If you are interested in contact lenses, or are already a wearer and are thinking about choosing me as your optometrist, then please may I ask you to read through the sections of these pages which are relevant to you and your eyes.
First and foremost is the need to find out what will suit you best? At your initial consultation I want to find out as much as possible about your eyes and your requirements.
Then I am in a position to discuss your sight and give you the clearest possible advice on the best route to follow and the costs involved.
You may want to know a little about me?
I am a qualified optometrist with a special interest in contact lenses. My experience in this huge area goes back nearly 30 years. It has included very specialised work of the type which I used to do in the department of Contact Lenses and Prosthetics at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.
My responsibility to patients is to keep completely up to date on clinical information and product development.
To that end I regularly attend clinical courses and conferences and I am a member of the British Contact Lens Association. The advances which have been made in both contact lenses, and refractive surgery mean that knowing exactly what is going on is vitally important.
In my profession we call it Continuing Education and Training (CET) and it is just one of your guarantees of quality care.
Eyesight problems which are you?
- Long-sight – causes near and often far focus difficulty. Up to 40-45 years of age this is a straightforward matter for contact lens fitting, after that it is a little more complex.
- Short-sight – poor far focusing. Lenses come in a huge prescription range, and many different types.
- Astigmatism – lack of sharpness for many things, the ‘rugby ball’ shaped eyes. It’s essential we obtain the best fitting specification – a wide range of lenses are now readily available but complex prescriptions require custom manufacturing.
- Presbyopia – close vision trouble from around 40 years of age onwards. This can be the simplest of problems and sometimes a difficult one for contact lenses – please see later notes.
Which lens material will suit you best?
- Conventional soft lenses: Comfortable, very large range of prescriptions and require regular replacement. All are ‘sponge like’ and vary in their hydration (the amount of water they contain). Our most popular lenses are either dailies, fortnightly or monthly change.
- Soft ‘breathable’ silicon lenses: Various different types in an ever improving range of prescriptions. Some are designed to wear daily, then clean, store and re-use up to 30 times, others are for up to 30 days and nights continuously in the eyes.
- Gas permeable rigid lenses: Usually give very clear vision but are less comfortable. You will have to be tolerant of these for a few weeks to get used to the feeling in your eyes. These are not suitable for occasional wear. They last longer and only need replacement at around 2 years. Not advised for physical/contact sport, and easier to lose.
Successful contact lens fitting requires you, the patient, and me, the optometrist, to understand what we hope to achieve.
The following key questions to help in selecting the best lens type for your needs:
- Are they for limited or potentially full time use?
- What sort of sight problem do you have?
- Will they be wanted for sports such as swimming or football?
- Is it simply needing to avoid having to use reading glasses?
When we have discussed the answers to the above questions, and found out about any special needs, past problems etc, we can select an initial lens type to ‘trial’ for you, the procedure we follow is:
- Normal thorough eye examination and prescription, as if it were for spectacles – this is crucial to understanding your focusing.
- Microscope examination: Eyelids, the tear film, the white of the eye and the clear cornea on which the contact lens will sit.
- Measurement of the eye’s actual shape.
- Consideration of options, selection and insertion of trial lenses, and assessment of their performance.
- Training for you to handle and look after contact lenses.
- Trial wearing, assessment of your progress, judgement of results and your own aspirations. This may require trial wearing and assessment with alternative lens options.
- Completion of fitting and decision about what to do next.
The fees for the above will depend on the complexity of the clinical work – please see separate fees sheet. I also fit tinted, coloured and occluding contact lenses to special order.
Please enquire and you will be advised on the options.
Contact lenses for children and young people
What age: I am frequently asked ‘how old do you have to be before you can wear contact lenses?’
There is no strict answer and it all depends upon a youngster’s understanding of personal responsibility and hygiene.
We have children as young as 7 wearing contact lenses – they are careful about hand washing and looking after their lenses. This is very much about assessing every individual and a detailed conversation with parents.
Why: The benefits of contact lenses for children and young people can be huge. Spectacles may hold back development in sport, or be a real nuisance for dance and drama classes. A daily disposable type of is really ideal for safe sports or occasional social wear.
On the other hand, some children simply feel unhappy about having to wear glasses, and neglect their eyesight when there isn’t a parent around. As a result their schoolwork can suffer, they screw up their eyes, and can become withdrawn.
Good, comfortable, vision is important in so many ways.
Who pays: We never forget that a parent is picking up the cost of contact lenses. For that reason, we don’t actively market lenses directly to our young patients.
What to do next: Before coming along to the practice, a private chat with mum or dad is often the best way forward. We can discuss the likely options on contact lens types and what sort of costs will be involved for lens fitting and ongoing supply.
The comfort and safety of eyes is our primary responsibility. There is nothing more important and that is our promise when fitting any contact lenses.
Presbyopia – close vision trouble in the over 40’s:The eyes flexibility becomes a problem and spex or contact lenses which are OK for driving or TV just aren’t enough things closer up.
If your own eyes have been fine without anything until that point its an even bigger nuisance when newsprint and price labels are all blurred.
Understanding your own personal visual needs is vitally important – that’s how we help you.
These are the range of options:
- ‘Monovision’: The dominant eye sees properly for the far vision and may not need a contact lens – whilst the ‘non-dominant’ eye is given a close focus.
- ‘Multi-monovision’: Using a multifocal lens for the reading eye.
- Multifocal contact lenses: These are more complex designs and tend to give ’reasonable’ vision but it is not ’pin sharp’.
This is all about balancing up your own expectations against what can be achieved. It takes time and care and I will do all that is humanly possible with contact lenses to provide what your eyes want.
Existing lens wearers:
We must begin with the best possible understanding of your eyes, any relevant history, and problems you may be having.
Often patients are looking for a fresh approach.
I must satisfy myself that everything is safe and healthy.
A thorough assessment of the current situation is the best starting point, then we can discuss the available options.
What to do next:
If you want to know more I recommend a thorough eye examination and the chance to have a discussion about your requirements without any obligation.
Please telephone if you have any queries or to book your examination appointment.
Bush the Opticians
18 The Weir, Hessle tel. 01482 648919 &
337 Holderness road tel. 01482 323443