After Care and Wearing Lenses
After care is ‘the secret of our success’ – our motto since 1973! This is one of the reasons we are so very different to every other optician fitting contacts. Contact Lens After Care today is predominantly carried out by Opticians whose training only covers the ‘anterior segment’ of the eye – the cornea, lids & sclera. The bare minimum Contact Lens check elsewhere involves simply checking the front of the eye, the vision and the fitting of Contacts. A procedure usually allocated only a 15 or 20 minute appointment.
Remember that damage caused by contacts can be very advanced before obvious to the wearer.
As dedicated Contact Lens Practitioners our Annual After Care Check covers the pathology of the whole eye, screening for eye diseases plus specialist Contact Lens checks which, are vital for your future ocular welfare. Every 2 years we also have to carry out a full Sight Test for glasses – OK we know you probably won’t want to wear them but it is optical law – and anyway everyone must have a spare pair for emergencies!
Our annual after care appointments are 30 minute slots – twice the time usually allocated elsewhere! But even before your check there is 10 – 20 minutes of pre-screening with specialist equipment many opticians don’t have.
Just as you should see a dentist once or twice a year, if you wear Contact Lenses you need to see an Optometrist or Contact Lens Practitioner once – or twice if you wear sleep-in Lenses – a year.
Things change – your eyes change, as you get older the composition of your tears change and advances in technology lead to improvements in lens design and the materials that lenses are made of. These improvements generally mean more comfort, more oxygen getting to the cornea and more choices for some of our more complex patients. Every year we’re asked to trial at least half a dozen new types of lenses. Put all of these factors together and the lenses that you’ve been wearing for years may not be the best ones for you now. That’s why you need to see us for regular check ups so that we can look for any changes in your eyes. Many “former” Lens wearers became that way because they failed to do this.
Your eye health and good vision is our number one priority, our aim is that wearing lenses should be a trouble free experience. If we see a potential problem we’ll take corrective action before it becomes an issue.
CHEAP CONTACT LENSES – there are still many cheap contact lenses available made from materials long since surpassed in safety by modern designs – these can often cause severe ocular problems because of poor oxygen supply and, not infrequently too little AFTER CARE!
Whether you’re wearing Flexible Oxygen Permeable or Soft Lenses, if you’re spending more time each day taking care of them than you are on brushing your teeth, something is wrong! Routine care for daily lenses involves nothing more than clean hands, a clean lens case and solution – nowadays one solution is often used for storing, cleaning and wetting, so no more rows of bottles on the bathroom shelf.
That’s for daily wear lenses discarded weekly up to annually, Daily disposable lenses or monthly sleep-ins take even less time as they only have to be inserted once……no cleaning or storing involved. In fact if soft lenses are the best choice for you the new 30 day sleep-in Silicone- Hydrogel lenses are likely to be the ones we suggest. These let up to 5 times more oxygen get to the cornea than most daily wear lenses and since you are likely to touch them only 12 times a year the risk of infection from handling is virtually nil.
Look at our Care Manual for a more detailed description of your daily or monthly routine.
We make sure you know how to handle your lenses before you leave The Practice.
With good hygiene wearing lenses is an easy and painless process. Having said that there are a couple of things that can occasionally cause problems – generally through no fault of your own.
The first of these is Conjunctivitis often referred to as a “cold in the eye”. Contact Lens wearers are no more immune to this than the rest of the population – nor with proper handling of lenses should they be any more prone to it than anyone else Conjunctivitis is usually an infection characterised by redness, and a weepy or thick discharge. Poor hygiene when handling lenses can cause an infection or it can be caught from someone else like the common cold.
Conjunctivitis is not always infective but can also be allergic in origin. Hayfever sufferers who get itchy sore eyes have usually contracted allergic conjunctivitis from pollens but other irritants such as dust, animal fur etc can cause similar symptoms. In addition Contact Lenses that have not been cleaned adequately can build up proteins on their surfaces which can also induce an allergic reaction. IF this is happening it will be picked up in your After Care visit.
If you suffer or have suffered with Conjunctivitis it is NOT a contra-indication for Contact Lens wear but may influence our choice of the best Contact Lens material to fit you with.
If you have/suspect that you have an infection, come and see us as soon as possible and we’ll advise you on the best course of action.
Another problem that can affect lens wearers is insufficient oxygen getting to the corneal surface under the Contact Lens. If this occurs the chances are you will not be aware of it until it is quite advanced. That is why annual after-care checks are so important. Unlike most opticians we have a Specular Microscope which allows us to see cells at the very back of the cornea – where problems first show themselves – at 400 times magnification, so we can spot a potential problem before any damage has occurred.