Product Type: Specsavers in Contact Lenses
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Contact lenses with no eye-scream
Specsavers Easy Vision All Day - All Night
Member Name: beckyX
Specsavers Easy Vision All Day - All Night
Date: 14/10/10, updated on 23/08/11 (1970 review reads)
Advantages: Leave in for a month, easy, good for lazy people
Disadvantages: Can't wear them swimming, have to occasionally clean them
These are a type of soft contact lenses that you wear for a month and then bin, which is perhaps not very environmentally sound, but means that you don't need to worry about protein buildup or complex cleaning rituals with nasty solutions that don't play nicely with the eyes.
Specsavers do their own version of several types of contact lenses and just slap their own branding onto it. So if you were to shop online, you would find that identical lenses would be available from different manufacturers. From reading around on the internet, I discover that they are also available as the brand name Biofinity.
They go through branding changes every so often. The ones I have are now called the Easyvision Opteyes brand, which are silicone hydrogel lenses that allow a great deal of oxygen to the surface of the eye. These lenses are designed to be worn long term and can be left in for an entire month. If you go to your optician and ask for lenses that can be slept in and left in for weeks at a time, they will know what you are talking about regardless of what the current branding name is this year!
Yes, you read that right, an entire month, solid, lenses left in your eyes without changing or cleaning. I wake up in the morning and can open my eyes and see. It's fabulous and liberating.
The lenses are a very standard size - diameter 14.0, base curve 8.6, power -2.25. They do go up to pretty high power (from -12 to +8), but for someone with only mid-level correction like me, these are pretty thin and small. Like most manufacturers of lenses (whether contact or glasses), at the extreme ends of the power range (i.e. for very short or very long sighted people) they are only available in half diopter increments meaning very short and long sighted people don't have their eyes corrected quite as well, but from -6 to +6 correction, you get your lenses to the nearest quarter diopter correction - just like you would your glasses.
The ones I have are not toric lenses (suitable for astigmatism). They do have some similar lens brands available (leave in overnight) with toric lenses which cost a little bit more.
==What are they like?==
They changed the type of lenses supplied slightly to a lighter, more flexible polymer a few months ago and the improved version of the lenses are amazingly light and comfortable. Like many lenses, they have a very faint blue tinge to them so that you can see them on your eye when you are fishing them out.
Although they are designed to be able to leave in for a month, I'm supposed to take them out and clean them about once a week to stop the build up of oily secretions. If this happens, the lenses get a bit smeary and it's like looking through dirty glasses. However, I find that unless it's the middle of summer or I go to a bonfire or similar then I can generally leave them the full month without them getting smeared or uncomfortable. In fact, until they changed the polymer used in the lenses a few months ago, I could tell I was due for a new pair because they felt a bit itchy towards the end of the month. Now, I actually have to set an alarm to remind myself to change them otherwise I forget. The last eye checkup I had, I'd had them in for six weeks solid, to the absolute horror of the optician, who did admit that my eyes were absolutely fine with them!
The lenses come to you in two boxes of three lenses (one box per eye), with each box containing three sealed lens containers that are about two inches long, an inch wide and half an inch deep. At one end, there is a reservoir of buffered saline and in this reservoir sits a lens. These lenses are very flexible, very light and almost invisible. Which means to get them out, you fish around in there with a scooping motion, wait for the fluid to drain from your finger and see if you have a lens stuck to your finger tip. The lens will be in the reservoir somewhere, but it can take two or three scoops to find it.
Next, you sit the lens on your finger tip and hold it up to the light to see if you've got it the right way around - it should look cupped like a bowl. If the edges point up, it's the right way around. If they point out to the sides, it's the wrong way around. If you've got hard lenses or ones made of a more rigid polymer, you might imagine this is easy, but with these lenses being so flexible, it really isn't at all easy and sometimes you just have to guess. If you guess wrong, your eye itches and you take the lens out and try again.
Then you put the lens in your eye. I use the technique where I put the lens on my fingertip, I hold my eyelids steady and then place it gently on my eye with my index finger, look up, down, left, right, shut and open my eyes. By this point, it's either snugly in place or it has folded up and is either on my cheek or is on my lower eyelashes. As this polymer is so flexible, it can take two or three goes. I'm pretty rubbish at putting them in, which is one of the reasons why I have ones I can leave in for a month!
