Contact lenses

I want to wear contact lenses. Do you recommend soft or semi-hard?

The type of contact lenses is determined according to your age, diopter, and lifestyle habits. If you have a high cylindrical diopter, high spherical diopter, or certain corneal diseases (keratoconus), only semi-hard lenses are an option. Often, for nearsighted people of younger age, who are still expected to experience an increase in diopter, wearing semi-hard lenses is recommended to start with, although we know today that there is no scientific evidence that they slow down the progression of diopter. In most other cases, i.e., almost always when possible, the use of soft lenses is recommended. They are more comfortable and simpler to wear, and there’s no need for gradual adjustment to them, as is the case with semi-hard lenses. Soft contact lenses are prescribed much more frequently in practice. Today, there is a large number of manufacturers and types of soft contact lenses on the market. According to the recommended wearing time, they are divided into daily, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual lenses. More and more often, daily and biweekly lenses are prescribed because they have excellent permeability to oxygen and water, and due to the short wearing period and frequent replacement, the possibility of developing an infection is reduced.

Can I sleep with contact lenses?

In the case of hard and semi-hard lenses, sleeping with them on is strictly not permitted. Despite certain types of soft contact lenses allowing this in their instructions (like Night&Day), professionals do not recommend sleeping with soft contact lenses on your eyes. The danger lies in the increased risk of developing an infection if they are not regularly cleaned (every evening) with appropriate solutions. Additionally, the permeability to oxygen and water limits the ‘breathing’ of the cornea under the lens, which is particularly pronounced if they are worn 24 hours a day. In this case, there may be an increased vascularization of the corneal edge. This occurrence warns us that it is necessary to reduce the duration of lens wear because the cornea is not receiving an adequate amount of oxygen.

Is it possible to switch from semi-hard lenses to soft?

Yes, you can switch from soft to semi-hard contact lenses if your prescription allows it. In cases of high cylinders or high diopter power, it often isn’t possible to achieve the necessary visual acuity with soft contact lenses. The reason is that soft contact lenses are manufactured up to a certain level of cylinder and diopter. If it is not possible to prescribe a soft lens of the appropriate prescription, the use of semi-hard lenses is recommended. If your prescription allows, there is no difficulty in transitioning from soft to semi-hard lenses. However, this process is somewhat more difficult and demanding as it requires getting used to wearing semi-hard lenses.

Can I take a short rest/nap during the day with soft contact lenses?

You can, as long as the rest doesn’t last more than an hour or two, and as long as this does not become a daily habit. Taking longer breaks with soft lenses is certainly not recommended because the eye with the lens does not ‘breathe’ as much as needed. If this happens, it is necessary to remove the lenses afterward, store them in an appropriate solution, and in the meantime ‘rest’ the eye, i.e., wear your glasses. It is advisable, whenever possible, to alternate between wearing glasses and contact lenses.

Can I scuba dive with soft contact lenses?

Diving or swimming with contact lenses is not recommended as it increases the risk of eye infection. Various pathogenic organisms live in the water (especially freshwater) that can come into contact with the eye, reproduce in the area between the cornea and the lens, and thus be perfectly protected from external influences and the eye’s defensive mechanisms. Also, if you dive with lenses, there is a very high possibility that the lens will fall out of your eye. However, if you can’t function otherwise, then it is mandatory to use a diving mask over your eyes. In this case, it is best to use daily disposable soft lenses, which you throw away after a single use, and for a new occasion, you use a completely new pair of lenses.

Can the lenses be washed in tap water?

It 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 and other (inadequate) liquids is absolutely prohibited. You should use only solutions recommended by the lens manufacturer or by an ophthalmologist/optician. Most often, these are so-called ‘multipurpose’ solutions that contain all the necessary ingredients for preserving and cleaning the lenses. Do not shower, wash your face, or swim with lenses – this way, you minimize the risk of infection by dangerous pathogens.

Are colored contact lenses harmful to the eyes?

They are not harmful because the colors used in them are biocompatible (not harmful to tissues). The same cleaning and storage instructions apply to them, with an emphasis on a slightly shorter recommended wearing time for those without color. Soft-colored lenses can also be made in the appropriate diopters (each manufacturer has certain diopter heights available). Similarly, they can be daily, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Can I travel by plane with soft contact lenses since they contain silicone material?

There are no contraindications to wearing soft contact lenses during a flight.

Can I wear soft contact lenses if I have astigmatism?

Astigmatism indicates an irregular curvature of the cornea, which is corrected with cylindrical glasses/lenses. On the market, there are so-called soft toric contact lenses that can correct astigmatism up to a certain limit. They are an excellent choice for patients who do not have too high a cylindrical diopter. Currently, we offer toric lenses with a diopter up to -2.25 diopters of the cylinder. The problem arises for patients who have such a cylindrical diopter that it cannot be corrected with a soft toric lens. For them, it is necessary to prescribe semi-rigid lenses, as only they can provide the maximum possible visual acuity.

Can contact lenses be worn only occasionally and which lenses are recommended?

If your prescription allows it, it is possible to occasionally wear soft contact lenses. In this case, it is best to opt for daily disposable soft contact lenses that you discard after daily use, and for the next occasion, you use a completely new pair of lenses. In this way, there is no need to worry about cleaning, storage, and re-use of the same lens. This reduces the risk of infection. If you are deciding to wear lenses for the first time and you play sports, it is recommended to wear soft contact lenses (lower probability of the lenses falling out, and less danger from impact to the eye than with semi-rigid lenses)

Can soft contact lenses be worn longer than the factory specified?

Today on the market we have soft contact lenses with daily, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly replacement schedules. This indicates the maximum period of use for one pair of lenses. Of course, this means that the lenses are still removed from the eyes each evening and stored in the appropriate solution. Often in sales, it happens that the suggested wearing time is longer than what the manufacturer prescribes. In this case, neither the manufacturer can guarantee that prolonged wearing of the lenses will not have harmful effects on the eye. Therefore, so-called “extended” wearing of lenses is not recommended. Soft lenses are made of suitable materials that are permeable to oxygen and water, and with the length of wear, these characteristics likely change somewhat, reducing the “breathing” of the eye under the lens.