Contact lenses

The type of contact lenses is determined based on your age, prescription, and lifestyle habits. If you have high astigmatism, high spherical prescription, or certain corneal diseases (keratoconus), only hard lenses are considered. Often, for nearsighted individuals of younger age, whose prescription is still expected to change, starting with hard lenses is recommended, although it’s not scientifically proven that they slow down the progression of prescription. In most other cases, soft lenses are recommended whenever possible. They are more comfortable and easier to use, and there’s no need for a gradual adaptation as with hard lenses. Soft contact lenses are prescribed much more frequently in practice. Today, there is a wide range of soft contact lenses available on the market. They are categorized based on the recommended wearing time: daily, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Daily and bi-weekly lenses are increasingly prescribed because of their excellent oxygen and water permeability, and due to their short wearing period and frequent replacement, the risk of infection is reduced.

In the case of hard and rigid gas-permeable lenses, it is strictly not allowed. The profession does not recommend sleeping with soft contact lenses despite some manufacturers allowing it for certain types of soft contact lenses (Night&Day) in their instructions. The danger lies in the increased risk of infection if they are not cleaned regularly (every night) in appropriate solutions. Additionally, the oxygen and water permeability restricts the cornea’s ‘breathing’ while wearing the lenses, especially if worn continuously for 24 hours. In such cases, increased vascularization of the corneal periphery may occur. This occurrence signals the need to reduce the wearing time of the lenses as the cornea is not receiving adequate oxygen.

You can if your prescription allows it. In cases of high astigmatism or high prescription, achieving the necessary visual acuity with soft contact lenses is often not possible. The reason is that soft contact lenses are manufactured up to a certain level of cylinder and prescription. If it’s not possible to prescribe soft lenses of the appropriate prescription, wearing semi-rigid lenses is recommended. If the prescription allows, there are no difficulties in switching from soft to semi-rigid lenses. However, this process is somewhat more difficult and demanding because it requires adjustment to wearing semi-rigid lenses.

You can, as long as the nap/rest doesn’t last longer than an hour or two, and it doesn’t become a daily habit. Longer naps with soft lenses are not recommended because the eye with the lens doesn’t ‘breathe’ as it should. If this happens, it’s necessary to remove the lenses afterward, store them in an appropriate solution, and ‘rest’ your eyes, meaning wear eyeglass correction during that time. It’s advisable to combine wearing glasses and lenses whenever possible.

Neither diving nor swimming with lenses is recommended because it increases the risk of eye infection. In water, especially freshwater, various pathogens exist, which can come into contact with the eye and proliferate in the area between the cornea and the lens, being perfectly protected from external influences and the eye’s defense mechanisms. Similarly, if you dive with lenses, there’s a high chance of the lens falling out of your eye. However, if there’s no alternative, wearing a diving mask over the eyes is mandatory. In this case, it’s best to use daily disposable soft lenses that you discard after a single use, and for the next opportunity, use a completely new pair of lenses.

That is strictly forbidden because tap water can contain various microorganisms, some of which are so dangerous that they can lead to vision loss (e.g., Acanthamoeba). Rinsing and storing lenses in tap water or other (inadequate) solutions is prohibited. It’s necessary to use only solutions recommended by the lens manufacturer or by an ophthalmologist/optician. These are usually called ‘multipurpose’ solutions, which contain all the necessary ingredients for lens preservation and cleaning. Do not shower, wash your face, or swim with lenses – this way, you minimize the risk of infection with dangerous pathogens.

No, they are not harmful because the colors used in them are biocompatible (not harmful to tissues). The same cleaning and storing instructions apply to them, with emphasis on a slightly shorter recommended wearing time compared to non-colored lenses. Colored soft lenses can also be made in the appropriate prescription (each manufacturer has specific available diopter ranges). Similarly, they can be daily, bi-weekly, or monthly lenses.

There are no contraindications for wearing soft contact lenses during air travel.

Astigmatism refers to irregular curvature of the cornea, which is corrected using cylindrical lenses/lenses. There are so-called soft toric contact lenses available on the market that can correct astigmatism to a certain extent. They are an excellent choice for patients with not too high cylindrical prescriptions. Currently, toric lenses with prescriptions up to -2.25 diopters of the cylinder are available. The issue arises for patients with such high cylindrical prescriptions that cannot be corrected by soft toric lenses. For them, semi-rigid lenses need to be prescribed, as they are the only ones that can provide maximum visual acuity.

If your prescription allows it, it’s possible to wear soft contact lenses occasionally. In that case, it’s best to opt for daily disposable soft contact lenses that you discard after daily use and take a completely new pair for the next occasion. This eliminates the need for cleaning, storage, and reusing the same lens. It reduces the risk of infection. If you’re considering contact lenses for the first time and engage in sports, wearing soft contact lenses is recommended (lower likelihood of lens dislodgement and less risk in case of impact to the eye compared to semi-rigid lenses).

Today, we have soft contact lenses with daily, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly replacement schedules. This indicates the maximum wearing time for one pair of lenses. Of course, this means that the lenses are still removed from the eye and stored in the appropriate solution every evening. It often happens in the market that the suggested wearing time is longer than what the manufacturer recommends. In such cases, even the manufacturer cannot guarantee that extended lens wear will not have harmful effects on the eye. Therefore, wearing lenses for an extended period is not recommended. Soft lenses are made of suitable materials that are permeable to oxygen and water, and with extended wear, these characteristics may change, reducing the eye’s ‘breathing’ beneath the lens.


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