Fears of Newcomers to Contact Lenses
Many people who wear glasses would benefit from switching to contact lenses, yet they hesitate to make the switch because of common but groundless fears. Most of these fears are centered on inserting the contact lenses and taking them out, or the possibility that it might be difficult to get used to the feeling of having something in the eye at all times. These contact lens fears are natural—and trust us, you’re not alone. This article should help to dispel some of these fears and offer possible solutions to overcome them.
I’m Afraid to Touch My Eye
The most common fear about contact lenses is the actual touching of one’s eye. This is a normal fear—many people struggle even to put eye drops into their eyes, let alone an actual device. But this fear can be overcome with practice. When inserting your lenses, look up, and insert from below. After the lens has been inserted, look down to position the lens over your pupil.
One way to almost get around this fear is to ask for lenses that can be worn for extended periods of time; that way you’ll have to go through the process less often. Ask your eye care practitioner if you are a candidate overnight contact lens wear.
You should consider, however, that while extended-wear lenses may save you some trouble, they don’t address the real problem—your fear. You need to train yourself not to blink as the lens is being put on your eye. Many new wearers are afraid of scratching their eye while putting their lenses in or taking them out. Doing something as simple as using eye drops to wet your eyes before you put them in or take them out can reduce the chances of this happening. Also, make sure your hands are washed thoroughly before insertion or removal in order to wash away any dust or dirt particles that could be lingering on your fingertips.
What if the Lens Goes in Wrong?
Some people are worried that they will put the lens in the wrong place. But let’s think about this: There are only so many places for your lens to go once it’s in your eye, and most lenses are designed to align automatically or with a few blinks. The likelihood that you will insert your lens in the wrong location is slim to none. If your lens is moving around too much, the sizing of it might be wrong and you should remove the lens immediately and set up an examination and fitting with your eye care professional.
One fear that is understandable but completely irrational is that the lens will somehow slip behind the eyeball. This is impossible. There is a chance the lens can go upward, under the upper eyelid, but if you pull your upper eyelid out you can easily remove the lens. The bottom line is that your eyelids are connected to the back of your eye, and there is no room for anything to slip behind them.
What About the Risk of Infection?
Other people are afraid of giving themselves an infection by using contact lenses. But as long as you are taking proper care of your lenses, cleaning, disinfecting, and rinsing them, you should be okay. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses or placing your fingers near your eye. This step alone can significantly reduce the risks of bacterial infection.
Aren’t Contact Lenses Uncomfortable?
Some people fear that they will never get used to having something in their eye. This is occasionally the case. Some people are just too sensitive to have something in their eyes at all times. The best thing to do is to discuss this fear with your doctor. Try using soft contact lenses or silicone hydrogel contact lenses. These types of lenses have high oxygen transmissibility, making them more comfortable to wear. If comfort is still a problem, you can try using daily disposables, which eliminate the cleaning and disinfecting steps (except for your hands) and are worn only during the daytime.