Sometimes, classic glasses just don’t cut it. Contact lenses are a great option when you are an athlete, a beauty buff, or just want to change things up a bit. About 11% of the 64% of U.S. adults who needed prescription glasses in 2016 chose to wear contact lenses, either in conjunction with glasses or solely contacts. Nervous about attempting to put a little disc on your eyes? That’s perfectly natural. When you make an appointment to try prescription contact lenses, your optometrist will go through a number of steps to get you acquainted with proper contact lens use. Here’s what to expect at your first contact lens appointment.
First, your optometrist will want to ask you about why you would like to try contact lenses. They’ll consider your eye care history and any conditions you have like chronic dry eye or scarring. They’ll determine what kind of coverage your vision insurance offers for contact lenses. If you seem to be a good-on-paper candidate, you’ll get to next steps.
Second, the optometrist can show you quick proper cleaning and handling of lenses. Typically opticians’ offices have at least a small supply of extra contact lenses in stock in a myriad of prescriptions. You’ll wash your hands thoroughly, unpackage the lenses, learn how to clean them and store them with a solution, and learn how to recognize when the lens has problems like scratches and tears, or if it’s inside out.
Third, you can attempt to put the contact lens on your eye. The optometrist will give you a couple tips for best practices, like holding your eyelid open gently and looking up. It will likely take quite a few tries. Be patient.
Fourth, if you are having trouble applying the contact lens, your optometrist may ask if you’d like their help. Often when you get past the initial anxiety of having the lens in and getting it out, it becomes much easier for patients to handle doing it themselves. Optometrists also want to briefly observe the lens on your eye before they give you a prescription to be sure that the selected lens correctly fits the size and shape of your eye.
Fifth, if you’re not quite successful getting the lens in and out yourself, or if you’re still unsure if you want contact lenses, your optometrist may send you home with the practice lenses to keep trying.
Lastly, if you did have success with the contact lenses, you can choose to order a box. Lenses come in many styles, including single-day use and month-long use.
Contact lenses can be off-putting and difficult at first to many people. Have some patience and keep trying, and you’ll eventually be using them like a pro.