Your Guide to Contact Lenses

At one point or another in life, most people either need or think they need some form of eye correction. And so the saga begins.

Chapter 1: Glasses or Contacts?– The visually impaired prospect (that would be the former of the “needy”) or hypochondriac (the latter, “wanna-be needy”) then marches to the nearest optometrist AKA eye doctor. NOTE: The hypochondriac might also want to visit a shrink. At the eye doctor’s office, a few things will happen: first, you will state your concerns, sign some papers, and wait in the lobby for 15 or 20 minutes. Then, your name will be called and you will go to “the back” and wait for another 15-45 minutes. The optometrist will then join you, smile, and introduce himself. After having you read some letters off of a chart, the doctor will then scribble something down on a piece of paper, smile again, and bid you farewell. Anxiously, you will find the receptionist, who will translate the Scribble into Medical and if you are lucky, the Medical into English. If your eyes truly need some help in the seeing department, you have an important decision to make: glasses or contacts. If your eyes are fine, heck -you can make the decision, too, because lucky you- they make “fake” glasses and contacts! If you choose glasses, save yourself $200 and run to Wal-Mart for some cheap “thin-as-a-pen” glasses. If you choose contacts, you need to return to “the back” and find your optometrist.

Chapter 2: So Many Contacts, Only Two Eyeballs– Contacts are a tricky thing because not all contacts work for every person, which is why you cannot purchase them without a prescription. NOTE: Even if your vision is 20/20 and all you want is green, cat-shaped contacts for Halloween, you still need a prescription! Contacts come in many different forms: hard, soft, colored, tinted, daily, extended, etc. Once retrieved, ask your eye doctor to fit you with the perfect pair; simply saying “eeny, meeny, miney, mo” is out of the question. However, do not leave the decision-making process completely up to your doctor. If you do not want to have to take your contacts out every night, inform the good doctor that you would like to try extended wear contacts. If you want dozens of contacts hanging out in your bathroom drawer, make sure you mention your desire for daily disposables. Maybe you are the ultra-protective type who has a daily ritual including SPF 100 and an entire room dedicated to your sun glasses collection- great news!- created just for you is a special contact lens capable of blocking ultraviolet light! NOTE: UV blocking contacts are not meant to replace sunglasses, they simply double team against the big, bad UV rays. For the bold and daring, demand electric purple, neon green, or hot pink contact lenses. Whatever your style, technology today should satisfy it!

Chapter 3: I Found Some Contacts on Ebay, Can I Go the Cheap Route?– Yes, if you want your eyeballs to become infested with microscopic bugs, rot, and fall out. In other words, NO- not only is buying contacts without a prescription illegal, it is very dangerous- trust me on this one. Although buying contacts for dirt cheap online sounds enticing, stick to the websites that require a prescription from your eye doctor- those are completely safe. Make sure you get a copy of your prescription before ordering, so you can specify your exact needs. When ordering online, you need to know your Power, BC, and sometimes your DIA. Power refers to the amount of correction necessary to make your vision 20/20. It is a number between +20.00 and -20.00. FYI: The plus sign (+) means you have hyperopia (far-sightedness) and the negative sign (-) means you have myopia (yup-you guessed it! near-sightedness). NOTE: It is perfectly normal for your right and left eyes to have different prescriptions. Your BC is the Base Curve of your contact lenses, which is a number between 8.0 and 10.0 and simply exists to ensure you the best lens fit for your eyeball. DIA stands for diameter and like the BC, is for your personal comfort. This number is between 13.0 and 15.0. Now that you understand everything required for your online order, rest assured that contact lenses purchased off your PC are the same as those from your optometrist’s office (and maybe even a little cheaper!)

Chapter 4: Now What? As you can see, obtaining contact lenses is a relatively easy process, which has increased their popularity both for eye improvement and as a fashion trend. So even if you do not need contacts to see (yet), you know all about them and now can A) impress others with your vast knowledge, and B) file away this information for when you do need vision correction (or just think you do!).

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