Every three months, a box containing my lenses arrives through my letterbox. Simple as. Every six months, I go for a contact lense checkup. Every two years, I have an eye test. If I need any extra checks, all I need to do is to call them up and they have routine appointments within a week or so, and emergency appointments pretty much imediately, as soon as one of the opticians has a gap.
Because these are leave in for a month, they do not come with solutions. This means that occasionally, I need to buy a bottle of cleaning solution. Sometimes, my optician gives me a small bottle for free, but they generally are available for less than five pounds for a bottle that is small enough that it can be taken on a plane (100ml) and you can use any variety that is suitable for soft contact lenses. My tip if you only use the solutions occasionally is to write on the bottle the date that you opened it in marker pen, because otherwise you'll never remember how long it's been open for and when it needs binning!
At the routine six monthly check-up, they check that my prescription hasn't changed using an eye chart, then look at the fit of the lenses on my eyes (meaning I need to have had them in for an hour or two), then I take the lenses out and they put fluorescein in my eye (a yellow stain that shows damaged areas under UV) and inspect my eyes under UV light. Then I pop the lenses back in and am good to go. Very easy.
The solutions that are used for soft lenses like these are ones that only have a single cleaning stage - all you need to do to clean them is put a bit of solution in the palm of your hand, put the lens in it, rub it both sides with a clean finger, then either put them straight back in your eye or fill up the the little lens container that comes with the solution and put the lenses in it to store them e.g. when you go swimming. Dead easy. What I usually do is to put solution in the tiny container, then carry it around with me all the time in my glasses case, then I don't need to carry a bottle.
The contact lens wearing comes as an inclusive package, where they charge me a fixed amount per month and then all my eyecare, including regular eye tests, six monthly contact lenses and my lenses are included in that fee.
The lenses I have cost 15 pounds per month. These ones are a special silicone hydrogel range that are very breathable and can be left in, which makes them more expensive than regular monthly disposable lenses. But I figure that it is well worth the extra fee to be able to wake up being able to see.
In theory, I am entitled to up to two replacement lenses per year, in case I drop them, lose them or break them. In reality, I rarely need to make use of this service.
I'm also entitled as part of this package to a reduced price on my glasses - I get one pair of half price standard Pentax single vision glasses or sunglasses in the ranges that are betwen 69 and 125 pounds. In reality, I've never actually bothered because my prescription changes so slightly, so I just use my now very old and very out of fashion glasses.
When I was a teenager, I couldn't wear ANY type of lens in my eye as it would go red and inflamed immediately. But most of the time, I can easily manage these contact lenses and they act as a barrier to pollen and to the irritants that are released when chopping onions, so it usually means LESS eye irritation than without them in. The solution that the lenses are packed in is a very slight irritant to my eyes, as are the cleaning solutions. Which means that I find myself in the somewhat odd position where my lenses become more comfortable the longer I leave them in for! Almost any slight irritation is sorted by a good night's sleep wearing my lenses.
However, it wasn't all plain sailing. Last year, in hayfever time, I did manage to get allergic inflammation of the eyes which meant that I woke up one morning and my eyes had clouded over and one of my lenses was lost round the side of my eye. Once that has started, it can rapidly get much worse if the lenses are left in. I had to go a month with no lens wear that time. But once it eventually got better, I've been fine since.
That was a really nasty experience, as I found myself unable to see near or far even with my glasses on, and I couldn't see well enough to get the lenses out especially not when one of them was lost! In the end, I phoned my optician in a bit of a panic, who fitted me in for an appointment that very morning, which I thought was great service (especially since they were cool, calm and professional and didn't laugh at me too much). They checked my eyes out, determined that it was just a simple allergy that would right itself a few days after the pollen lessened and that my vision would return in a couple of days, which could be speeded with buying some Sodium Cromoglycate eye drops over the counter.
