At Four Seasons Eye Care, we pride ourselves on providing the best contact lens service possible. That doesn’t mean fitting you with whatever lens is on sale that week, it means finding the contact lens that fits you properly, lets you see well, and most importantly, is healthy for your eyes. This is where our combined years of experience will benefit you.
Contact Lens Basics
Advancements in contact lens technology offer the potential of successful contact lens wear for most of our patients. A contact lens is a medical device that rests directly on your eye; therefore, it must fit appropriately to maintain good ocular health. A contact lens prescription can only be determined by the careful observation of the lens on the eye and the eye’s response to the lens. Follow-up appointments are essential to confirm that the contact lenses are fitting properly. It is your responsibility to keep all appointments and follow all lens care instructions.
Types of Contact Lenses
There are two major categories of contact lenses: Soft Contact Lenses and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses. Within these two major categories there are a number of types of lenses for solving different vision problems.
Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are made of soft, flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Soft contact lenses may be easier to adjust to and are more comfortable than rigid gas permeable lenses. Newer soft lens materials include silicone-hydrogels to provide more oxygen to your eye while you wear your lenses.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGPs) are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup. They tend to be less expensive over the life of the lens since they last longer than soft contact lenses. They are easier to handle and less likely to tear. However, they are not as comfortable initially as soft contacts and it may take a few weeks to get used to wearing RGPs, compared to several days for soft contacts.
Continuous Wear Contact Lenses
Continuous wear contact lenses are available for overnight or continuous wear ranging from one to six nights or up to 30 days. Continuous wear contact lenses are usually soft contact lenses. They are made of flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. There are also a very few rigid gas permeable lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear. Length of continuous wear depends on lens type and your eye care professional’s evaluation of your tolerance for overnight wear. It is important for the eyes to have a rest without lenses for at least one night following each scheduled removal.
Disposable (Replacement Schedule) Contact Lenses
The majority of soft contact lens wearers are prescribed some type of frequent replacement schedule. “Disposable,” as defined by the FDA, means used once and discarded. With a true daily wear disposable schedule, a brand new pair of lenses is used each day. Some soft contact lenses are referred to as “disposable” by contact lens sellers, but actually, they are for frequent/planned replacement. With extended wear lenses, the lenses may be worn continuously for the prescribed wearing period (for example, 7 days to 30 days) and then thrown away. When you remove your lenses, make sure to clean and disinfect them properly before reinserting.
Hybrid Contact Lenses
The hybrid contact lens combines a rigid gas permeable center and a soft lens skirt into one unique “hybrid” lens. The rigid center corrects farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism and delivers clear, high definition vision, even at night. The soft skirt surrounding the center provides the all-day comfort of a soft lens.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is a lens fitting procedure that uses specially designed rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses to change the curvature of the cornea to temporarily improve the eye’s ability to focus on objects. This procedure is primarily used for the correction of myopia (nearsightedness).
Overnight Ortho-K lenses are the most common type of Ortho-K. There are some Ortho-K lenses that are prescribed only for daytime wear. Overnight Ortho-K lenses are commonly prescribed to be worn while sleeping for at least eight hours each night. They are removed upon awakening and not worn during the day. Some people can go all day without their glasses or contact lenses. Others will find that their vision correction will wear off during the day.
The vision correction effect is temporary. If Ortho-K is discontinued, the corneas will return to their original curvature and the eye to its original amount of nearsightedness. Ortho-K lenses must continue to be worn every night or on some other prescribed maintenance schedule in order to maintain the treatment effect. Your eye care professional will determine the best maintenance schedule for you.
Decorative (Plano) Contact Lenses
Some contact lenses do not correct vision and are intended solely to change the appearance of the eye. These are sometimes called plano, zero-powered or non-corrective lenses. For example, they can temporarily change a brown-eyed person’s eye color to blues. Even though these decorative lenses don’t correct vision, they’re regulated by the FDA, just like corrective contact lenses.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral lenses are larger lenses made of gas permeable material used to correct vision in a number of conditions such as keratoconus, post-refractive surgery corneal issues, ocular surface disease, dry eye, and even normal refractive errors.
Prosthetic Contact Lenses
Prosthetic lenses are used to achieve an improved cosmetic appearance when an eye has a misshaped pupil. If two eyes appear different due to a pupil irregularity, prosthetic lenses can be designed to match the iris of the other eye.
Comprehensive Exam and Contact Lens Fitting
Before a patient can be fit with contact lenses, a complete medical and refractive eye examination is necessary. This exam is critical to assure your eyes are healthy enough for contact lens wear and to rule out the possibility of any unsuspected, underlying condition that may prevent contact lens use.
