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Old 08-04-2010, 09:24 AM   #1
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Question Trying out contacts - advice please

I'm 32 years old and have had glasses since I was 7. That's a lot of years with plastic on my face.

When I was 13 I tried out contacts. Unfortuntely, at that time the only kind that worked for my prescription were the gas permeables, which are hard and need an adjustment period. I was probably too young to put in the effort, and gave up after a couple of weeks. My dad still (jokingly) brings up the $$$ they wasted buying me those.

When I think about it, there has probably always been an element of "hiding behind my glasses" while I was overweight. As I continue to get fit and (try to) become more comfortable in my own body, I'm finding I don't want to hide anymore. Maybe trying out contacts is a step toward not hiding so much.

So, I think I'm ready to try again. I don't hate my glasses, but they are awfully annoying to exercise in, and changing in and out of my prescription sunglasses is a pain. I'm seeing the eye doctor today to figure out my options.

I would love some opinions and answers from y'all. I don't want to make a $300 mistake, especially since I'll be paying for them myself this time.

Glasses wearers - Why do you stick with glasses? Any contact lens horror stories? How many of you think you look better with glasses than without?

Contact wearers - What's the best/worst thing about your contacts? Any good advice for a first-timer? Eye makeup dos and don'ts? Do you wear yours all the time (sleep, shower)? What was your adjustment period like?

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Old 08-04-2010, 09:44 AM   #2
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This may come out in the wrong order, but we'll see... I've worn RGP ( rigid gas permeable) and soft. I have much better sight w/ the RGP, but soft is more comfortable.

Soft lenses ae larger than RGP, so there's a difference in how they go in and come out.

Unless the Contact is approved for over night wear DO NOT sleep with them! So many people do because 'it's no big deal', but it can cause a lot of problems!

I wear my glasses for almost everything except for sparring in karate. The frames I have don't move arround my face much, but I can't get them under the helmet, so I wear one a day lenses.

As far as makeup goes, put it on after the lenses are in, and don't put the eyeliner inside the rim of the eyelid. All it's going to do is gunk up the works and get crap all over your lens.

Do not share contacts or solutions with other people. FInd out what your doc recommends for cleaning...generics aren't bad, but the solution is made from an older 'recipe', if you find a solution you like, stick with it... don't hve one kind at work and another at home.

Do not put them in your mouth!

The main reason I don't wear contacts much is because I see better w/ the RGP but they don't do well with once in awhile wear. I see ok w/ the soft lenses but not as well..

Most offices will give you trial lenses, which are like the cl you'll get, just individual. They will train you in how to put them in,remove them and care for them.

If you find that you don't likethe contacts, don't give up, there are many out there and a good dr should work with you to find the right one
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:49 AM   #3
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Contacts are way, way different now and you shouldn't have to spend anywhere near $300 to get a few trial lenses. I think that a box of 6 lenses is around $20-30 for me. Most people wear a different prescription in each eye, so you'd start out with 2 boxes. Usually, they put you in some trial lenses to see if you can adjust, if they fit correctly, how your vision is, etc.

I am an unusual case in that I only wear one contact. One eye is almost fine, the other is pretty bad so I just wear the one lens. When I first got them 20 years ago, I was amazed at how clearly I could see; for the first time in my memory, I could look out the window and see individual leaves on trees. I wear soft lenses. But I find them to be extremely comfortable and it's really, really nice to be able to throw on my sunglasses when I go outside, something I can't do when I'm wearing glasses. Also, when I'm wearing glasses, I have to swap between two different pairs but I don't have to do anything fancy when I'm wearing contacts.

I don't do anything different with makeup, really. I do make sure that I use mascara that's not flakey because a fleck of mascara in the eye can feel like a piece of gravel. But really, I wear the same eyeshadow and eyeliner that I always have.

I hope you have a good experience this time around. Oh, the best thing about contacts.....that I can see so much better at work with them on. Once they got me into the correct prescription, it's been awesome. I don't sleep in mine unless it's by accident, because when I wake up it feels like it's glued to my eyeball. I don't generally wear them in the shower, but that's just because I put them on after I shower (that's just my routine). I can't really think of a "worst" thing, but there are some days when my eye just inexplicably doesn't want to wear a contact, so I make sure I have my glasses with me at all times because I really cannot see my computer at work at ALL if I don't have something.

