Can I switch to these contact lenses?
March 1, 2012 6:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia contacts after hearing good things about them. I currently wear Air Optix Night & Day and have worn Focus Dailies in the past. The question is: I noticed that the base curve and diameter for the Oasys lenses are different than the base curve/diameter I currently wear. Oasys: 8.4 / 14.3 vs. Air Optix 8.4 /13.8. I don't want to pay for an eye exam if I couldn't wear these lenses, and I really want THESE lenses. So can I wear them?

I have been wearing Air Optix Night & Day lenses for about 10 yrs. Before this, I wore Focus Dailies, and then various others I can't recall. I currently use reading glasses over my lenses when needed, and my mother told me about her lenses, Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia, and how great they work out for her. She's familiar with the Air Optix and said I'd like these best, having tried other brands before. I am very interested in trying these lenses, but being budget conscious, I don't want to waste money for an eye exam if I wouldn't be able to wear them anyway based on the bc/dia measurements being different, even though they seem negligible to me.

Air Optix: 8.4 / 13.8
Focus Dailies: 8.6 / 13.8
Oasys for Pres: 8.4 / 14.3

I have never even paid attention to the base curve and diameter before, but when checking the lenses out online I noticed this, and then began researching what exactly bc and dia are. People, esp. on Yahoo, make it seem like you will seriously damage your eyes if you wear the wrong lenses, but there seems to be a conflict of opinion as to what constitutes a big enough difference. Of the two lenses I wore, the measurements are clearly different, and I suspect they are different for all the brands I have used to wear (but I don't recall there names to check).

The important question I'm asking is whether I'd be able to wear the Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia based on what I currently wear and have worn in the past? I just don't want to waste my money and be told these aren't right for me.

But secondarily, I am curious why a company would put a lens out with only one base curve and diameter option when they can't possibly meet the needs of everyone with only that one option? And if people really can seriously damage their eyes with the wrong lens, why don't companies have large varieties of options to choose from, instead of just 1 or 2?

Thank you so much in advance for your replies!
posted by LillyBird to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would suggest going to the doctor for the exam and getting a trial pair of the new lenses. In fact, if your doctor has seen you recently, he very well may just send you a trial pair without an exam. Can't hurt to ask.
posted by elizeh at 7:55 PM on March 1, 2012

I used to work for Cibavision, makers of Focus Dailies, and the base curve and diameter aren't massively important for soft lenses unless you have astigmatism or otherwise unusually shaped eyes. At least in the UK, opticians aren't charged a penny for trials, so you shouldn't have any difficulty in getting a trial pair as suggested by elizeh.

Disclaimer: the majority of my technical knowledge is concerned with hard lenses, but of course there's far more leeway in soft lenses, though I also dealt with them on a more general basis.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 2:28 AM on March 2, 2012

Be aware that Oasys has caused problems for at least some users. Both my wife and I had irritation issues, and she has been unable to wear lenses since a 6-month period of problems, which we now suspect may have been related to either the lens composition or curvature. We're neither hypochondriacs nor internet-diagnosis fans, but our experience is echoed online.

You only get one set of eyes; if you're considering this, spring for the eye exam and a trial set of lenses for a month, and make sure they work for you.
posted by ellF at 5:13 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Notice the base curve is the same for what you're wearing now and what you'd like to try; really the only difference then is the diameter. In my limited experience working for an optometrist, that won't affect your vision, just the feel of the lens (as it's a different size) - and you may not even notice that. If you've had an exam recently enough that you're still able to purchase lenses with that prescription (should be less than 1 year ago), your doctor should allow you to try different lenses* without a re-exam. If not, take your current prescription to a place that's friendlier/more interested in your business and see if they will, as suggested, give you some free samples (which, yes, are free to them and they are in fact legally barred from charging for).

*Not a different prescription, or an added adjustment for astigmatism, but different brands sure.
posted by attercoppe at 8:35 AM on March 2, 2012

Until I read ellF's comment I had no idea that I was the only one who could not tolerate the Oasys lenses. I'm back in the Air Optix for Astigmatism lenses and they are fantastic.
posted by Coffeemate at 9:37 AM on March 2, 2012

I would suggest asking if you can get a trial pair. I also wear Air Optix Night & Day 8.4/13.8 and was accidentally given a box of 8.6/13.8 instead. After a few hours my eyes were extremely irritated (felt like I had something in my eye I couldn't get out) and streaming tears. The optometrist I spoke to said that it is less damaging to err on the side of a larger bc, which will just slide around a bit, than a smaller one, which can scratch the cornea. He was surprised I experienced so much discomfort.

On the other hand, I have throughout the past thirteen years worn other brands of contacts with bc's of 8.6 and 8.7 and never had a problem. An 8.6 in one brand is not the same as an 8..6 in another (which they seriously need to work on). YMMV.
posted by ke rose ne at 4:47 PM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I really appreciate it.

ellF & Coffeemate: I had no idea that Oasys lenses were causing some users trouble. The Air Optix, formally Focus Night and Day, also caused problems for some people when they reformulated the lens. I still have the old Night & Days, per my Drs. request, since he'd had so many complaints from other patients. But I'm glad to know this ahead of time about Oasys, because all I saw online and heard from my mother were rave reviews.

ke rose ne: So sorry that happened to you. Thank you for sharing the info your Dr. told you. I agree, they really need to standardize this bc/ dia thing!

Unfortunately, I'm 1 month past my 1-year exam, so I'd have to get another exam to try the lenses. I also have a large quantity of my current lenses left because I don't wear them daily, so I didn't want to spring for the Drs. appt right now unless it was going to be worthwhile to make the switch. I really appreciate all the replies and insight, and I think I'll just wait till I'm out of my current lenses and then have the Dr. try me for whatever multifocal lenses he thinks would work best.

Thanks again, everyone.
posted by LillyBird at 5:22 PM on March 3, 2012

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