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Making sure your contacts fit correctly

Posted on 10 January 2014

When you purchase your first pair of contact lenses, you shouldn't expect them to be perfect from the word go. Of course, they may fit you perfectly and provide perfect vision straight away, but many people often find there is some adjustment required before their new contacts work well for them.

Fitting adjustment

Because a contact lens is not one-size-fits-all, it must be precision-crafted and expertly fitted to your eye. Otherwise eye problems can develop, such as corneal abrasions, corneal infections and tight lens syndrome.

Your optometrist needs to carefully measure each eye to ensure a perfect fit. The fitting procedure will usually involve:

  • Recording the curvature of the cornea
  • Measuring the diameter of the cornea
  • Selecting the base curve
  • Determining the lens power

When the optometrist places the lens in your eye for the first time, you will be asked to look up and blink. If the lens moves more than 1mm with each blink, then the curve is too flat and if it moves less than 0.5mm it is too steep, in which case further adjustment will be required. If the lens is a good fit, it will have good centration, adequate movement on the eye and provide clear vision.

Once your contacts are properly fitted, your eye care professional will usually ask you to come back and see them in a week or so, just to make sure there are no problems. After than, they won't generally need to see you again for a year, when they will check to see whether your prescription has changed.

Personal adjustment

If you've never worn contacts before, getting used to them can sometimes take a little while. Many people are not used to having an object touching their eye and may find the sensation uncomfortable or disconcerting.

Optometrists generally recommend that you only wear your new contacts for a few hours a day, until you become more familiar with them.

Some people find that their eyes water excessively, as though trying to flush out a foreign object. With continued wear, this usually settles down, as your eye gets used to its new companion.

One adjustment former wearers of glasses are happy to make when switching to contacts, is having peripheral vision for the first time. Whereas glasses restrict your view to the sides, contacts provide a whole new 180 degree view of the world that you'll find exhilarating and also very useful when driving or playing sport.

You will also find that you need to make adjustments to your daily routine once you start wearing contacts instead of glasses.

These include allowing for unexpected things such as unplanned overnight stays away from home (you should never sleep in your contacts) and going swimming (contacts should not be worn in the water).

A solution many people find works well is to carry a small disinfecting and storage kit with them, allowing them to remove and re-insert their contacts wherever they  happen to be.

So, at the end of the day, the best way to ensure your contacts work well for you is:

  • Firstly - to make sure they're safe and comfortable to wear; and
  • Secondly - to look at the pros and cons and decide whether they're a comfortable fit with your lifestyle as well.

Chances are you'll find the advantages far outweigh any drawbacks.