Contact lenses are popular for a reason – they make life much easier for many people with vision issues. However, they might not be the right option for everyone.
Contact lenses can be a total game-changer, providing you with greater freedom and flexibility. To help you decide whether they’re right for you, it’s important to understand what contact lenses do, as well as know who should not wear contact lenses.
First off, some basics. Contact lenses are synthetic lenses that sit on the surface of the eye, floating on the tear film that covers your cornea. Made of different types of plastic, their primary purpose is vision correction, assisting with issues such as age-related vision changes, long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism (blurred or distorted vision). With that said, contact lenses can also be worn for purely cosmetic reasons. 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.
The benefits of contact lenses include having your field of vision unblocked by spectacle frames and avoiding the ‘fog’ that glasses lenses sometimes get due to temperature changes.
Bupa optometrist Karen Makin says contact lenses offer convenience that glasses don’t. But you 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.
“Some people like to wear contact lenses just for appearance’s sake, so they feel better without wearing glasses. It’s useful for some kids as well.”
Makin says if you want contact lenses you’ll need to be prepared to comply with your optometrist’s instructions, including hygiene requirements.
Occasionally, she says, 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.
You might not be suited to contact lenses if you have:
The best way to decide whether contact lenses are right for you is by speaking to an optometrist, who can guide you on the right type for your needs. 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.