COSMETIC CONTACT LENSES BLOG
Contact lens safety awareness week happens every year at the end of August. The campaign this year focused on improved contact lens hygiene and wearing habits. For patients that wear contact lenses, ocular health should be evaluated at least annually. It is very important to ensure that enough oxygen is getting through the contact lens to reach the front surface of the eye. Additionally, the lenses must have enough movement to ensure proper fit. Poor fitted lenses can result in permanent damage to the eye including infections and scarring. Other complications of contact lenses can include scratches, allergic reactions and contact lens intolerance.
We wanted to focus this month’s blog on contact lenses because of the increased interest in cosmetic lenses for Hallowe’en! Let’s start with the proper recommendations for proper wear and care of contacts:
The best way to prevent any problems from contact lenses is to care for your lenses and follow these simple steps.
NEVER sleep, NEVER swim, NEVER shower in your lenses. Avoiding contact with water will help reduce the risk of infection.
ALWAYS wash and dry your hands prior to insertion and removing your contact lenses. Never handle your contact lenses with wet hands.
ALWAYS use proper contact lens solution to clean and soak your lenses. NEVER use anything other than contact lens solution to store or clean your lenses. Replace your contact lens case at least every 3-4 months.
Give your eyes at least one day rest during the week from the contacts. This is why it is important to have back-up glasses.
Remove your contacts and return to an eye care professional IMMEDIATELY if you experience any pain or redness from the contacts.
Have an eye exam once per year to assess the fit of the contacts and health of the eyes.
Always abide by the proper replacement schedule for your lenses. For example, monthly lenses must be replaced every 30 days and daily wear lenses should never be re-used.
Choosing the Right Lenses?
Not all lenses are created equally! There are a number of factors that your health care professional considers when fitting you in a contact lens.
Curvature: the curvature of the lens must match the curvature of your eye to optimize the contact lens fit. Your optometrist takes measurements to determine which lens is the most appropriate for your eye. If you have a perfect spherically shaped eye (similar to baseball), your contact lens prescription will differ from if you have an oval shaped eye (similar to a football). The measurements on your contact lens prescription are not chosen at random. Thus, it is very important to have a health care professional fit your contact lens and observe the movement of the contact on your eye to make sure that it is moving enough and is centered properly. This will keep the eyes healthy and also ensure that you will be seeing your best.
Material: as technology improves, the materials used to make contact lenses also improve! The most current materials allow more oxygen to permeate through, which means the front surface of the eye stays healthier. This material is known as “silicone hydrogel”. The more breathable material is also more comfortable and this mimics the natural state of not wearing anything on the eye. When comparing the cost of contact lenses, varying price tends to depend on the material used. Older materials, known as “hydrogel” lenses, tend to be less expensive but are more associated with complications. It is important to discuss material options with your optometrist to determine which lenses are best for your eye.
Disposability: how often should the lens be replaced? Many patients will admit that they change their lenses when they start to feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, lenses are designed with a replacement schedule and approved by Health Canada depending on this design. If you wait until the lenses no longer feel good on your eye, chances are you’ve waited too late. The healthiest modality is daily replacement where you wear the lens once and throw away at the end of the day. This ensures that a fresh lens is put into the eye each day.
Lastly, we will end on the blog on the topic of cosmetic contacts and how they differ from prescription corrective contact lenses!
Cosmetic/ Hallowe'en Lenses
Most decorative contact lenses are made from a “hydrogel” material. Hydrogel soft contact lenses have been around for several years. As the technology has changed, contact lens materials have become more breathable. Unfortunately, the vibrant colours required to give cosmetic lenses their appearance cannot be made of the more breathable contact lens materials. (We have very limited options for silicone hydrogel cosmetic lenses). This is why wearing cosmetic lenses for a special occasion is appropriate but should be discouraged for full time wear.
Not only is it extremely dangerous to obtain medical devices from an unlicensed vendor – it’s also against the law! As of July 2017, Bill C313 has come into effect, which regulates the distribution and sales of decorative contact lenses (contacts used to change the look or colour of the eye) as Class ll medical devices in Canada. This means that manufacturers who want to sell decorative contact lenses in Canada must obtain a medical device license before advertising or selling them.
Hallowe’en lenses require a prescription to be ordered and are available in both corrective and non-corrective prescriptions. There are some restrictions regarding lenses that can be ordered with correction. If you are interested in being fit with Hallowe’en cosmetic lenses, please give our office a call at 306-719-2020 to inquire.
**Please note that prior to being fit with contacts, you require to have had a recent eye exam (within the past 12 months) with a valid glasses prescription.**
Have a safe and spooktacular Hallowe’en!!
1705 Park Street ● Regina, SK. ● S4N 2G3
Phone: 306-719-2020 ● Fax: 306-719-2021