My contacts are driving me crazy!!
February 6, 2009 4:01 PM   Subscribe

How long should it take to get used to a new brand of contacts?

I've been wearing the same brand of contact lenses ever since I started wearing contacts (about 6 years ago). I went to the eye doctor this morning for the first time in a few years, and my prescription had changed fairly substantially--plus she noticed that the type of contacts my old doctor had prescribed do not correct for my astigmatism.

So she prescribed me some different ones. They are not toric lenses (she said my astigmatism wasn't bad enough to benefit from those) but they are a bit more rigid than my old ones, which she said should help with it. The biggest difference, in my mind, is that according to the doctor they are the most "breathable" contacts on the market.

I don't know what it is--maybe more air getting to my eyes thanks to the enhanced "breathability"--but I've been having to blink a lot more today than I'm used to in order to be able to focus clearly on things; otherwise there's a bit of a blur--and sometimes blinking doesn't entirely fix that. Am I being impatient? I have a follow up appointment at the end of the month, so I was planning to try these at least until then. Is there an "adjustment period" for new types of contacts like this?

Sorry, just annoyed by the slight vision issues today and needed some reassurance as to whether this is normal. Thanks!
posted by mingodingo to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have to use a different solution to wet them/soak them? My optometrist claims that solutions make more difference to the 'feel' of lenses than the lenses themselves, and your eyes need time to adjust to the chemistry of the new solution.

Also, the new lenses a might be a slightly different diameter and curvature to the old ones. If so, the blurring problem is probably due to the muscles around your eyes not yet being 'trained' to blink in a way that keeps the lense in place. I've had this problem when switching brands of lense, and also when I first started wearing them. It should pass in a few days.

Drinking more water will probably help keep your eyes feeling less dry while everything adjusts.

I'm not an optometrist, but I've switched brands a few times and had a similar problem, and it worked itself out.
posted by girlgenius at 4:13 PM on February 6, 2009

The rigidity will also be a factor, even if you haven't switched to RGP lenses. So yeah, give it a couple more days.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:35 PM on February 6, 2009

Are they rigid gas permeable lenses as opposed to standard soft lenses? Are they a smaller diameter than the regular ones?

Then you are in for a long adjustment period, I fear. I never got used to the little SOBs.

If they are the same /type/ of lens but just a different brand, you really shouldn't notice a difference. If they really are the same type (including same water content %), maybe you are just adjusting to the new prescription? Or it's wrong?
posted by gjc at 4:37 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have to use the same lenses I've had for years. All the new brands that are super breathable and such are too thin for my eyes and just suction cup on. Definitely not comfortable. I've tried out a few brands, but always go back to the old type after a week or so.
posted by sanka at 4:37 PM on February 6, 2009

Response by poster: These are still soft lenses, but they're still thicker/stiffer than my old ones.

I'm not sure if the diameter is smaller--it looked about the same to me.

But I'm pretty sure they aren't the same "type" of lenses, because of the greater rigidity/stiffness/breathability/etc.
posted by mingodingo at 4:49 PM on February 6, 2009

I had this with the first toric lenses I tried (I know you said they weren't toric, but maybe the problem is the same) - they made my eyes dry up like cornflakes and I had to blink and squint to be able to focus, and it took me longer to take them out than it did when I first started wearing contacts umpty-zillion years ago. I have always found that contacts that will work for me feel comfortable pretty much right away, the ones which felt bad the first time I put them in still felt bad a week or even two weeks later. This brand might not work for you.
posted by biscotti at 5:06 PM on February 6, 2009

My doc also switched me to a different brand of lenses a year ago or so (from Acuvue to O2, for the same reason as you - "breathability", they also cost twice as much) and I started having issues with the lens. Regardless of how well I cleaned them, protein would build up and after a week, the lens would get so dirty that it would stick to my eyelid instead of my eye (some kind of irritation or inflammation), causing weird lens movement issues and loss of vision in the periphery of my vision.

The eye doc prescribed me some kind of eye drops that would stop the irritation, but I just asked to have my old lens brand back. No problems after that.

So your eye may not agree with the new contact lens formation. I would not treat it as normal and definitely raise it as a problem. I don't know if it's going to get any better in the long run, but for something as necessary as vision I wouldn't want to struggle any longer.
posted by meowzilla at 5:17 PM on February 6, 2009

mingodingo- weird. Never heard of that type. The ones I was talking about are very obviously smaller, so they likely aren't it. Could well be the breathability isn't for you.

It could be a fittment issue too, one of the variables of a contact lens is the curve of the inside surface of the lens. Even if it is fitted exactly right, a softer lens gives in to the shape of your eye. Where in a harder lens, your eye has to give slightly to fit the lens. At least that's how I understand it- that's how it can correct for slight astigmatism, by ever so slightly reshaping the cornea.

meowzilla- I used to have the same problem when I used permanent soft lenses! It took more like 6 months or a year for it to happen, but the effect was exactly the same. I had to switch to disposibles and my life has been better ever since... (And I'm relieved to hear someone else explain it that way, I thought my doctor was feeding me a line of BS.)

Oh, and another thing. I can't believe this is true, but I have no other explanation for it. One time, I needed new lenses. The doctor was out of stock on my prescription, so he gave me some trial lenses that he keeps on hand. They were the same brand, but were 55% water instead of 38% water. The higher water content made them impossibly comfortable. But also, they were UV blocking. Even though they were the exact same prescription, the UV blocking improved my eyesight tremendously. It was almost that same change in clarity that you discover when you put in contact lenses for the first time in your life. Now I know they say you can't see UV, but damnit, I can. I also noticed the difference when I was in a room with a black light. Normally, I find them face-meltingly annoying. Now that I'm UV blocked, no more. (It's possible I can't *see* it, but that my eyes can detect it and it confuses my auto-focus mechanism.)

My point being, could your new lenses not have UV blocking when your old ones did? Maybe you are noticing that effect.
posted by gjc at 7:24 AM on February 7, 2009

I have very sensitive eyes, and a lot of contacts won't work for me. (Actually, I have a very sensitive right eye, so I can wear any toric lens on my left eye, and only a very few lenses (non-toric, I only have astigmatism in one eye) on my right.)

If a lens is still uncomfortable after 3 days, it will never be comfortable for me. It's very rare that a lens which is still uncomfortable by the second day becomes comfortable for me: this happens exclusively if I have had a significant change in prescription, because I am also relearning to focus and that sometimes takes 2 days. I'd phone up the doctor and ask for different lenses -- there's no point in being uncomfortable for a long time.

I strongly recommend getting sample lenses whenever you are changing either brand or prescription (by more than 0.25, anyways). I also strongly recommend using a hydrogen peroxide solution, which I have found makes contacts last longer.
posted by jeather at 7:27 AM on February 7, 2009

I've been wearing soft contact lenses for going on 30 years now and I have to agree with jeather - if they aren't comfortable in three days they will not get comfortable. I've changed brands many times and usually it's a 24 to 36 hour adjustment period and after that you don't notice a thing. If after 72 hours they're still bugging you, tell the doctor you want to go back to your old brand. If your astigmatism is not great enough to need toric (mine isn't either) than I don't think it really makes a huge difference what brand you're using. However, IANAO, just very myopic.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2009

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