Besides vision correction, convenience, and freedom from eyeglasses, comfort is one of the advantages of wearing contact lenses and is arguably the most important since it will determine your overall satisfaction with them. Beyond the initial selection and fitting of your contacts, there are some things you can do to ensure your lenses remain comfortable.
Keeping your lenses clean and replacing them as instructed by both your eye doctor and lens manufacturer is always important. Many may think that they are getting the most out of their contacts by ‘extending’ the wear time beyond what is recommended; or that it won’t hurt to skip just one cleansing. These habits not only lead to lens discomfort, but also threaten your eye health.
Avoid prolonged exposure to dusty or dry environments. The minute debris that is found in the air can get between your eye and contact lens and limits the time you are able to wear them in these situations.
Mild forms of dry eye (which affect tear production essential for comfortable contact lens wear) can be managed by drinking a plentiful supply of water and cutting down on high intakes of caffeine or alcohol, substances which contribute to dry eye. Hours of computer use at one sitting reduce blinking that is necessary to replenish tears, so establish a routine of taking frequent breaks from the screen. Smoking should stop immediately for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is the effect it has on eye health and satisfying lens wear.
When it comes to providing comfort, contact lens manufacturers have more than met us half way—especially in recent years. Available now are silicone hydrogel soft contacts that transmit greater amounts of oxygen, resulting in longer wear times and healthy eyes. Daily disposable lenses do away with having to bother about cleaning altogether, just remove them at the end of the day and replace them with a fresh pair the next morning.
More serious obstacles to contact lens comfort include allergies and medical conditions, which may be hurdled by consulting your doctor. Many times there are treatment options in these cases that will keep you in contacts. Problems such as not seeing well and having eyes that do not look or feel good should always be evaluated to determine whether or not there is a more serious underlying concern.
For most of us, there is no reason why comfort and contacts should not go hand in hand. Do not give up on your lenses or suffer in silence if you feel your comfort level is not quite right. By taking the time to investigate the reasons why, you stand a good chance of improving your contact lens experience.
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