I have been in the Optical profession for over thirty years, and have seen and heard many strange and wonderful eye-related things. I don’t get bored with my job, because people never cease to amaze me. This week I was asked a question that I had never been asked before... and then the following day, another person asked exactly the same thing. This totally amazed me and made me realise quickly that this need to be addressed.
“Can I please have a copy of my spectacle prescription, as I want to order some contact lenses to try them out?”
The short answer to this is NO! You can’t order contact lenses from a spectacle prescription.
The two prescriptions are completely different.
What are the differences between a contact lens prescription and glasses prescription?
The optics of the lenses in glasses and contacts lenses, are very different. This is because your spectacle lens prescription is worked out by the Optometrist in a frame which is a fixed distance from the front of your eye, whereas contact lenses sit on the surface of your eye. These are different optically, due to the way the lenses refract light travelling through the eyes.
Contact Lenses are classified as “medical devices”. As such they can only be supplied legally with a valid contact lens prescription (or specification) from a GOC Registered Optometrist.
The specification must include:
1. Contact lens manufacturer & Brand of lens fitted
2 .Lens Diameter
3. Base Curve
5. The date fitted, and the signature of the registered Optometrist.
A contact lens prescription is only valid for one year. After this time a new prescription must be issued to purchase contact lenses.
Contact lenses are not all the same; different manufacturers use different materials, sizes, fittings, thickness etc, and these parameters all impact the health of your eye, and your vision. These differentials can only be assessed by an Optometrist, who is professionally trained to examine all points of concern microscopically (to tenths of millimetres!)
Contact lenses come in a selection of base curves and diameters, and it’s important to wear the one which best fits your eyes. Contact lenses ordered without a proper eye examination and fitting procedure, WILL lead to serious eye health complications, and potentially painful and lasting damage.
There different types of contact lenses... Which one is right for me?
There are a multitude of contact lenses available on the market. Your Optician will know how to choose the correct type of lenses for
your prescription to prevent damage to your eyes.
For example, many people who wear glasses are not aware that they have astigmatism, a condition in which the irregular curvature of the eye causes blurred vision. Glasses correct astigmatism with lenses that are held firmly in place by the frame. However, contact lenses can rotate in the eye since they float on a thin film of tears. That’s why people with astigmatism need a special type of contact lenses called toric lenses to correct this condition. Toric contact lenses are designed for rotational stability to ensure they remain correctly oriented in the eye. An optician will flag this during your consultation and prescribe the correct type of lenses for you.
So the take home message is: If you wear glasses, and are thinking about trying contact lenses, you will need to make an appointment to see your Optician for a contact lens fitting consultation. We’ll look after you & take care of your eyes from there.
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