Contact lenses are a fantastic option for crisp vision when you’re just not in the mood to rock a killer pair of specs. You just need to be able to get them in your eyes first. The good news for you is that The Eye Shop is here to help! We are attaching some of our favorite videos below to help get you familiar with not just putting on and taking off contacts, but also the care and maintenance required with contact lens wear. This is an insertion and removal training (I&R for short).
Another great video is attached below. See if you can point out any subtle differences in how they insert and remove lenses.
Which method is correct?
The correct method is the one that allows you to safely and comfortably insert and remove a lens. You will undoubtedly develop your own method. We only ask that you always wash your hands before handling a lens, you care for the lens as directed by your doctor, and you exercise caution with your handling of contact lenses.
How long does this take?
You’ve probably seen a friend or family member put in or take out contacts within seconds. And that will be you… eventually. Like any other skill, contact lens insertion and removal can be slow going and frustrating at first. But stick with it and by the end of your first week you’ll be a pro! We schedule our trainings for a full hour. If you need more time, we schedule that evaluation for another day in order to give your eyes a break from the process.
Some patients are tempted to just take the lens home and figure it out on their own time. But it is important to note that a contact lens is a medical device regulated by the FDA and we must take special precaution in making sure a patient is given ample and adequate training for their device. See this video for more details:
Will I be able to try lenses right away?
For many patients; yes. However, some prescriptions are too unique to have on hand as trials and must be ordered. In this instance, your doctor will order a set of trials for you to perform your I&R with. They may take a few weeks to arrive, but once they do, we will schedule your I&R and you may be able to leave with those once complete.
Another consideration is coverage. We believe every first time contact lens wearer deserves our undivided attention for their I&R. With that in mind, the training portion of this exam may need to be scheduled for a different day depending on the staffing needs of the office.
You “graduate” from an I&R when you are able to insert and remove a lens on your own.
What are my options when it comes to soft contacts?
Much of this will depend on the specifics of your prescription, but we’ll want to talk about daily wear vs monthly contacts. First we’ll want to define what we mean by daily vs. monthly. These lenses are defined by when you throw them away. A daily lens is opened that morning, worn all day, and then thrown away that night. A monthly lens is opened, worn throughout the day, then removed, cleaned, and stored in a container of solution. That lens is then placed back on the eye the next morning. This process repeats itself for a month, at which point it is thrown away and a new lens is selected the next morning. Each modality has its pros and cons, which we’ll cover below.
Daily lenses tend to be more comfortable and convenient than monthly lenses. Since there is no need to clean the lens, this is an optimal choice for teens as it removes the variable of whether or not the lenses are being appropriately cleaned. They’re also optimal for adults as they dry out for less than monthly lenses. Since this is where most of the research and new tech comes from in the contact lens world (and more materials are used), daily lenses cost more than monthly lenses. Although it is important to note than this isn’t always true. Patients who only plan on wearing contact lenses once or twice a week may spend less on dailies than they would a monthly lens. This is because whether you wear a lens once or all 30 days, it MUST be thrown away after 30 days. So the patient that wears a lens only on the weekends will still a full year’s supply of monthly lenses, but only a 3 month supply of daily lenses.
Monthly lenses, whereas not as comfortable as dailies, are certainly not uncomfortable. Some patients seem to do just fine in a monthly lens. The price point is lower, too. However, if you already have dry eye and/or allergy issues, monthly lenses may not perform well over the long run. As far as safety is concerned, dailies are absolutely the safest option, but if a patient is careful in how they care for a lens on a daily basis a monthly lens can still be a safe option.
How long does it take to adapt to contact lenses?
This answer to this question is different for everybody. Much of this depends on the type of lens a patient is trying. Does it include astigmatism? Is it a multifocal or monovision setup? Your doctor will give you full details on the type of lens they are recommending and some general timeframes to consider. A typical strategy when starting is to wear them for 4 hours the first day, 6 hours the next, 8 the day after that, and so-on until you can get through your full day. Many patients will be comfortable with full-time wear on the first day while others may need to ramp up even slower.
What if my vision is blurry or the contacts aren’t comfortable?
We will want to perform a contact lens check in these cases. Try to adapt to your lenses as listed above, but if the vision is off and/or the lens is not comfortable, call our office to schedule a contact lens check. When you present to the office, it is critical you come in wearing your lenses. Ideally, they’ll have been on your eyes for at least an hour. This allows us to assess the lens once it has completely settled.
Now let’s get you in some contacts!
We look forward to seeing you for your I&R training! Questions? Call us at 480-656-7739.