Many people love wearing contact lenses because they’re fuss-free, give you more flexibility, and you get a whole new look without the need to wear glasses. But they might not be right for everyone.
So what are they? Well, contact lenses are basically synthetic lenses that float on the surface of the eye, sitting lightly on the tear film that covers your cornea. They’re made of special types of plastic – and although small, they’re powerful for correcting vision, and can be good for age-related vision changes like long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism (blurred or distorted vision). And of course, they can also be worn for purely cosmetic reasons.
We all know glasses can be fussy things, and a pain to clean (and find!). That’s why Bupa optometrist Karen Makin says contact lenses offer convenience that glasses don’t - but you’ll still need to have a good pair of glasses on hand for times when contacts aren’t recommended.
“Contact lenses are fantastic for people who play sport or are active in other ways – for example, playing with the kids, conducting physical work or going to the gym, and may not want to wear glasses,” she says. “People over the age of 40 or 45 often think that they can’t wear contact lenses, but there are contact lenses for them too. And some people just love the new look they get from them.”
Occasionally, an optometrist will notice an eye health issue that makes you unsuitable for contacts. “The optometrist is the person who will ultimately determine whether you’ll be suitable for contact lenses or not,” advises Makin. “And even if they do, you’ll need to be prepared to comply with your optometrist’s instructions, including thorough hygiene requirements.
So what conditions might not be good for wearing contact lenses? You might not be suited to contact lenses if you have:
The best advice? Speak to your optometrist, and they’ll guide you to the best result for you. It’s also good to know that Bupa Optical optometrists offer free trial contact lenses so you can get used to the feel of contacts (consultation fees may apply). Find out how you can get contact lenses.
For more information about what contact lenses do, read our need-to-know guide. For more information about the different types of lenses, read about which type on contact lenses might be right for you.