CN Digital Studioby Teen Vogue
Switching from frames is simpler than you think, but take this pro advice before you pop in your first pair.
Trading in glasses for your first contact lenses can be intimidating. Which type is best for teens? Are they hard to care for? Does it hurt to touch your eye? It's completely normal to have a few concerns before making the leap. After all, getting contacts shouldn't be taken lightly and they're even considered a medical device by the FDA. First, you should consider how much of a commitment you're ready to make to wearing them and how they'll fit into your lifestyle.
To prepare yourself for the transition, New York-based eye doctor Susan Resnick, O.D, F.A.A.O., is giving you the 411 on what to expect from the experience. In no time flat, you'll consider yourself a pro!
1) Come to your eye doctor appointment prepared. "Bring your current pair of prescription glasses and it's best not to wear makeup to the visit," suggests Dr. Resnick. That means leaving the liner at home, skipping mascara, and just saying no to shadows so your doctor can see every part of your eyes clearly.
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2) Understand what the process will be like. "The eye doctor will take a case history, do a general exam, and ask about your lifestyle. Then, they'll put the lenses on and have you stick around to let them settle, make sure you're comfortable, check your vision, and teach you how to put them in and out. It's not a scary event and it's not that much more involved than a general exam!"
3) Decide which type of lens fits best with your lifestyle. "Based upon the clinical examination, the practitioner can pick out the best material. Generally, at least for our practice, we prefer anyone under 21 to wear daily disposables. If you're going to go in as a new wearer, especially if you're a young, active teenager, you should tell your eye doctor that your preference is a daily disposable lens. It's the safest way to wear them, especially if you're too busy to be very fastidious about cleaning them. To be able to throw away a lens at night and not have it go into a case that's not as clean as it should be is the way to go."
4) Just about everyone can wear contacts, even if you have astigmatism. "Probably the biggest misconception is thinking that if you have astigmatism you can't wear contacts or you can't wear soft contact lenses and that hasn't been true for years and years. It's just a myth that keeps getting perpetuated. What's really changed in the last couple of years is that we now have a much broader range of prescriptions available in daily disposables for people with astigmatism. For example, Acuvue came out with their One Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism.
5) If you're going to get lenses just to alter your eye color, treat them with the same care you would a prescription. "Just because it has a cosmetic component doesn't put it in a separate class as a non-medical device. Your cornea and vision still have to be monitored even if there's no prescription in it. The problem we see is when people order them online or share them with friends and there have been devastating consequences from that. They're great, they're fun, we have many patients who wear them, but get them fitted appropriately and monitor them."
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6) Keep your case in tip top condition. "The biggest mistakes people make in lens safety is topping off the solution. You should always rinse your case out with hot tap water and then do a final rinse with solution and let it air dry. The other unsafe thing that people do is neglect to replace their case frequently enough. It should be replaced every three months. The vast majority of serious infection, which are very rare, are usually isolated to the case.
7) "No Rub" solutions are a no-no. "Pretty much all eye doctors, the FDA, and lens solution manufacturers are recommending that you rub your lenses. That "no rub" label or indication is fading. We realized that it is the actual rubbing that helps remove the bulk of potentially harmful organisms or general bio-film."
8) Don't let your contacts get wet. "Take the lenses out while swimming and showering. There's an organism called Acanthamoeba that's very rare, but is associated with water supplies and can be found in tap water, hot tubs, pools, and lakes. While it can affect those who don't wear contact lenses, it's much more prevalent in those who do. The reasons for this aren't understood completely, but the hypothesis is that they can bind to the lenses and wearers may be more at risk for penetration of the organism into the cornea due to the increased contact time. If infected, the cornea will become very damaged but is resistant to available treatments."
9)If you can't get your contacts out, the best thing to do is to stay calm. "If you're panicked, you can actually do more harm than good. In some cases, we've even seen people trying to remove a lens that's not there! Even if it's 11 or 12 o'clock at night, just go to bed. Call your eye doctor and be seen first thing in the morning or see someone that day, but don't worry. You can find an eye doctor and they can look with a microscope and get it out for you."
10) If you accidentally sleep in them, don't try to take them off right away. "Everybody will occasionally fall asleep in lenses. For the most part, you wake up and you're going to be fine, but don't take them out immediately upon waking up. Use a lubricating drop and let the lens juice up a little bit before you try to take it out. If you try to take a very dry lens off you can cause abrasion, and if you have any change in vision or if you're eye is very red or in pain, you need to be seen immediately.
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