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"They're too fiddly!" And 3 Other Reasons You Think You're Too Old For Contact Lenses

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If you think there's an age limit for wearing contact lenses then you're probably still clinging to myth and bad experiences. Contact lenses have significantly improved over the years and are evolving all the time in terms of creating more comfortable and affordable lens types. If you're still sticking to one of the following excuses, best kick them to the curb now and give contact lenses a chance.

Excuse 1 "The contacts I tried years ago were very uncomfortable"

There's your problem - the contact lenses of yesteryear didn't provide much in the way of comfort. Old-fashioned 'hard' lenses and early generation 'soft' lenses (which were pretty thick anyway) have nothing on today's range of contacts. You'll be glad to hear that current soft lenses are far thinner, lighter and exceptionally more comfortable than their older counterparts.

Another reason you may have found contact lenses uncomfortable is how easily older lenses absorbed dust and debris. You are naturally more prone to dry eyes in later life, so a buildup of debris, however small, will have caused extra irritation to you. Thankfully, modern lenses are made from a more durable, protective material. What's more, you now have the option of using daily disposable lenses to avoid irritation and debris build-up from constantly wearing the same lenses. In fact, wearing new lenses every day can actually help to relieve dry eyes in some people.

Due to eyelid elasticity weakening overtime, older people can suffer from 'incomplete blinks', which basically means that the eyelids never fully shut when blinking - leaving the eyes exposed to the elements, which can rob them of all-important moisture during the day. Contacts helpfully seal in moisture to prevent dry and irritable eyes.

Excuse 2 "Contacts won't allow me to focus at different distances"

Many older adults need to see in two or three different states of focus such as near, immediate and distance. Up until recently, bifocal prescription glasses had this covered, but there are now similar multifocal options to choose from in contact lenses. Also available are brands of monovision contacts which allow for optimal close-up vision in one eye and distance vision in the other. These offer a convenient and comfortable alternative to reading glasses and give you the type of vision you need, entirely uninterrupted. 

Excuse 3 "I could never learn to touch my eyeballs!"

Admittedly, the thought of touching your eyeballs can seem unnatural, even slightly gross, but you're not randomly poking them to pass the time. The sensation becomes as natural as any part of your daily routine after your first few tries. With plenty of practice and professional assistance to help you master the technique, you won't think twice about touching them.

Your local optometrist will not leave you to fend for yourself until they have seen that you can demonstrate inserting and removing the lenses yourself. As you adapt to using contacts, you will find that you no longer notice the shape or sensation of touching your eyeball - only the feel of the lenses themselves. If it helps, there's never any cause to literally touch your bare eyeball - a careful pinch using your thumb and index finger lifts the lenses out of your eye and it only takes the tip of your index finger to place the lens gently onto your iris or the whites of your eye (depending on whichever technique you grow comfortable with).

Often, the anticipation is what can make the physical sensation seem worse, so make sure you're prepared by:

  • Using a magnifying mirror - standing up close to a regular mirror will only fog it up and give you very little breathing space.
  • Take a few deep breaths - if you have a 'let's get this over with' attitude, you're more likely to make mistakes, which only means more time focused on your eyeballs.
  • Without lenses, practice different techniques for keeping each eye wide open, for example, lifting your upper/lower eyelids or bringing one hand around to lift your brow. The wider and more accessible your eyeballs, the quicker it can all be over with!

Excuse 4 "They're too fiddly to look after"

If your last memory of cleaning contacts was dipping them in and out of several solutions and sterilising them in a machine overnight, then it's no wonder you're still put off, but fear not - things have changed. Today, most reusable contacts require a single daily rinse in saline solution, and with daily disposable lenses, there is no maintenance at all, as these come in their own pod of saline solution.

If you still think of contact lens maintenance as a nuisance, compare this to the annoyance of misplacing your glasses, wiping them free of raindrops and smudges or having them steam up (or worse) fly off your nose during exercise. Contacts make these irritations a thing of the past!

Still a little uneasy about making the switch? All it takes is a quick eye examination with your optician. From there, they can arrange a trial period to let you get to grips with your new prescription lenses before arranging a regular and affordable contact lens plan to suit you.