Most people can wear contact lenses – it’s simply a matter of figuring out which type is best for you. The process is straightforward, starting with an appointment with your optometrist.
You’re sold on the benefits of contact lenses and ready to take the plunge. Unsure what to do next? Here’s everything you need to know about getting contact lenses, from talking with your optometrist to working through any problems and even figuring out your eligibility for Medicare.
First up, make an appointment with your optometrist and be sure to ask about contact lenses. “Optometrists might focus on the various glasses options available to help you see better, and might not include contact lenses as an option for vision correction,” advises Bupa optometrist Karen Makin. “This doesn’t mean you are not suitable for contact lenses, so it’s a good idea to raise the subject with your optometrist.”
Once you’ve had an eye test, it’s time to discuss your options. “Your optometrist will have a discussion with you about the reasons you want contact lenses and the different types that might be suitable,” says Makin. “The vast majority of people who want to wear contact lenses can.”
Next, you’ll trial the type of contact lenses your optometrist has decided is most suitable for you for a short period – usually a few days or weeks. You’ll also learn how to put in contact lenses and take them out, as well as how to clean and care for them. The good news is Bupa Optical optometrists offer free trial contact lenses (but be aware there might be a consultation charge) .
“This trial gives you the opportunity to feel what contact lenses are like in your eye and to get used to them at work, at home, at sport and during all the other activities you normally do to see how they work for you,” says Makin. “After the trial period you’ll have another appointment to see how it’s all going.”
If all goes well, you’ll be able to purchase three to 12 months’ supply of contact lenses – in person or online – in addition to your usual glasses prescription. “We always recommend having glasses as well,” says Makin.
If you experience any issues during the trial period, it’s important to chat to your optometrist, Makin says.
“Sometimes people might come back and say, ‘They feel great, but I feel my vision could be a little bit better’. So we might need to tweak that. Or they might say, ‘My vision’s great, but they’re not as comfortable as I hoped they might be’. And we might need to tweak that. It might be a change of lens material, lens design or brand of contact lenses.
“Don’t just let things be. Generally speaking, we can do something that will make things better so you can enjoy the convenience of wearing contact lenses.”
Medicare does not cover contact lenses, but it might be able to cover the related consultation.
“Medicare covers some contact lens consultations, but it depends on the prescription,” says Makin. “It tends to cover higher prescriptions where the glasses are getting too thick and heavy.”
Ultimately, Makin says, “it’s evaluated on a customer-by-customer basis and is up to the optometrist to decide. Your optometrist will be able to advise the costs involved once they have determined your prescription. This will allow you to make an informed decision based on convenience, cost and your lifestyle.”