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Help Getting Contact Lenses? Anyone Have Experience?


Kabuto

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Hi all!

 

I've been really depressed over my recent vision loss for quite some time now...really really depressed.   I finally have to cave in, and wear something that will let my eyes see so I don't strain them every day.   Of course, I'm not talking about glasses- I would NEVER be caught dead in them!   I have to resort to contact lenses.. I have no choice.   

 

The problem is, I don't know how and where to order the right contact lenses online.   I know my prescription, but I don't know how to order the right eye size.   I am scared of causing eye damage if I'm not careful- but I need to order the lenses online because I don't have access to an eye doctor right now.   Anyone have experience doing this?

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As someone whose worn both contacts and glasses since she was 14, I can tell you glasses really aren't that bad. I didn't want to be caught dead in them when I first got them, but my mom wasn't a fan of contacts. Now, even with the choice between the two, I tend to prefer glasses. When your eyes are tired, sometimes contacts aren't particularly appealing. Plus, with all the different frames and stuff now, glasses can actually look pretty cool. :) Also, I should mention that you will almost definitely want a pair of "backup" glasses, even if you intend to never wear them. For the days when your eyes hurt or you don't want to bother with the contacts. Obviously you don't have to if you're really *super* against it, but I'd recommend it.

Nonetheless, contacts are pretty great. If you've literally never worn those or any other eye products, you likely want to consider going to an optical place to get a "fitting." A lot of places that sell contacts in stores and things will require you to get a fitting before you can buy the contacts. At least for prescription ones. The reason for that is that contacts are being put directly on the eye, and eyes are different shapes and sizes. With the fitting, you get a "contact lens prescription" which includes the curvature and diameter of the lens. (Unless you have an eye issue, in which case there'll be other information as well.) With a fitting, you usually get a trial pair of lenses to test out, and they also teach you how to put the contacts in and how to take care of them. You can usually do that at pretty much any place that sells contacts, though you mention not having access, so I don't know if that means you don't have access to any optical place at all. I've gotten a fitting done at a Walmart vision centre before, so I don't think it actually needs to be an optomistrist, but again, it just depends on what you can get to.

Now, under the assumption that you don't have an astigmatism or anything, and you don't want any help learning how to put them in or take care of them, or you really can't go into a place for the fitting, you *can* order lenses without the fitting online. Be aware that it may still ask you for base curve or diameter, though you can get some that only come in a "standard" size. (Which is different for every lens and brand - an example of how there is no real "standard") If it asks you for a base curve or diameter, you'll likely want to avoid those rather than guessing and go for one of the "standard" ones. You could always try them out and see how they feel. But if they feel really itchy or not quite right, it's a lot better to take them out and get the fitting than to put up with it all day. If you do end up "guessing" at your eye size, try to pick a brand that only has a couple of options, and go with the option in the middle. I'd suggest you just order enough for a single month to begin with too - you may end up having to throw them out if they don't fit.

As for where to order, Clearly Contacts is my personal favourite. They tend to have coupons, sales, and promotions that make them a lot cheaper than buying in the stores. Make sure you poke around online a little before actually ordering since they may have one of their promotions on, but not list it on the website. (I've gotten a couple of free pairs of glasses that way.) Mind you, there's tonnes of websites out there - I just like that one.

In terms of actually ordering them, you want disposable lenses. I don't even know if Clearly Contacts sells the non-disposable ones anymore. For your regular ones (not special effect, coloured, or special prescription), they come in daily, weekly, two-weekly, and monthly disposables. Basically, if you don't want to bother cleaning them or storing them in solution, buy the dailies. If you buy the weekly or monthly ones, you need one of those little partition cases and some solution. I've worn all three types, and I personally prefered the monthly ones. But the dailies are nice when you're starting out. Not only do you not have to fiddle with keeping them, but they also tend to irritate the eyes a little less because they're only meant for a single day - no chance of getting any particles on them. For brands, you can get whatever looks good to you really. I've tried the Acuvue and the Focus types, and both were good. If you're *not* ordering off Clearly Contacts though, make sure you research the brand name if it isn't one of those two. While the lenses that are sketchy are the special effects ones (because they're not prescription, they're not regulated and you need to be careful about brands), some of the prescription ones are less comfortable than others. They come one box per eye, so no matter what the price listed per box, it's going to be double that for the whole order.