The goal of contact lens fitting is to find the most appropriate contact lens for each patient’s optimal vision and comfort. Four Seasons Eye Care offers a wide variety of types, materials, sizes and colors of contact lenses. We are committed to taking the time and effort to ensure your contact lenses fit properly and comfortably. Although many patients will need only one fitting session, sometimes this process requires several appointments. All first time contact lens wearers must go through the contact lens fitting process. We will not finalize the contact lens prescription until both the patient and the doctor are satisfied with the fit and visual acuity of the contact lens.
Learning to Use Your Contact Lenses
Four Seasons Eye Care will provide you with personalized instructions concerning the safe care, insertion and removal of your new contact lenses. If additional time is needed, it will be necessary to schedule a second 30-minute training session at a different time. Upon completion of successful insertion and removal, the patient may begin wearing the contact lenses and we will schedule the first follow-up appointment within two weeks.
Contact Lens Wear Schedule for New Patients
- Day 1: 4 hours
- Day 2: 6 hours
- Day 3: 8 hours
- Day 4: 10 hours
- Day 5: 12 hours
If discomfort or dryness occurs during your adaptation time do not force yourself to wear the lenses. Remove and continue with wear cycle the next day. Some patients take longer than others to acclimate to contact lenses.
As stated above, if redness and pain occurs call your eye care provider promptly.
Follow Up Care
Follow-up appointments are necessary to assure several things:
- The contact lenses are fitting and moving well
- The prescription is providing the best possible vision
- The eyes are remaining healthy
- There are no problems with insertion or removal
- The patient understands and complies with the recommended wearing schedule
Annual Contact Lens Exam
All patients are required to come in for an annual contact lens exam. This is necessary to confirm that your eyes are healthy and the contact lenses are still fitting well. If we are seeing you for the first time, and you have had a contact lens prescription from another office, we must have a copy of that prescription before your exam in this office. Otherwise, we will consider it a new fit, which we may not have time to complete in your initial visit, and additional costs will apply. Contact lens exams or fittings have a separate charge that is NOT included in your medical exam.
Contact Lens Care/ Tips
- Be sure to only use contact lenses that have been approved by your optometrist.
- Wash hands with soap and water prior to inserting or removing lenses.
- Prior to insertion, make sure the contact lens is not inside out.
- Rinse out the contact lens case after insertion and let case air dry.
- Do not re-use solution!
When taking out your lenses, follow the cleaning instructions listed below:
- Clean your lens by gently rubbing it in the palm of your hand in order to clean off any debris that may have accumulated.
- Rinse the lens with solution.
- Place in case with new solution to disinfect overnight.
- Change your contact lens case every 2-3 months.
- Use solution recommended by your Four Seasons Eye Care.
- Do not sleep in contact lenses unless previously discussed with your optometrist.
- Change lenses as recommended by your eye care professional. The usual changing cycle is: 1 month, 2 weeks, or daily.
- Check with your eye care professional if you are unsure of your contact lens changing schedule.
- If problems occur with your contact lenses — including red eyes, decrease in vision, discharge, or pain — remove the contact lenses and call Four Seasons Eye Care immediately.
Note: If you have long fingernails, consult an optician or team member for contact lens insertion and removal.
Some adaptive symptoms are normal for the first couple of weeks. These symptoms include a slight headache, foreign body sensation, dryness, and mild itching. These symptoms should clear up when all-day wear is achieved.
Abnormal symptoms include persistent pain, burning and excessive tearing, redness that does not clear up, hazy vision that remains more than one hour after removal, and abnormal sensitivity to light. If these symptoms occur at any time, you should remove the lenses and call Four Seasons Eye Care.
Note: Do not sleep in your lenses unless you were specifically fit with extended wear lenses. Should you fall asleep in your lenses, be sure to lubricate them well to loosen them before removal. Once the lens is moving freely on the eye, it can be removed. If only minor discomfort or a dry feeling exists, you can resume normal wear in 24 hours. If abnormal symptoms exist, contact our office.
Cleaning Solutions and Drops
There are different types of cleaning solutions available. We will provide you with the best solution for your needs.
Rewetting drops may be important for lubricating the eye and keeping the contact hydrated. To promote comfort, the lens must be well hydrated. Rewetting drops also keep debris from building up under the contact lens. Frequency of rewetting drop use varies from patient to patient. If you do a lot of close work, such as reading or working on a computer, you may experience more dryness because of the reduction in blinking. Certain medications such as antihistamines, diuretics, and birth control pills contribute to dryness as well. Do not use an eye drop that is not specified for contact lens use.