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Contact Lenses FAQ

  Contact Lenses FAQ

What kinds of contacts are available?
There are soft lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses and hard lenses, which are rarely prescribed and difficult to find. There are also different material types, replacement schedules and wear schedules. There are different replacement schedules, such as disposable contacts last from one day to two weeks, conventional soft contacts that last about a year; conventional RGPs that last several years and frequent or planned replacement contact lenses last one to several months. There are also special-wear contact lenses, such as bifocals, multifocals, colored contacts, recreational contacts and even ortho-k contacts that correct your vision even when you're not wearing them.

Where to buy contact lenses?
You can order contact lenses from your eye doctor, over the phone or off the Internet. The best place to buy them depends on availability, cost and more. If you know the lens exists, you must visit your eye doctor to get it, even if you don't need vision correction. The FDA considers contacts to be medical devices because you put them in your eyes, and has put guidelines in effect for your safety. Plus, each contact lens and each person's eyes are a little different, so the doctor needs to perform a specialized fitting for you.

How do I take care and maintain contact lenses?
First, you must follow the directions given to you by your eye-practitioner. Each type of lens has its own set of peculiarities and each needs different solutions and cleaning regimes. There are certain steps you need to take in order to ensure that your eyes stay healthy and your contacts last as long as possible. The only exceptions are daily disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts. With these, you throw them out when you're done wearing them, so there's no care regimen at all.

When to wear contact lenses: Today more and more adolescents are wearing contacts and there is some confusion as to which age is first suitable to contact use. The answer to that depends entirely on how responsible you are. This decision is best made jointly between you, your parents and your eye doctor. If you are an adult that hasn't worn contacts for a long time and wants to return to using them, there should be no problem after a consultation with an eye specialist and an up-to-date evaluation of your contact prescription-which is not the same as your eye glasses! If you have never worn them before and want to begin now, depending on your eye sensitivity and whether you have soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, your eyes could adjust to wearing contact lenses from a day to two weeks. Some people find that their eyes never adjust, but that's quite rare.

The cost of various contact lenses: the big question today usually evolves around disposable lenses, and these are far and away the healthiest choice. In a world growing more and more conscious of environmental pollutants and poisons in our food and water, its especially important we take care of our eyes, as well. Many doctors highly recommend both disposable and frequent replacement contact lenses because there is less opportunity for protein and bacteria to build up on them. Also, if you wear daily disposable contact lenses, which are discarded at the end of the day, you won't need to buy cleaning solutions for them. However, this isnt the cheapest solution and rigid, extended-wear contacts are probably the least expensive in the long run. Comparison shopping is the best way to save money, so going to a few optometrists and maybe going on-line to check prices is a goof first step to buying contact lenses.

The need for regular check-ups: People often don't understand that eyesight changes just as rapidly as any other process within our bodies. As the years progress, our prescriptions change- sometimes even, for the better. There is also another big difference between your eye-glass prescription and your contact prescription, as the contact actually sits on the eye, while glasses are some distance from it. If you want to get contacts, you must visit your eye specialist to get an evaluation, but of you really care about your eyes, you will do this as a regular, yearly event. Many people are asked to come back because the optometrist wants to be sure that you're not having any problems, such as an improper fit or too much bacteria building up on the lenses. Every year you should check whether your prescription has changed and to check for any eye diseases, which are best treated in their early stages before any vision loss can occur.

Can an eye-doctor refuse to give you your contact lens prescription: But in late 2003 a federal law was passed that gives all U.S. consumers the right to have a copy of their contact lens prescription. The law went into effect in February 2004. Until recently, laws on this issue varied from state to state in the United States . Some eye doctors felt that if they gave out contact lens prescriptions, some of their patients would stop going in for regular eye exams. These check-ups are important, because they not only determine prescription changes, but they can also catch serious diseases in their early, more treatable states.

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