Contact Lens Basics

Making The Switch- The Adjustment Process From Glasses To Contacts


Making the switch from glasses to contact lenses is not usually a hard adjustment. There are more steps involved in contact lens care, but most people find them easy to use. However, it helps to know what to expect before making the switch. Choosing a contact lens type is a big decision. There are several lens types available, including hard, rigid gas permeable, soft, extended wear, and disposable. The kind of lens chosen will determine the amount of care and adjustment needed. For the purpose of this article, a choice of RGP or soft lenses will be assumed.

On the positive side of wearing glasses, the glasses are not placed on the eye, they are easily taken off to give the eyes a break, they last a long time and they are easy to keep clean and well maintained. On the other hand, wearing glasses can seem like a chore sometimes. They get dirty, fall off, slide down the nose, get scratched, etc. Some glasses wearers feel that they affect the wearer’s outward appearance, and would rather not have a pair of glasses sitting on the nose. For these reasons, and countless others, many people opt to wear contact lenses.

When adjusting to contact lenses, the first concern is how the lenses will feel when they are placed in the eyes. Contacts will be uncomfortable for a little while. They are a foreign object in the eye, and it will take a time for the eye to become used to that sensation. The sensation is similar to having a piece of dirt in the eye. Soft contact lenses will begin to feel comfortable almost immediately, while RGP lenses will take a few days before the eye is comfortable again.

To put the soft lenses in and out of the eye, you have to put a finger in the eye carefully. Wearer of lenses adjust to this. However, if you find it difficult then stick to wearing glasses. You need to grasp soft contact lenses in a sort of pinching motion when taking them out of the eye. You can also take out RGP lenses by pulling on the outer corner of the eye and blinking. Both types of lenses require placing a finger in the eye to get the lens in correctly.

The maintenance of contact lenses at the end of the day is more involved than that of glasses. Contacts need to be cleaned by gently rubbing them with a cleaning solution. They need to soak overnight in a soaking solution to prevent them from drying out. Some soaking solutions also disinfect the contacts. Care must be taken not to put soft lenses in water, as this will destroy the lenses. RGP lenses can be rinsed in water without doing damage to the lenses. Occasionally, contact lenses will need to have the protein buildup removed by use of an enzyme preparation.

Contact lens wearers should always have their lens case and glasses available, especially towards the end of the day. Contacts can become dried out after being worn for several hours, and the eye will need a break. There are rewetting solutions available to help combat the dryness and some wearers find them useful. For the times that the lenses need to come out, it is helpful to have the lens case and glasses nearby to make the switch back to glasses for the rest of the night. It is also a good idea to have those nearby anytime of day in case a lens is lost or gets dirt on it that won’t come off until properly cleaned. No one wants to be stuck with only one lens in or both unable to be worn and no glasses to help with vision.

When traveling overnight, the contact lens wearer will need to have the appropriate paraphernalia. This includes lens case, cleaning solution, soaking solution, rewetting solution and glasses. It may seem like a lot to remember, but it will soon become habit. Making a list and placing in the overnight bag will serve as a good reminder for these items.

Other things to remember when making the adjustment to contact lenses include not rubbing the eyes with the lenses in them, keeping the eyes closed when underwater to prevent the lenses from floating away and buy a good pair of sunglasses as contact lenses can make some wearers more sensitive to bright light.