mobile has not yet rung with a patient with a problem, but the number is there just in case.
We would then send you off for a week or so to let you and your eyes settle into lens wear, to try them where you need, or want to use them, and to see what your end of wear comfort would be like- there is no point in selling you lenses after a half an hour trial, if you were to find them uncomfortable or unwearable after 3 hours. That would not happen very often, but it can. We would ask you to come in for your first contact lens check having had the lenses in for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably 4, to ensure they have fully settled down.
We can then discuss if that type of lens is suiting your lifestyle, have a look at you vision, and the fitting of the lens, and then have a look to ensure your eyes are tolerating them properly. At that point we might both decide to go with those lenses, or perhaps another pair of trial lenses might be a better option- many people start on daily disposable lenses, and very quickly want to swap to monthly replacement, as they are wearing them more than they expected.