OPHTHALMIC SURGEON
Specialist in Glaucoma, Cataract, Pediatrics

Everything you need to know about contact lenses

Do you wear contact lenses? Or would you like to have them? Wearing contact lenses offers real comfort on a daily basis. But unlike wearing glasses, impeccable hygiene is necessary: discover in this article the different types of contact lenses, learn how to take care of them and what to do and what to avoid. But also, discover how to react if you feel a significant ocular discomfort when you wear your lenses!

Contact lenses
Contact lenses

What are the different types of contact lenses?

You can wear contact lenses at any age, as we mentioned in our article helping you choose between glasses or contacts. Contact lenses are used to correct visual defects (myopia, astigmatisme, presbyopia, etc.). During your appointment your ophthalmologist, in some cases, will prescribe them for several visual problems at the same time.

There are two main families of contact lenses:

  • Rigid lenses: keep their designed shape, allow to compensate the most important or complex corrections;
  • soft lenses: increase the level of oxygen flow and comfort during daytime wear.

Depending on the type of lenses chosen above, you will not keep them for the same length of time:

  • Daily lenses : to be changed every day;
  • bi-monthly / monthly lenses: to be changed every 2 weeks or every month;
  • annual lenses : to be changed every 1 or 2 years.

Soft lenses are daily, bi-monthly or monthly. Rigid lenses, which retain their shape, are annual.

There are specific lenses for people with presbyopia:

  • Progressive contacts : like progressive lenses, allow a correction of the distance vision and the near vision;
  • bifocal contacts: no progressive transition, for a correction of accommodation related to either distance or near vision only.

Finally, here are some other types of contact lenses:

  • cosmetic lenses: purely aesthetic to change the color of the iris;
  • toric lenses: specific for astigmatism, can be soft or rigid;
  • mono-vision lenses: only one eye is equipped with a lens for near vision, and the other for distance vision.

Your ophthalmologist, or contactologist, will determine the type of lens that suits you. You will try out your first pair of lenses and take time to adapt to them. Afterwards, you can order lenses that provide you with real ocular comfort as well as good visual acuity.

How to take care of your contact lenses?

In order to take care of your contact lenses, we advise you to follow your ophthalmologist’s recommendations on frequent lens replacement. For example:

  • if you have daily lenses, do not wear them for more than one consecutive day; 
  • if you have monthly lenses, do not wear them for one additional week once the month is over…

Wearing contact lenses is an action that involves placing a foreign body directly on your cornea. It is important to follow the hygiene and sanitary advice to avoid any risk of ocular infection or complications.

Proper care allows you to keep your lenses in good condition and at peak performance throughout their duration. However, you may notice the presence of deposits (dust, makeup, etc.) that accumulate on your lenses during the day. They will then slow down the oxygenation of the eye, creating a sensation of dryness and discomfort.

Lens wearers, follow these tips for good lens care:

  • Keep them in a clean place;
  • Wash your hands with soap and dry them well;
  • Clean your lenses with a cleaning product adapted to your lens type (ask your optician or ophthalmologist for advice);
  • Rinse your case with the appropriate cleaning solution listed above; 
  • Always handle lenses with care to avoid damaging them: use the pad of your finger and be careful not to scratch them with your nails.

For reasons of risk of infection, it is forbidden :

  • to clean your hands with hydroalcoholic gel before handling your lenses;
  • to use water to wash your lenses or case.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that tap water contains parasites such as amoebas. If these get between the lens and your cornea, an infectious zone will develop, with the risk of serious or even irreversible infection.

Contact lenses: I feel discomfort, what should I do?

At the slightest sensation of discomfort, pain, irritation, inflammation or dryness, it is customary to remove the contact lenses as soon as possible and to wear your eyeglasses. You can then moisturize your eyes with physiological serum.

If you notice a decrease in tolerance to daily lenses, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist to discuss it.

Reasons for discomfort may include: 

  • wearing contact lenses at the pool, in the shower, etc. ;
  • air travel;
  • prolonged wearing of lenses (more than 12 hours)
  • the loan of colored lenses to a friend;
  • sleeping with your lenses;
  • not having the right cleaning product;
  • poor decontamination or care of the lenses. 

Taking care of your lenses is the first thing you should do to ensure good eye health. Thanks to this article, you now know the different types of lenses, how they should be handled and cleaned, and what to do in case of eye discomfort!

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