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Last edited by Windchime; 08-04-2010 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:11 AM   #4
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I actually wear contacts for the same reasons you're thinking about getting them -- it's so much easier to be mobile in them. I never really minded glasses or the way I looked in them and I still wear mine sometimes, but it's so much easier to go through my day without worrying about swapping out sunglasses or smudges.

If it's soft contacts you're thinking of this time, your eye doctor should give you trial contacts -- mine always do, even now, and I've been wearing contacts for seven years now. The actual box won't cost you anywhere near $300 but you should be able to try them out to see if it's a good fit without spending anything. They will also probably walk you through the process of putting them in, which seems super tricky at first but gets so easy as to be mindless.

Sleeping in contacts is a baaaaaaaad idea and can eventually hurt your eyes. I've done it under extenuating circumstances before and it is EXTREMELY uncomfortable. But I do everything else in them -- showering, swimming, the like. It's pretty easy to forget they're even in there, although sometimes they start to bother me if I get really tired. I think it must be a blinking issue or something, because I'm definitely not the only one. But by that point it's usually 11pm or something and it's easy to switch back to glasses until it's bedtime.

Anyway I love my contacts and it's mostly been smooth sailing, although I did start having some MAJOR dry eye issues about three years into wearing them. I had to switch back to being a full-time glasses wearer for a couple months because it was just too uncomfortable. I talked to my eye doctor and she switched me to daily contacts and I've been fine ever since, but the fact that that was the fix-it does imply to me that contacts had something to do with my issue in the first place. I'm a pretty isolated case, but if you have dry eye issues at all definitely ask about dailies!
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JenMusic View Post
Contact wearers - What's the best/worst thing about your contacts? Any good advice for a first-timer? Eye makeup dos and don'ts? Do you wear yours all the time (sleep, shower)? What was your adjustment period like?


I've worn contacts since I was 12. I LOVE THEM. They sucked at first, but after a few weeks I was good to go.

I wear the Night and Day ones. I've worn them for about 5 years now and I love them. I'm legally blind, so if I don't have my contacts in, I can see to even walk down stairs. Which is a problem when you have to pee at 3am!

You can wear my brand for 30 days straight, I prefer 2 weeks on, a good overnight cleaning/soak, and then 2 more weeks. I like not having to put them in daily, even though they only take a few mins. I've never taken them out to shower, so I can't answer that. I also don't spray myself in the face or anything

As for makeup, I'm not a eyeline-every-part-of-my-eye gal, but some people are. I don't have problems with eyeliner in general, I only wear it on the top towards the corners. I tend to stick to the same 2 brands. I usually use Sephora stuff, but I think I have Maybelline right now because I ran out last week and the closest Sephora is like an hour away. For my mascara, I use the colassal lash one from Maybelline. It works just fine, and I've been using it since it came out, with no problems.

And I guess I do bad things, but if I'm out and have no other option, I do put them in my mouth to rewet them. I always have, I always will. If I'm out, and I have no contact case with me, its better than nothing and not seeing or walking home because I couldnt drive! Haha.

I vote go for it! And even when I didn't have health insurance, it wasn't $300 for them. I got them online, and they were WAY cheaper!

GL with your decision!!
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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This is probably the optician in me saying this, but please, please, please have a pair of glasses on hand, even for emergencies!
Many eye infections are caused by contact lens abuse, or made worse when someone has an infection and absolutely refuses to be seen in glasses. Sometimes vanity isn't worth it.

We have a few patients who will never be able to wear contacts again due to how jacked thier corneas.

Contacts are extremely absorbent, so if you swim in chlorine, you're not getting the chlorine out of the lens. Also why if a patient has an eye infection, the lenses have to be tossed. This is the same reason spitting in your eye is not recomended....

The cost of contact lenses depends on what it is, if it's 2 weeks, one days, whatever, and the Rx. some contacts are special order an/d can cost quite a bit. If you have a high astigmatism, your lenses will probably be more than $20.00/box. If you choose the type that you wear a fresh lens daily, they can be 30 to 90 lenses per box.

Your eye care professional should educate you on the pros and cons of each lens option. Ask lots of questions, and make sure you're happy with the outcome. If you're not, don't give up. The worst thing is when patient figure that since the first lens didn't work that there's nothing that can be done. There's almost alway something else to try.

The overall cost for the exam, contact fit and lenses can get pretty high. If you don't have insurance, ask about discounts.

