When I was 13, I changed schools.
This is significant in terms of this review, because it marks the point, nearly 27 years ago, when I became a contact lens wearer. My bargaining tools, for parent manipulation, were a) I'm responsible, b) I have a Saturday job and a paper round, so can pay for them myself, and c) it'll be cheaper than replacing every broken pair of specs I present you with.
So I started with gas permeable lenses then, changed to soft at the age of 18, and basically abused my eyes from that point forward until around 25 or so. A check up at 30 revealed "moderate" neovascularisation, and my lens wearing was chopped to no more than six hours at a time, no more than twice a week.
Fast forward 10 years, and at a lens check (for I still kept them up, regular as clockwork) at a new optician, having recently moved, the lens practitioner said "you know, if you had gas permeable lenses, you could go back to full time wear". I related teenage tales of unbearable irritation, three different solutions, weekly protein remover tablets, poor vision (only vanity stopped me giving up altogether...), and said that I didn't think it was for me. He reassured me that technology had moved forward, especially in terms of solutions, and that it was worth a go, especially as my job frequently requires glasses-free good vision. Something I don't naturally have. In fact, my visual accuity is such that I couldn't hit a cow's backside with a banjo without considerable optical assistance.
So I was persuaded, and five months on, I'm impressed. The entire package of lenses and solutions from Specsavers cost me £110 (I have a slightly unusual prescription, so this may come out cheaper for most people), and I've only had one episode of acute irritation which involved me attempting to get the lens out of a streaming eye in the queue in Matalan. Classy.
I've opted for the Boots standard gas permeable solutions over the Specsavers (exactly the same ingredients in the same quantities) as they're slightly cheaper, and I can earn points on them as well, thereby effectively making about one in every four or five purchases a freebie.
One thing I do find is that I need copious quantities of saline to rinse the cleaning solution off (the comfort solution isn't an effective enough rinsing agent), and even though I was told "nobody uses protein remover tablets these days", I do find that I need to use them at least once a fortnight to keep my lenses really comfortable, although it has been suggested on a lens forum that this is entirely down to "my age"...nice.
In short, give it a go, and keep up your aftercare. In my opinion, you do need to be more stringently clean with GP lenses, but they do what it says on the tin, and your eyes can breathe. An absolute must if you would rather not wear glasses. You may also (as I have) end up with a condition called "spectacle blur" when wearing glasses after having had your lenses in for an extended period, which I can only describe as similar to a night out on the Toilet Duck only with the sure and certain knowledge that you won't have a headache in the morning. Nothing, apparently, can be done for this, and you have about a one in 10 chance of it happening. Annoying, but harmless.
And that neovascularisation?
I started using Contact Lenses over 25 years ago and at the age of twelve. I was diagnosed as having eye problems at the age of eight and it was then I started to wear glasses. Both my eyes, at that time, were around –3. By the time I was twelve years old my eyesight had deteriorated to around –5. It was then that my optician recommended that I begin using Contact Lenses. This he explained would curb the decline of my eyesight. He informed me that if I continued to wear glasses I might end up being around –7 by the time I was 15 or 16. Thus began my adventure with Contact Lenses. When I first started of I was prescribed Gas Permeable Contact Lenses (Hard Lenses). However my eyes could not adapt to these so I was then told to use the Soft Lenses. At that time I was given Bausch & Lomb and I continue to use this brand uptil today. These lenses are made from special plastics, which soak up water like a sponge and become extremely pliable. The water allows your eye to 'breathe' through the lens. These very flexible lenses have the advantage that they're easy to get used to on the eye - in just a few days! Once in place, they conform to the shape of your eye and are very stable. These must be removed before you sleep and put into a special soaking solution for the night. They must also be cleaned regularly with another special cleaning solution and once a month you need to use “Protein Removal” tablets to remove the protein that is build up on the lenses. This causes the lens to cloud thus reducing the clearness of vision. The normal life span for a pair of contact lenses is one year, provided they are cleaned regularly and properly. Just two years ago I started using Disposable Lenses and since I am a dedicated Bausch & Lomb user, I went for their “SeeQuence” range. These need to be changed every two weeks. After this period simply remove the lense
s throw them away and insert the new ones for another two-week period. These do not need to be removed prior to sleeping. You can wear them for 24 hours continuously. No cleaning, no soaking, no hassle. I order mine online and they cost PDS.39.00 (Thirty nine pounds) for 12 pairs. This will last for six months. They are very economical indeed. Bausch & Lomb are one of the pioneers in optical products and their products are of excellent quality. I should know as I’ve been using them for 25 years. Contact lenses are a popular alternative to spectacles and gives you the freedom to enjoy good vision, without glasses, and this has many benefits for social activities, sports and pastimes.
I've been wearing gas permeable contact lenses for 12 years now and I love them. I've always had terrible eyesight and had to wear rather thick glasses constantly from the age of 8. When I became old enough to wear contact lenses I jumped at the chance. My parents bought them for me as a Xmas present and it was the best Xmas present I have ever had! Gas permeable lenses were chosen for a number of reasons. They are quite durable and don't tear like some soft contact lenses do. They are robust and so can put up with a lot of wear and tear and they don't turn inside out as I remember my flatmates soft contacts doing! One of the best points is that they are extremely easy to look after. I use one bottle solutions that are suitable for cleaning, soaking and wetting my lenses. I use a cleaner as well which removes any protein build up from my lenses. My lenses can be worn for up to 12 hours but if I'm going out I normally try to take my lenses out for a couple of hours. This gives my eyes a rest and my eyes don't get as dry later on. Like all lenses dusty conditions do annoy them and make my eyes water but it passes or I take my lenses out and rewet them. I can honestly say that contact lenses changed my life. I got lenses at the crucial age of 14 and I changed totally. I became a lot more confident and outgoing, I felt as I was now out in the real world and no longer hiding behind a very thick pane of glass. They are great for sports and in steamy conditions. I never liked swimming when I was younger as I couldn't see the end of the pool (I was that bad!) or my friends so I felt very alone. I now swim with my contacts in but I've always swum with my head well out of the water as I hate chlorine on my face. Hopefully I'll never lose a contact lens in a swimming pool! I have lost a couple through carelessness but my lenses are insured. I pay a set amount each month which gives me a yearly check-up with my optome
trist, insurance and a new pair of lenses every 2 years. The amount is so small I never really notice it coming out my account so it's a wonderful system. I would highly recommend contact lenses to anyone especially people like me who wear thick glasses - it's a wonderful sense of freedom!! PS I'm not sure if the category "disposable lenses" is the right place for gas permeable lenses. Mine last 2 years - I wouldn't call that disposable!