If you’re new to contact lenses, they might be a little intimidating at first. Melissa O’Meara, a licensed optician and contact lens fitter at Vogue Optical in Charlottetown, answered some questions about what is involved in becoming a contact lens wearer.
1. What is involved in a contact lens fitting? Why would a person need one?
The New Wearer Contact Lens Fitting if the most detailed appointment. It is approximately one hour. We will take a case history and find out what our patient is looking to use contact lenses for, take a measurement so we can find the best fitting lens, and then we will show our patients how to insert and remove lenses. If the fit and visual acuities both look good and the patient is successful with insertion and removal, then they get to go home with some trial lenses. (If we do not have their prescription in stock, we will order trials in.)
The fitting is needed because contact lenses—since they are inserted directly into the eye—are a medical device. We need to make sure the lens isn’t too tight on the eye, isn’t too dry, and that visual acuities are good, just to mention a few reasons.
2. How often should a contact lens wearer get a contact lens fitting? Why?
A fitting should be done any time the patient changes to a new lens type, has a new prescription or has eye health troubles. It is also good to do a yearly follow-up appointment.
3. For those with sensitivities relating to touching their eyes, what are some tips for putting-in contact lenses that might help someone get over that discomfort?
It is helpful to watch someone you know put their lenses in and take them out so you can get another perspective. You can also practice holding your lids open (after washing your hands of course). This will help to form muscle memory and get your brain used to the sensation. The blink reflex is sometimes the toughest obstacle to overcome when learning to insert and remove contact lenses. Once you can get past this, things become quicker and easier.
4. Contact lens technology is constantly evolving. What is a product that you’re especially impressed with right now?
There is so much great new technology in contact lenses. Silicone Hydrogel is the material that will give your eye the most oxygen and keep it the healthiest. Each manufacturer will have their own unique formula. No matter if you are wearing a monthly or a 1-day lens, Silicone Hydrogel is important for your eye health. Some of my favorite products right now are 1-day lenses: Clariti and MyDay made by Cooper Vision, and 1-Day Oasys made by J&J.