I'm looking for the most comfortable, hassle-free approach to wearing contact lenses.
October 21, 2008 12:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the most comfortable, hassle-free approach to wearing contact lenses.

I wore contact lenses for many years, but ultimately switched to glasses for two reasons:

1) Over time, contacts became less comfortable. I initially had rigid gas permeable, then switched to soft disposable, but even those would often not feel good. (I think maybe I have unusually dry eyes, but when I brought this up to my optometrist, he said he saw nothing to suggest that.)

2) I hated the hassle of putting them in every morning, taking them out every night, and especially cleaning them.

I've been wearing glasses full time for around eight years now, and now I'm considering switching back. (I just don't feel like I see well with glasses: I can never keep them clean; the anti-glare coatings work great for a while but ultimately make the lenses seem blurry; etc. FWIW, I am near-sighted and have pretty bad vision, around - 10.0 diopters in each eye.)

Anyway, I am looking for recommendations from people who, like me, are lazy and have sensitive eyes. Has contact lens technology improved over the last decade? What are the most comfortable lenses? What is the most hassle-free approach?
posted by medpt to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Like you I gave up for years, but came back to daily throwaway lenses and never looked back. A little more expensive, but so much more comfortable and practical.
posted by A189Nut at 12:38 PM on October 21, 2008

Most hassle-free approach: Lasik. That doesn't help much, does it?

In response to your first point, do you have allergies? There were days Claritin was the only thing keeping me from scratching my eyes out back when I used to wear Acuvue lenses.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2008

I have picky eyes too. Dryness is not the problem, though, getting enough oxygen is. So my optometrist has me in 2-week extended-wear disposable lenses, which I remove nightly. The idea is that these lenses are made to be worn continuously and are therefore easier on the eyes. I could theoretically sleep in them, but don't - if I do my eyes feel very dry in the morning.

So, extended wear lenses might address both your issues. They might be easy enough on your eyes that you don't feel the dryness. And you don't have to keep putting them in and taking them out or cleaning them - wear for two weeks and then dispose.

Discuss with your optometrist, and he/she will help select a type which will work for you. Mine is always willing to have me try a sample for a few days before making a commitment to a particular brand/model of lens.

Good luck!
posted by johnvaljohn at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2008

The disposable lenses are what got me wearing contacts again: far more comfortable and if I get stranded somewhere and cannot put them in a solution overnight, I can just, er dispose of them and be down ten bucks and not two hundred.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2008

I've always worn extended-wear disposables and had dry eye issues on long days and whenever I slept in them. I was recently switched to the newest Acuvues, Oasys, and have found that I pretty much never have dry eyes anymore, even if I sleep in them. They are pretty great, but a lot more expensive than regular Acuvues.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:55 PM on October 21, 2008

Contact lenses have changed a lot in 8 years (I went from "not bad" monthly lenses to "oh my god, so comfortable" monthly lenses when my new optometrist discovered I was wearing ten-year-old designs). Can you ask your optometrist to try some out? Especially with no-rub solution, cleaning and storing is incredibly simple and takes me less time than brushing my teeth.

FWIW, I use Oasys lenses, but I'm sure there are others out there that let your eyes "breathe", too. They're soft lenses, spec'ed for two week use by I wear them for up to 30 days (on the advice of a frugal optometrist) and have no problem with that.
posted by olinerd at 12:57 PM on October 21, 2008

I've found that getting more sleep makes contacts more enjoyable.
posted by mmascolino at 12:59 PM on October 21, 2008

I have acuvue daily throwaway ones and have worn contacts for 18 years. Putting them in and out is incredibly easy, and the thing that always irritated me (cleaning) is simply non-existent. I carry a spare pare at all times for emergencies (now, it used to be for short notice *cough*nights-away-from-home*cough*) and never have any issues. I used to have significant issues with dry eyes that were red from 4pm onwards every day.

I have had zero issues with the current ones, although they would be easily paid for in a few years with Lasik, they are the best alternative to that, in my experience.
posted by Brockles at 1:13 PM on October 21, 2008

oh this is weird. for some reason i thought you posted this like a week ago and nobody answered it, so i just me-mailed you an answer. anyway.....um... read your mail.

but for other readers, basically what i said was that there are some new brands out specifically for people with extra dry eyes. i will post the brand names later tonight when i'm home and can look them up. I currently wear Biomedics and they're very comfortable for my sensitive, very nearsighted eyes.
posted by silverstatue at 1:19 PM on October 21, 2008

I don't know if you can use them, but I wear Focus Night & Days. I put them in and basically forget about them for 30 days. Sometimes I'll soak them once or twice overnight during the month, but otherwise I do nothing. I do always keep some eyedrops around though.
posted by MsElaineous at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2008

I have daily throwaway lenses and I would never, ever go back to two week or monthly or whatever. Keeping in mind, however, that I have over time developed a pretty severe reaction to the protein that gets on lenses, and cleaning them was insufficient for me. However, the fact remains - new lenses are clean lenses and clean lenses are comfortable lenses.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:27 PM on October 21, 2008

Yes, things have gotten so much better in the past 5-10 years. Like others have mentioned, new brands have been developed specifically for dry eyes that are much more comfortable, particularly if you need to wear them 12 hours a day.

