How do contact lenses work?
Contact lenses are small prescription lenses that float on the tear film layer on the surface of the cornea (the front of your eye). They function much like regular glasses—refracting and focusing light so that objects appear clearly. However, since the lenses sit in the tear fluid on your eye surface, they move naturally with you.
What are the different types of contact lenses and which ones would you recommend?
There are two main types of soft contact lenses: daily disposables and reusables.
Daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn for one day and then thrown away—no additional cleaning is required.
Reusable contact lenses are worn for a month (or occasionally two weeks) and then changed for a new pair. They require removal and cleaning with a special contact lens solution every night.
Contact lenses also fit different needs, such as those suffering from short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism—a common condition whereby the eye is rugby-ball shaped rather than round, resulting in blurred vision. Presbyopia is another condition that affects the over 40s where close-up objects start to look blurry.
Silicone hydrogel is the latest material technology for contact lenses and increases the amount of oxygen that can reach the eye, enabling longer wear times and whiter eyes compared to older hydrogel lenses.
Your optician will help you decide on the best lens to suit your needs and your lifestyle.
Who can wear contact lenses and from what age can they be recommended?
Almost everyone can benefit from contact lens wear including children—there’s no reason why age should be a barrier. Most eyesight problems can be corrected with contact lenses, and advances in lens materials and solutions mean that wearing contact lenses is simpler, more convenient and more comfortable than ever before.
Research has shown that contact lenses are as safe for children as they are for adults. Studies have also shown that contact lenses can help with improving children’s self perception of physical appearance, athletic competence and social acceptance.
What happens during a contact lens examination or fitting?
Fitting includes discussing your visual and lifestyle requirements, plus an assessment of the front of your eye to help the recommendation of lens type. A pair of lenses may be placed on your eye for you to experience what they are like and help the eye care practitioner check the fit.
What are the best methods for storing and handling lenses at home?
Hygiene is one of the most important factors in preventing eye infections. For monthly contact lenses, your optician will have provided you with advice on how to clean your lenses, along with a case to store them in overnight.
Always clean your case with fresh solution—never tap water as this can contain impurities and microorganisms. Also, don’t leave your case near the toilet or in humid places, which allow mildew and germs to build up.
Applying and removing lenses takes some practice, but soon becomes as natural as brushing your teeth. Your optician will help you get used to handling your lenses and will be on hand to give you advice. Online resources are also available.
Are contact lenses affordable?
Contact lenses are available to suit every budget, often only about a pound a day, and can deliver many advantages over glasses, particularly for sports and outdoor activities. Some of these benefits include better all-round vision, not having anything on your face, a more natural appearance, no worry over them getting broken or falling off, as well as no lens fogging.
Are contact lenses safe?
Contact lenses are a very popular and successful way of correcting your vision, and problems are thankfully rare. Improper handling and cleaning of contact lenses can increase the risks of eye infections, which is why it is vital to follow the care instructions provided by your optician and contact lens and solution manufacturers. Never start or switch contact lenses without consulting your optician, and never let tap water come into contact with your lenses.
What can be done to keep eyesight healthy and are there ways to prevent vision deterioration?
While you may be aware that you should always wear protective glasses during hazardous activities, there are other dangers we need to be aware of. These include the sun’s UV rays and digital eyestrain through prolonged close-up computer work. Time spent outdoors for children and use of good lighting when reading can help reduce the risk of short-sightedness.
Regular eye examinations are vital in maintaining your eye health so your optician can give more specific advice.
Can contact lenses be worn with eye prescriptions such as astigmatism?
Yes. Almost all prescriptions can now be corrected with contact lenses, including astigmatism. These lenses are also known as ‘toric’ lenses.
Are measures being taken to make contact lens production environmentally sustainable?
CooperVision advises wearers that contact lenses should always be disposed of responsibly in the bin and not be put down the drain or flushed down the toilet. CooperVision champions sustainable practices globally, and is the only major contact lens manufacturer to publicly report its environmental efforts: CooperVision Sustainability Report Card.
CooperVision is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses and related products and services.
 Bullimore, M, The Safety of Soft Contact Lenses in Children OPTOMETRY AND VISION SCIENCE VOL. 94, NO. 6, PP. 00Y00.
 Walline JJ et al, The Adolescent and Child Health Initiative to Encourage Vision Empowerment (ACHIEVE) study Optom Vis Sci. 2006 Jan;83(1):37-45.
 Global Trends in Myopia Management Attitudes and Strategies in Clinical Practice. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2016; 39:106-16.
 Rose KA, Morgan IG, Ip J, et al. Outdoor Activity Reduces the Prevalence of Myopia in Children. Ophthalmology 2008; 115:1279-1285.