Q: Who can wear contact lenses and at what age can you start?
Dr. Viker: Most people can wear contact lenses successfully. The age to start wearing contact lenses can vary a bit depending on the patient. I let parents know that if they have to remind their child to brush their teeth, the child is not yet ready for contact lenses.
There are so many great options in contact lenses that I encourage anyone who is interested in them to have an examination and find out what options are available. People who have astigmatism or need reading glasses have many new options as do patients who previously have experienced their contact lenses getting too dry to wear comfortably.
Q: Is wearing contacts better for sports activity?
Dr. Viker: Many patients find that contacts are preferable for sports. Patients who wear glasses while running often experience their glasses sliding down their face when they start to perspire. Patients who play sports that require a helmet, such as football or hockey find that glasses don’t fit underneath their helmets properly. Contact lenses address all of these challenges and offer better peripheral vision. Of course, it is still important to wear sports-appropriate eye protection when wearing contact lenses.
Q: About five years ago, I was told I was not a good candidate for contacts. I have odd shaped eyes. Are there new options available today?
Dr. Viker: There are several new options for patients that could not previously wear soft contact lenses. If you have astigmatism or need reading glasses there are many new technologies in soft contact lenses. Contact lenses continue to evolve and advance as all technology does – we have many newer materials and lens care solutions that can make wearing contact lenses a possibility for almost anyone.
Q: Do you carry contacts that can change my eye color?
Dr. Viker: Yes! We carry Air Optix Colors – which have 12 different color options. If you would like to try the colors on virtually follow this link to the Colors Studio: https://www.airoptix.com/colors/color-studio.shtml. When you have your examination, you can also try colors on while in the office to see how they look on your eyes. Color contact lenses can be used as the only type of contact lens you use or for part-time use when you would like to change your look with a new eye color.
Q: Can I sleep with my contacts?
Dr. Viker: Typically you cannot and should not sleep with contact lenses on your eyes. There are some contact lenses that are FDA-approved for extended wear (sleeping in lenses); always check with your eye care provider before sleeping in any contact lens.
It is safest to take contact lenses out at night as sleeping in any contact lens increases the risk for an eye infection. Eye infections from sleeping in contact lenses may leave scars on the surface of your eye which can permanently decrease vision and disqualify you from having LASIK surgery in the future. It is critical to let your eye doctor know exactly how you use your contacts and if you sleep in them so that a lens that best fits your lifestyle and needs can be selected.
Q: I am worried about putting my finger near my eye. How does someone get used to this?
Dr. Viker: It takes some getting used to but almost anyone can learn to put contacts on their eye and remove them. For patients that are new to contact lenses, we have them take a class with an optician and learn how to properly place the contact on the surface of the eye, how to remove them, and how to properly care for the lenses. Handling contacts is like any new task, it seems tricky at first but after a week or so becomes very easy and second nature to people. It typically takes about one hour to learn how to insert and remove contact lenses.
Q: I had an eye exam about 8 months ago. Do I need a separate exam in order to get contacts?
Dr. Viker: We require that the eye exam be within the past three months in order to perform a contact lens fitting. This ensures that your prescriptions are current and optimized and that your eye health has been evaluated.
The contact lens evaluation is separate from the glasses and eye health vision examination. This is a process where the doctor will discuss lens options, select the best lens for you, and ensure the lens is properly fitting your eye and yielding excellent visual acuity.