Contact lenses prescribed by a licensed doctor of optometry are worn safely and comfortably by millions of people worldwide and have a long history of providing wearers with a safe and effective form of vision correction. While contact lenses provide many vision benefits, they are not risk-free. Your doctor of optometry can help you better understand how to get the full benefits of your contact lenses and reduce your chances of developing problems.
Protect your eye and vision health with proper hygiene
Contact lens-related eye infections and other injuries can lead to long-lasting damage but often are preventable. Clean and safe handling of contact lenses is one of the easiest and most important measures patients can take to protect their vision. Hygiene is the most critical aspect of successful long-term contact lens wear.
Many common care mistakes, including failing to clean and store lenses as directed by a doctor of optometry and sleeping while wearing contacts, can increase the chance of getting bacteria in the eyes and causing infection. Serious eye infections can lead to blindness and affect up to one out of every 500 contact lens users per year, and even minor infections can be painful and disrupt day-to-day life.
A contact lens is a medical device that requires a prescription
All contact lenses, even purely cosmetic ones, are considered medical devices and require a prescription. If contact lenses are right for you, your doctor of optometry will provide you with the lenses, lens care kits, individual instructions for wear and care and follow-up visits over a specified time.
Contact lens prescriptions generally expire on a yearly basis, unless otherwise determined by your doctor of optometry. Prescriptions for contact lenses and glasses may be similar, but are not interchangeable. Also, different contact lenses often are made from different materials and in different sizes, some of which can be comfortable and healthy for you to wear, while others can lead to discomfort and even eye health problems. A prescription for contact lenses therefore involves more than simply knowing the optical power that corrects for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
Contact your doctor of optometry with questions about proper contact lens use and for any other eye health concerns. Visit our doctor locator to find an AOA-member doctor of optometry to help with you eye care needs.