Once you have the lenses, you're going to want to "introduce" them to to your eyes. They're going to feel a little weird to begin with most likely. The first day you wear them, wear them for 2-4 hours. If your eyes are a little irritated before the four hours, take them out when they start to get uncomfortable and increase by 1-2 hours of wearing each day. If they're not uncomfortable at the 4 hour mark, take them out anyway, and wear for 6 the next day then 8 the day after that. I know with dailies that seems like a bit of waste, but it's worth it to avoid the irritation later. Resist the temptation to wear them longer than recommended. I've done it. We probably all have. It's still not great for your eyes. Also, resist the temptation to wear contacts while you sleep, unless they're specially labelled for it. (Even then, I had irritation and movement. I'd honestly say even getting the ones that you *can* wear overnight isn't great, but that's pure opinion.)

I think the only other thing to mention is that disposable contacts are "soft" lenses. They're less likely to cause eye damage than something like a "permanent" or "hard" lens. Mind you, if your eyes hurt or are really itchy, there's a reason for it. Some people find them too itchy overall. Some people need drops to wear them, and you might want to consider getting some if you tend to have dry eyes. Try to resist rubbing your eyes vigorously to scratch them like you might if you weren't wearing the lenses - rub them gently, and if you need to *keep* rubbing, say for more than 30 seconds, then take them out. They likely will be a little bit itchy from time to time, and that's pretty normal. But once your eyes are used to them, you generally don't feel them at all.

 

That was long! *Laughs* But I may have missed things ... just kind of an overview. Hope it helps!

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I have been wearing glasses since 3rd grade and contacts since my 20's. As pen4 said a fitting is very important. An eye doctor will do the fitting properly. I wear my glasses more because I tend to see better with them.

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I hated glasses as a kid, but I wish I could wear them now! I have some for around the house, but the prescription is so strong I can't drive or do other things in them.

I wear contacts, but I do have a strong prescription and astigmatism. I usually get a prescription from the eye doctor then just order them at Wal-Mart, saves me money and the hassle of figuring out how to do it myself.

Edited by LilyRain
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As someone whose worn both contacts and glasses since she was 14, I can tell you glasses really aren't that bad. I didn't want to be caught dead in them when I first got them, but my mom wasn't a fan of contacts. Now, even with the choice between the two, I tend to prefer glasses. When your eyes are tired, sometimes contacts aren't particularly appealing. Plus, with all the different frames and stuff now, glasses can actually look pretty cool. :) Also, I should mention that you will almost definitely want a pair of "backup" glasses, even if you intend to never wear them. For the days when your eyes hurt or you don't want to bother with the contacts. Obviously you don't have to if you're really *super* against it, but I'd recommend it.

Nonetheless, contacts are pretty great. If you've literally never worn those or any other eye products, you likely want to consider going to an optical place to get a "fitting." A lot of places that sell contacts in stores and things will require you to get a fitting before you can buy the contacts. At least for prescription ones. The reason for that is that contacts are being put directly on the eye, and eyes are different shapes and sizes. With the fitting, you get a "contact lens prescription" which includes the curvature and diameter of the lens. (Unless you have an eye issue, in which case there'll be other information as well.) With a fitting, you usually get a trial pair of lenses to test out, and they also teach you how to put the contacts in and how to take care of them. You can usually do that at pretty much any place that sells contacts, though you mention not having access, so I don't know if that means you don't have access to any optical place at all. I've gotten a fitting done at a Walmart vision centre before, so I don't think it actually needs to be an optomistrist, but again, it just depends on what you can get to.

Now, under the assumption that you don't have an astigmatism or anything, and you don't want any help learning how to put them in or take care of them, or you really can't go into a place for the fitting, you *can* order lenses without the fitting online. Be aware that it may still ask you for base curve or diameter, though you can get some that only come in a "standard" size. (Which is different for every lens and brand - an example of how there is no real "standard") If it asks you for a base curve or diameter, you'll likely want to avoid those rather than guessing and go for one of the "standard" ones. You could always try them out and see how they feel. But if they feel really itchy or not quite right, it's a lot better to take them out and get the fitting than to put up with it all day. If you do end up "guessing" at your eye size, try to pick a brand that only has a couple of options, and go with the option in the middle. I'd suggest you just order enough for a single month to begin with too - you may end up having to throw them out if they don't fit.

As for where to order, Clearly Contacts is my personal favourite. They tend to have coupons, sales, and promotions that make them a lot cheaper than buying in the stores. Make sure you poke around online a little before actually ordering since they may have one of their promotions on, but not list it on the website. (I've gotten a couple of free pairs of glasses that way.) Mind you, there's tonnes of websites out there - I just like that one.

