More than 45 million Americans wear contact lenses to correct their vision. Some say it’s life-changing.
However, like many medical devices, contact lenses are often misunderstood by potential new users and existing users.
We want you to be fully informed when you make decisions regarding your vision, and so we’ve compiled a list of 16 myths and/or misunderstandings that surround the use and care of contact lenses. It’s possible some will “open your eyes” to trying contacts or using them as they should be.
Myth 1: Contact lenses are uncomfortable
Sure, contact lenses used to be uncomfortable, but that was decades ago. Today’s contact lenses are thin and soft. Those that wear them find them perfectly comfortable. In fact, they don’t even feel them.
Myth 2: Contact lenses aren’t for “old” folks
Age is not a factor. In fact, many middle-aged and older adults wear contact lenses instead of reading glasses.
If this myth comes from somewhere, it may regard those that suffer from dry eyes. However, a number of contact lenses cater specifically to those with dry eyes.
Contacts lenses are available as varifocal and bifocal, so they’re an option for just about anyone at any age.
Myth 3: Contact lenses aren’t for youngsters
Again, anyone can wear contact lenses, though parents do need to factor maturity into their decision to put their kids in contacts. Kids capable of practicing the hygiene and maintenance contact lenses require, are safe to wear contacts.
Also, be aware that daily disposable lenses require no special storage or cleaning, which makes them ideal for younger patients.
Myth 4: You’ll find it impossible to put contacts in your eyes
The truth is many new users find the idea of inserting contact lenses a bit scary. But the process will quickly become routine, easy, and not the least bit frightful. Your eye care professional will make sure you learn how to insert and remove your contacts. Most people catch on immediately.
Here’s a guide to safely insert and remove contact lenses.
Myth 5: Contact lenses often pop out
Not true. Properly fitted contact lenses won’t pop out of your eye.
It’s possible a contact lens can shift in its position, however, blinking a few times or closing your eyelid and gently pressing on the lens should move it back into place.
Myth 6: Contact lenses will get lost behind your eyes
This is a monstrous myth because it’s physically impossible for a contact lens to get lost behind your eye.
Myth 7: Contact lenses may get stuck on your eyes
By taking the advice of your eye doctor regarding how to properly wear, care for, and remove contact lenses, you’ll find they will not stick to eyes. In the event your lenses feel dry, you can loosen them up simply by applying lubricating eye drops.
Myth 8: Contact lenses cause eye infections
45 million people know this to be untrue. A variety of things cause eye infections, but contact lenses are not among them. If you follow your eye doctor’s instructions for wearing and caring for your lenses, they will not infect your eyes.
Myth 9: You can use a glasses prescription to purchase contact lenses
This is false. You must have an explicit contact lenses prescription to buy contact lenses. In fact, the parameters of the prescription to correct your vision are likely to differ from a glasses prescription. In fact, most people who wear glasses to correct a mild astigmatism correction will not require toric lenses.
Myth 10: With a contact lens prescription you can choose another product or brand
It doesn’t work that way. Your prescription must be the one you were given by your doctor.
Myth 11: You can order cosmetic lenses (colored lenses with no vision correction) without a prescription
You can’t (at least not from a reputable source). You can only order contact lenses—including cosmetic contacts—when they’re prescribed by an optometrist or eye doctor.
Myth 12: Contact lenses are high maintenance
Yes, you need to properly care for reusable contact lenses. But doing so is quite simple. Most reusable contact lenses can be cleaned and stored with one multi-use contact lens solution.
If you elect to go with daily disposable contact lenses, lens care is entirely irrelevant. You toss them in the trash at the end of each day.
Myth 13: You can use tap water to clean your contacts
No eye doctor or provider of contact lenses would tell you such a thing. Even clean drinking water is not to be used for contact lens care.
Myth 14: It’s okay now to swim in your contacts
It’s not. Pools contain bacteria and chemicals that can increase your risk of eye infection. Take them out and enjoy your swim.
Myth 15: Contact lenses can freeze in cold weather
Bah! Contacts won’t even freeze in your freezer (but don’t store them there).
If you should feel your eyes drying or discomfort in cold winter weather, using eye drops or artificial tears should remedy the problem.
Myth 16: Contact lenses are expensive
They’re really not. Of course, the cost of contact lenses varies depending on a number of variables, but the costs are typically comparable to eyeglasses. Even daily disposables, which once was a costlier option, are now available for under a dollar a day.