What Are The Best Contacts Lenses For First Time Users?
There are so many different types of contact lenses available on the market today, it can be a difficult choice to make. It's even harder for a first time lens wearer, since there is no previous experience to work with. With dozens of terms, materials, and practices to learn, where is someone supposed to begin?
Try Soft Contact lenses - they are the most comfortable!
Many resources are available that will explain all the different types of contact lenses, but for the first time wearer, the best option is probably going to be soft contacts. Compared to rigid gas permeable lenses or hybrid lenses, soft contacts are by far the most comfortable and the easiest to get used to. If you've never had a lens placed directly on your eye before, it can feel very unusual at first, but it shouldn't be irritating or uncomfortable at all. Soft contact lenses usually don't take very long to get used to, and for most people, in just a few days they can't feel them at all while wearing them. By comparison, even seasoned contact lens veterans may need several weeks to achieve similar results from rigid lenses.
Another good recommendation for a first time wearer is to choose daily wear lenses over extended wear lenses. Extended wear lenses do offer the convenience of not having to insert your lenses every morning, and remove them every night, but that's not an easy transition for your eyes to make. For new wearers, it's a good idea to only wear your new lenses for a few hours at a time for the first few days, building up slowly to a full days worth of time. This provides the added benefit of getting to practice the inserting and removing the lenses. It might be awkward at first, and may take several minutes at a time, but eventually they can go in and out in just seconds.
One of the options available to new wearers is in regards to replacement frequency, and there really isn't one best option in this area. On one end of the spectrum are the daily disposable lenses, which are replaced each and every day, as the name implies. The upside is that you don't need to worry about cleaning and storing your lenses every night, or worry about buildup that accumulates on the lenses over time. Because there's so much to learn when first starting out, it's nice to have one less thing to worry about. On the other hand, the cleaning and care practices are something that should be known and understood, just in case. So perhaps it's a good idea to consider the other options before deciding. In addition, daily lenses are more expensive than monthly wear lenses - but you do save money on solutions and care products.
The other main category is soft monthly wear standard lenses (or two weekly wear lenses). These need replacing every month (or every two weeks) and will need removing each night, cleaning and storing in fresh contact lens solution. The best choice is the one that fits your needs and budget. If you have trouble deciding, your eye care professional will be glad to help you.
Finally, there are extended wear lenses - you can wear them for up to a month at a time (day and night) and replace them at the end of the month. So no solutions or cases - although a lot of eye care professionals recommend that you remove them overnight once a week and clean and store them. It gives your eyes a break.
The best lens meets your needs
Ultimately, the best lens is the one that fits your personal needs. Whatever it was that first inspired you to choose contact lenses over glasses is what you should focus on. Once that requirement is met, then you can continue to check of the rest of the boxes as well. Whether that be myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or any other type of vision problem, or if it's that standard eye glasses interfere with your active lifestyle, are uncomfortable, or just don't look very good.
Remember than contacts are designed to fit your eye, and that not all lenses are the same. If a lens that you wear feels uncomfortable or irritating, stop wearing it. At best it’s going to be an annoying distraction, and at worst it could cause serious injury to your eye. Discuss how the lenses feel with your eye doctor, and he or she may be able to determine the problem and suggest a better fitting lens.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 11 Sep 2016, Last modified: 10 Feb 2020