Also, there is part of the exam referred to as the contact evaluation or check. As a first time wearer ( you'd be considered new since it's been so long and it used to be rgp, not soft), it may be more expensive at first, since the fitting is more involved.
Once you're an established patient/contact veteran, the cost should go down If you're using vision insurance, the contact portion of the exam will not be lumped together with the 'comprehensive exam', since not everyone who has an exam needs the cl fit....

I'm an optician, not an optometrist, but I love my job and have been doing it for awhile ( almost 11 years ), forgive me for being so wordy.

If there's anything else I can help with, let me know!

I work for a private optometrist. Independent offices are quite different from places like lenscrafters, so pricing also differs between retailers.

*even though I hate to think about people putting thier contacts in thier mouths, or over wearing them ( contrary to what some believe: a 2 week lens is not the same as a 2 month lens, it's the fda, not a scam to bilk patients out of $), as long as you're seeing your eye doc regularly and your eyes are healthy, have at it. Eye health is paramount.

Last edited by Optical Goddess; 08-04-2010 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:45 AM   #7
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Contact user.

Like: That I specifically don't have to wear
classes when exercising, outside in the heat,
going places, etc.

Dislike: The kind I have, I cannot use for sleeping
purposes, so I have to take them out every night
which I've gotten use to so it isn't so bad.

Advice: You'll have to get use to how different
you'll look. Also, you'll have the "ghost glasses"
where you'll have to feel like you need to push
up your glasses. Don't worry, it will pass.

Use: I wear mine in the shower, not when I sleep.

My adjustment period: I go for a checkup once every
6 months - year. My eyes hardly change so there's no
need for me to go frequently unless I need more contacts.
I also throw out my contacts ever two months or so.
They say a month, but I don't want to waste what isn't
damaged, filthy, etc. and it's worked out fine for me.
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An it harm none, so mote it be.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:25 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone, for all the advice!

I'm back from the appointment. First of all, this is the first time I've been to this eye doctor and she was GREAT. She really took her time and explained everything so well. If anyone in Atlanta needs an optometrist, let me know and I'll pass on the info.

First big difference from my previous - they were able to give me a trial pair so I'm wearing them now. A million years ago, I had to have them made and wait about a week to get them.

After talking with me and listening to my questions/ideas, the doctor is having me try soft, monthly (or maybe they're 2 week?) lenses. She said they don't make daily disposables for my astigmatism, and at this point I'm not sure if I'm going to wear them every day or just for exercise or certain events.

Something cool is that she's having me try 2 different brands, one in each eye. I never even thought about being able to do that. This way I'll be able to see which are more comfortable/right for me.

I'll be honest, I didn't love it when I had to practice taking them out and putting them in. The poor optician who was in there with me was SO patient and helpful, but I felt awkward and a little frustrated. She said it'll get better and faster the more I do it, so I'm hoping that happens soon. I'm a little nervous about doing it on my own tonight and tomorrow.

I have a follow-up next week to see how I'm doing and order what I like. Right now, things are still a little . . . strange? I mean, everything's clear, but I can tell this isn't "normal" for me yet. I'll see how it is tomorrow, when I try for a full day.

Optical Goddess, I can totally tell you love what you do, so don't worry about being wordy - it was very helpful. And I always have been a paranoid rule follower, so I'm definitely only wearing them for as long as I should, and they will never be near my mouth.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-05-2010, 02:46 AM   #9
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I loved wearing contacts. The freedom to run, swim, walk in the rain, and do so much more is wonderful. Unfortunatey my sight has gotten to a point that contacts aren't an option so I'm stuck with classes until I'm old enough for the laser eye surgery. I say try it out!
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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You might want to try getting your lenses from 1800contacts as well. One of the bonuses is that if you get lenses and don't like them, they will exchange out for another brand/kind. I had a script for Freshlooks and Biofinities, got the Freshlooks filled and HATED every second I had them in my eyes, so I just called and they had me send the Freshlooks back and sent me out the Bios after I paid the small difference in price.

Keep in mind though that contacts are a prescription thing, so you can't just order whatever you want. Your doctor should be able to put a couple of prescriptions on file for you though that can be verified by 1800C's Rx department.

For me, the Bios tore too easily, and I'm in AirOptics now. Love, love LOVE them. Just got glasses delivered from EyeBuyDirect online as well ($30 for two pair, including shipping. Seriously.) so I have them for back up and in the evenings after I take my contacts out. I totally agree that not having a backup pair sucks big time.
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