Additionally, there are now "No-Rub" solutions that make cleaning much easier (I like Opti-Free, but do try multiple brands - it really makes a difference).

It would really be worthwhile to ask your doctor for free samples, most are happy to provide them.
posted by susanvance at 1:37 PM on October 21, 2008

I also wear Focus Night & Day. However, if I don't take them out every day and clean them, they get uncomfortable quickly. Certainly sleeping in them every would be asking for trouble. (Note: I am very nearsighted so my prescription is strong and my lenses are much thicker than most people's.)

What I have found to help a lot is to have 3-4 pairs that I rotate through so that each one has a few days to soak between wearings. I have found that the so-called multi-solutions are no substitute for the good old-fashioned B&L daily cleaner and a few seconds of rubbing, and that you still need a product to remove protein deposits occasionally even though they claim you do not.

Of the multi-solutions, the one I like best is Aquify. There is also an eyedrop called Clerz that works well to dispel the haze that begins to develop in the afternoons. I also got an ultrasonic cleaner that is kind of a pain but which helps somewhat -- I put the lenses in at night and run a cycle, let them soak all night, then run another cycle in the morning, then move them to storage so they can soak another couple of days while I wear another pair from my rotation.
posted by kindall at 1:58 PM on October 21, 2008

One of your issues is the hassle of cleaning but, something that made my contacts much more tolerable was switching to Clear Care solution. My 30 day contacts would start bothering me within a week until I switched. The stuff is just hydrogen peroxide but seems to clean much more thoroughly. The minus is that you MUST let them soak for at least 6 hours so the solution can neutralize.
posted by Carbolic at 2:26 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chiming in to recommend the Focus Night and Days. My wear schedule: In on the 1st, out for one night to soak around the 15th, throw away on the 31st (and sleep with no contacts that night, so I basically go two weeks at a time not thinking about my eyes). They're not just comfy, they're forgettable. My eyes don't feel a thing on them. Total time spent = maybe 10 minutes/month.

I also am in love with the Aquify solution.
posted by mysterious1der at 2:27 PM on October 21, 2008

It sounds like you haven't tried 1-day disposables. They completely address the hassle factor. And I find them very comfortable -- even more so now that I'm wearing Acuvue "Moist".
posted by Perplexity at 2:43 PM on October 21, 2008

I really like the Clear Care too. I am definitely switching when I finish this bottle of regular no-rub solution.
posted by bink at 3:01 PM on October 21, 2008

I'm currently using Acuvue 2, you leave them in full-time for 2 weeks then replace. Absolutely brilliant, I used to use dailies, but the hassle factor of fiddling with your eyes, falling asleep in them, along with the amount of waste (60 empty plastic containers a month vs. 4)

With these lenses my eyesight is definitely sharper then the same precription in daily disposables, I even tried wearing a daily in one eye and a biweekly in the other and the difference was very notable.

As an added benefit the biweekly ones work out cheaper, win/win.
posted by Static Vagabond at 3:17 PM on October 21, 2008

Clear care is awesome. Just don't get it in your eyes! (I wish I could wear soft contacts; I had a severe allergic reaction to them after wearing them for a year and no longer can wear them. I wore RGP lenses for three years, but I just got tired of the hassle with them and the pain and how uncomfortable they were). Good luck!
posted by majikstreet at 3:26 PM on October 21, 2008

I've worn contacts for 10 years or so and I've never found a solution that makes my eyes feel cleaner and healthier than Clear Care does. I've had 30-day contacts feel clean well into six weeks (shh, don't tell my eye doc), whereas a new pair of contacts would always feel gunky after a few days of using SoloCare.

I too really hate removing my lenses as well. What I found to be most convenient and cheap was to wear Acuvue 2s full-time for a week. Wearing Focus Day And Nights for a month and soaking every 10 days or so is a close second, but those lenses are more expensive where I am and tend to dry out somewhat easily. Acuvue Oasys on a weekly schedule are probably the best way to go in therms of comfort and visual clarity, but they're 3x the price of Acuvue 2 so I was willing to accept the tradeoff and stick with the slightly-less wonderful Acuvue 2s.
posted by thisjax at 4:28 PM on October 21, 2008

I wouldn't call Clear Care hassle-free, which is what the OP requested. If you want hassle-free, go for daily-wear and throw them out, or get extended wear lenses abut wear them daily for a month at a time. Don't sleep in them. Soak them in a multi-purpose solution nightly that will take off the protein deposits. No special case required, no timing needed.

I was told by the cashier at the optical place where I shop that I was 'eligible' to buy the Acuvue 2s because I'd been buying them all along but that all of their new patients were getting the Oasys. I said "what's the difference?" and she said "nothing but the price, really."
posted by toastedbeagle at 5:37 PM on October 21, 2008

I have very sensitive/fussy eyes and tried a bunch of different types of contacts before settling on daily wears. I wear them 1-2 times and throw them out. Problem solved. I wouldn't recommend anything that you wear overnight or for several days at a time for someone who has sensitive eyes. And that's what my eye doctor said as well.
posted by FlyByDay at 9:03 PM on October 21, 2008

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