Contact lenses are an essential tool for millions in the UK, offering a convenient and effective alternative to traditional glasses. Whether you’re considering them for aesthetic reasons, sports, or the simple pleasure of unobstructed peripheral vision, it’s important to approach purchasing and wearing them with care. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when buying contact lenses UK.
Prescription and Eye Examination
Before purchasing contact lenses, it’s essential to have a recent, valid prescription from a qualified optometrist. Regular eye exams ensure your prescription is up-to-date and help detect any potential eye health issues. Always remember that wearing contact lenses with an incorrect prescription can harm your eyes and impair vision.
There are various types of contact lenses available, each serving different needs and lifestyles. Soft lenses are the most popular due to their comfort and versatility. Rigid gas-permeable lenses, although less comfortable initially, offer sharper vision and are more resistant to buildup. Depending on your lifestyle, you may choose daily disposables, weekly or monthly disposables, or extended wear lenses. Discuss with your optician to understand which type best suits your needs.
The shape and size of your eyes are unique. Therefore, lenses that fit well on one person might not fit well on another. Ill-fitting lenses can cause discomfort, blurred vision, or even damage your eyes. An optician can provide a professional fitting to ensure your lenses fit properly and comfortably.
Care and Maintenance
Different types of contact lenses require different care routines. While daily disposable lenses require the least maintenance, reusable lenses need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Never use water or saliva to clean your lenses, as they can harbour dangerous microbes. Always use the lens solution recommended by your optician.
Buy your contact lenses from a reputable source. While it might be tempting to opt for cheaper alternatives from dubious online platforms, this could put your eye health at risk. In the UK, it’s illegal for outlets to sell contact lenses without a valid prescription from an optician. Ensure your supplier is legitimate and regulated by the General Optical Council.
Contact Lens Trial
Many opticians offer a contact lens trial. This allows you to test a particular type or brand of lens before making a purchase. A trial can help you understand how to insert, remove, and care for your lenses and gauge your comfort and vision while wearing them.
If you find contact lenses don’t suit you, there are alternatives. Glasses are the most common, but depending on your vision problem, surgical options like LASIK or implantable contact lenses might be viable options.
Regular check-ups with your optician are crucial when you’re wearing contact lenses. These appointments help ensure your lenses are still fitting correctly, your prescription hasn’t changed, and your eyes are healthy.
Signs of Trouble
It’s important to know the signs of potential problems if you wear contact lenses. These could include redness, itching, blurred vision, discomfort, or discharge. If you experience any of these symptoms, remove your lenses and consult your optician immediately.
Awareness of Regulations
In the UK, there are regulations regarding the sale and use of contact lenses. Being aware of these can help you ensure you’re purchasing safely and legally. For example, lenses must be supplied under the supervision of a registered optician, and it’s illegal to supply contact lenses to someone under 16 for cosmetic use.
In conclusion, contact lenses offer an effective and convenient vision correction solution. However, they require careful consideration and proper handling to ensure the safety of your eyes. Remember to consult with a professional, obtain a valid prescription, and buy from a reputable source. With these considerations in mind, you’re on your way to a clear and comfortable contact lens experience.