When you first get lenses fitted, the optician makes jolly sure these are the right lenses for you and aren't damaging your eyes. So when I first switched, I had about four or five appointments in the first month, then after another month, then three months then finally six months. Now I'm on a six month checkup. Occasionally, they'll say that my eyes are a bit dry and that they want to keep an eye out (geddit?) on the surface of my eyes and make me come back a month later just to make sure that it's OK. So I really feel that they keep a close eye (oh dear!) on me.
==Can you wear them swimming?==
No. This is a pain. Well, you can wear them as long as you don't get any of the pool water in your eyes. But I never manage that, so I just take them out if I'm going to be doing any "proper" swimming. For a bit of splashing around in the pool on holiday, I keep my head above the water. And when I'm on the beach, I just scrunch my eyes shut when the big waves hit.
==Can you wear them on a flight?==
Yes. They aren't recommended to do so, but I've worn them on flights to New Zealand even, and you don't get longer than that. Take some eye drops (making sure you have ones that are compatible with contact lenses) and make sure you've got your glasses with you in case they do get too dry.
==Do they fall out?==
No. In fact, as these are a soft, flexible polymer, they stick pretty well to the eye. Indeed, it can be a bit of a bother getting the wretched things out some times as they get a bit of suction and you have to carefully peel them off!
==How well do I see with them?==
Amazingly well in fact. In low light levels around sunset, it's amazing how much difference they make to my vision and its clarity compared to wearing glasses. The other main benefit is when I'm using a telescope or binoculars, when I don't need to take off my glasses to see properly and get my eye up to the eyepiece.
==How hard is it to get used to wearing lenses?==
Well, put it this way, if I can do it then anyone can! I'm rubbish with eye stuff generally and yet I can manage to put these in and take them out. It's definitely a lot easier now I only have to do it once a month! But even someone as rubbish at lenses as I am can get through the whole ritual in less than five minutes: wash hands thoroughly with soap, rinse to remove residue, dry hands, take lenses out, put new lenses in.
My tip for switching lenses is to do one lens at a time. You get used to having perfect eyesight the whole time, so if you drop a lens when you are putting it in, then you have a fair chance of finding it if you still have one lens in. If you've taken them both out, you will likely never find it again!
==What if they get lost in my eye?==
First things first, don't panic. Are you sure they are still in your eye and the lens hasn't fallen out? Roll your eyes all around to try to get it to come to the front. If that doesn't work, next step, wash your hands thoroughly, get the contact lens case and solution handy, find a bright light, a mirror and get a bike light or other torch.
Your lens CAN'T end up behind your eye, but it can end up in the parts that are normally covered by your eyelid - you know the bits that the optician looks at by making you look right down or left or right or up, then pulling gently on your eyelid. So, what you need to do is carefully have a look around the whole outside of your eye and gently hold your eyelids back. If you are doing it right, this should NOT hurt! What you are looking for is something that looks a bit different from the rest of the eye. Hopefully you'll be able to see the tint, but if you try that and you still can't, that's where the bike light comes in. Shine it back and forth over your eye and keep an eye out for something a bit shiny in your eye - that's the missing lens. Once you found it, gently tease it over to where it is supposed to be. It will probably be pretty dry by now as your tears don't reach so well round there, so you'll probably need to take the lens out and put it in solution.
I need to play hunt the lens about once every couple of months. So you do get used to doing it, but it doesn't happen very often.
==Do these lenses stop me crying at soppy films?==
No they don't. I still cry at soppy films. Like when Theoden dies in Return of the King. Or the whole last half hour of the Time Traveller's Wife. But I can PRETEND that it's the lenses that are making my eyes sore so I do not lose my macho street cred. However, that excuse wears thin if I start actually sobbing.
==Can I use medicated eye drops with these?==
No. This is a bit annoying really. You can't just put your hayfever eyedrops or similar in your eyes whilst wearing them. But I find I rarely need them because my lenses protect me from the irritants.
I really get along with these lenses and have found the service offered by Specsavers has been excellent. It gives me near perfect eyesight without having to bother with wearing glasses or with complicated lens cleaning procedures. All for 15 pounds a month.
Summary: These lenses let me have nearly perfect vision for a month solid. I find this great.
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