In terms of actually ordering them, you want disposable lenses. I don't even know if Clearly Contacts sells the non-disposable ones anymore. For your regular ones (not special effect, coloured, or special prescription), they come in daily, weekly, two-weekly, and monthly disposables. Basically, if you don't want to bother cleaning them or storing them in solution, buy the dailies. If you buy the weekly or monthly ones, you need one of those little partition cases and some solution. I've worn all three types, and I personally prefered the monthly ones. But the dailies are nice when you're starting out. Not only do you not have to fiddle with keeping them, but they also tend to irritate the eyes a little less because they're only meant for a single day - no chance of getting any particles on them. For brands, you can get whatever looks good to you really. I've tried the Acuvue and the Focus types, and both were good. If you're *not* ordering off Clearly Contacts though, make sure you research the brand name if it isn't one of those two. While the lenses that are sketchy are the special effects ones (because they're not prescription, they're not regulated and you need to be careful about brands), some of the prescription ones are less comfortable than others. They come one box per eye, so no matter what the price listed per box, it's going to be double that for the whole order.

Once you have the lenses, you're going to want to "introduce" them to to your eyes. They're going to feel a little weird to begin with most likely. The first day you wear them, wear them for 2-4 hours. If your eyes are a little irritated before the four hours, take them out when they start to get uncomfortable and increase by 1-2 hours of wearing each day. If they're not uncomfortable at the 4 hour mark, take them out anyway, and wear for 6 the next day then 8 the day after that. I know with dailies that seems like a bit of waste, but it's worth it to avoid the irritation later. Resist the temptation to wear them longer than recommended. I've done it. We probably all have. It's still not great for your eyes. Also, resist the temptation to wear contacts while you sleep, unless they're specially labelled for it. (Even then, I had irritation and movement. I'd honestly say even getting the ones that you *can* wear overnight isn't great, but that's pure opinion.)

I think the only other thing to mention is that disposable contacts are "soft" lenses. They're less likely to cause eye damage than something like a "permanent" or "hard" lens. Mind you, if your eyes hurt or are really itchy, there's a reason for it. Some people find them too itchy overall. Some people need drops to wear them, and you might want to consider getting some if you tend to have dry eyes. Try to resist rubbing your eyes vigorously to scratch them like you might if you weren't wearing the lenses - rub them gently, and if you need to *keep* rubbing, say for more than 30 seconds, then take them out. They likely will be a little bit itchy from time to time, and that's pretty normal. But once your eyes are used to them, you generally don't feel them at all.

 

That was long! *Laughs* But I may have missed things ... just kind of an overview. Hope it helps!

 

Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply!   Now let's say that a fitting would be impossible due to complications....primarily due to living in a foreign country right now...

 

Is there a way to get an appropriate "standard" lens?   And would it be possible to order that online?

Edited by Kabuto
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Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply!   Now let's say that a fitting would be impossible due to complications....primarily due to living in a foreign country right now...

 

Is there a way to get an appropriate "standard" lens?   And would it be possible to order that online?

 

 

Well, if you can order from Clearly Contacts (I'm pretty sure they ship internationally) you can click through the types of lenses until you find one that doesn't ask for a base curve or diameter - shown as the BC and DIA fields when you click on a type of lens, in the ordering section of the page. I just did a quick look through the ones that I recognized, and the FOCUS dailies don't require those measurements. So, you could try those. The Proclear, Biofinity and Air Optix Aqua ones also seem to be "standard" though I've never tried those three brands. I'm sure they'd be fine, I just don't have any experience with them. And those are just on the "best sellers" or "featured" pages. You'd likely be able to find a dozen or so that are "standard."

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You'll need a new perscription if your current one is for glasses as they're different. I would really urge getting them in store as cheap ones bought online could permanently damage your eyes and cause blindness, not worth it. Or if you must buy them online, pay extra for quality ones. You also shouldn't need the curve of your eye as that's for coloured contacts.

I felt weird wearing glasses in the beginning, I noticed I needed them when I was 7 but put off getting them until I was 12 and I couldn't cope anymore. But now I can't imagine life without them. Glasses are no longer for sight, but often a fashion accessory too. There's lots of nice styles. I've seen people popping the lenses out of reading glasses and wearing them, people wish they had our bad eyesight! Hah.

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