Contact Lens Myths & Facts
Thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web, everyone nowadays has instant access to an overwhelming amount of data on contact lenses. Much of this info is solid and evidence-based, but, if we’re being honest, a whole lot of what you read on the Web is pure rubbish.
Unfortunately, some of the phony contact lens “horror stories” online could deter people interested in trying contacts for the first time. Alternatively, some contact patients might believe false “hygiene tips” and end up with eye infections.
Here in our Education Portal, we strive to bring the UK’s roughly 3 million contacts-wearers the most accurate, scientific-based info on contacts and eye hygiene. So, in this post, we’re going to expose some of the most commonly believed myths surrounding contact lens design, health, and hygiene. By the time you finish this piece, we promise you’ll feel more empowered, both as a contact lens consumer and user.
Fact Versus Fantasy: Debunking 8 Commonly Held Contact Lens Myths
1. Contacts Can Get Lost Behind A Person’s Eyes
It’s physically impossible for a contact lens to get stuck behind your eyes. Don’t believe us? This image of an eye, with a close-up of the conjunctiva clearly shows how your eye is a "sealed unit" which is why contacts cannot slip into your brain.
Not only does the clear conjunctiva cover the outer surface of the eye, but it also wraps around the back of the eyelids. This fold in the conjunctivas (called the fornix) creates an impenetrable barrier for contact lenses and any other debris that might get caught in your eyes.
It is possible, however, to get a contact lens stuck under the eyelids. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to dislodge one of these contacts by closing your eyes and gently guiding the contact back into place with your fingers. You might have to use quite a few re-wetting drops to properly move the contact lens into place.
If you can’t get the contact lens out of your inner eyelid on your own, then you should call an optometrist for professional help. Leaving contacts behind your eyelids could put you at greater risk for infections and eye damage - although it is safe to do so overnight.
2. Contact Lenses Are Uncomfortable
Contact lenses should not feel uncomfortable, if they do, discuss this with your Optometrist, she/he will need to assess and maybe adjust your fitting.
Once you have been fitted for contact lenses and become confident in inserting and removing your lenses you will soon find you forget you are wearing them. Daily disposable contact lenses are particularly comfortable as a fresh clean pair is used every day leaving little time for protein deposits and bacteria to build up.
3. Contacts Can Get Permanently Stuck To Your Eye
There’s no chemical in contact lenses that would allow them to remain stuck to your eyes. However, most contact lens wearers will have experienced their contact lenses feeling stuck on occasion, particularly last thing at night after a drink or two, this is normally due to dehydration and dry eyes.
Never attempt to pull off a "stuck" contact lens you may damage your eyes, apply a few rewetting drops, close your eye and massage gently, your lens should then be able to be removed in the usual way.
4. Contact Lenses Are A Lot Of Hassle to Take Care Of
Modern contact lenses take little or no time to take care of, the simplest lenses to take care of are daily disposable contact lenses, you simply put a new, fresh clean pair of lenses in every morning, take them out and bin them every evening - what could be simpler?
Monthly disposable contact lenses are the most time consuming as when you remove them at night you need to clean and store them ready for wear the next day, but even this only takes a couple of minutes once you get used to the routine.
It could be said that continuous wear contact lenses are hassle free as you insert a new, fresh, clean pair of contact lenses at the beginning of the month and remove them and dispose of them at the end of the month, however continuous wear lenses are not for everyone, and many people find they need to remove them for a clean and soak after a week or two's wear.
Once you are used to your contact lenses and their care, it could be said that taking care of contact lenses daily is quicker than removing your glasses and hunting for their case.
5. Contact Lenses Fall Out All The Time
Cases of soft contact lenses falling out of people’s eyes aren’t unheard of, but they are pretty rare. Thanks to advances in modern contact lens design, it usually takes a great amount of stress to dislodge a soft contact from your eyes.
You should get in touch with your optometrist ASAP if your contact lenses are always falling out. There are many potential reasons why this could be happening, here are a few of the most common explanations:
• Improperly fitting lenses
• Dry eye syndrome
• Frequent eye rubbing
• Playing high-intensity sports
We should note, however, that rigid gas permeable lenses are far more susceptible to falling out of patients’ eyes than soft contact lenses. This is simply due to the fact that gas permeable lenses aren’t designed to conform to a patient’s eyes as well as soft contacts.
You can learn more about why contacts fall out of people’s eyes in this previous post we wrote.
6. Contact Lenses Are Expensive
Contact lenses need not be expensive, depending on where you buy them on on what brand you wear the cost of contact lenses can vary significantly.
Buying online can certainly save you money and time if you go for an own brand contact lens like Crystal then daily contact lenses can work out as little as 46p per day!! and monthly lenses are just £2.50 per month!! but remember you will need to add solution costs to monthly lenses.
7. Children and Teenagers Can't Wear Contact Lenses
This is simply not true, contact lenses can be fitted at any age, even babies as young as 1 month have been successfully fitted with contact lenses, but this is unusual and normally only in exceptional circumstances. According to the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) children as young as 8 years old can be successfully fitted with contact lenses and can find they make a significant improvement in their quality of life.
Most Optometrists feel by the time a child is 11 years old they are competent enough to take on the responsibility of handling contact lenses.
8. I'm Too Old To Wear Contact Lenses
As the saying goes you are never too old - even for contact lenses. As you age so do your eyes and whereas older people used to turn to bi-focal glasses and then multi-focal or progressive glasses the same goes for contact lenses. Most manufacturers now have a range of Multi-Focal or Varifocal contact lenses both in Daily and monthly options, if you feel yourself struggling to read a newspaper or menu then speak to your Optometrist about your contact lens option, no matter what your age.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 26 Jun 2016, Last modified: 3 Jan 2023