Did you ever get used to hard (RGP) contact lenses?
August 20, 2018 1:09 AM   Subscribe

Did you switch from soft to hard contact lenses and got used to the pain/discomfort? What helped? Does it get better if you stick to the regiment? I'm looking for experiences of people that had no other choice. Last time I tried I gave up because my eyes couldn't stop crying.

My eyesight is terrible (one lazy eye at -17 which is useless, the other is -13 with a -2.75 cilinder).

My optician is suggesting I switch from my half-yearly-toric-soft-contacts to hard contacts, because there is really only one type of soft I can wear without getting halos, and because it's better for my eyes because those soft ones don't let that much oxygen through.

Last time I tried hard contacts, it just HURT LIKE HELL. So I gave up. Now I'm a bit more dedicated (I hope), but I'd really love some suggestions on how to make it work. Because I have another 60 years to live I think, and I'd like to be able to see.

Glasses: At this prescription, they 'see' a lot less well than contact lenses.
Laser surgery: Not an option, if I mess up my 'good' eye, I'm totally screwed, with -17 in the other.

Looking forward to your tips&tricks!
posted by Thisandthat to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you wear just one hard lens? I have keratoconus and for years wore one hard contact and one soft contact. If your lazy eye is really along for the ride and letting the other do all the work perhaps look at a hard lens on the good eye and a soft on the bad, that way your good eye has the best vision it can and the bad is as improved as it can be while retaining comfort. I found it impossible to get used to two hard lenses, this was a good compromise.
posted by deadwax at 3:16 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

My optician put me in RPGs when I was 12 because of how fast my eyes were changing. The discomfort does eventually pass, but it takes consistently wearing them for your eyes to adjust.

I don't have or recall any magic to get through the initial discomfort. It probably helped that I was a kid and had to wear them because my parents had just paid for them. I can tell you that once you get used to them, it feels like nothing is there.

What does your optician say is the best way to get used to them?
posted by argylekneesocks at 3:23 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, the RPGs are uncomfortable at first. I started wearing them at 10. I walked up how long I wore them. 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins. An hour. A few hours. Etc. At some point you do get used to them and I wore them for 16 hours a day for 15 years until I got lasik. I urge you to consider Lasik. I got better than 20/20 from a correction near your good eye. The chances of them messing this up are incredibly small, and they may be able to help your bad eye function with correction. Disclaimer: I went to one of the best in the country, you'd have to do the same. Don't freak out, you have options. Lasik to get you into a correctable range is 100% the answer to all of these questions.
posted by Kalmya at 3:50 AM on August 20, 2018

Two further comments:
*Lasik is not an option if you have one of a number of eye conditions, keratoconus is one. I don't know if the OP is in that boat but don't assume they can have Lasik correction if they are saying they can't.
*I never got to the point where the RGP lens in my right eye (the one side I wore) felt like nothing. I always knew it was there, even though I wore it full time for years. So it is a possibility for the OP that the feeling will not go away. This is a large part of the reason that I stopped wearing contacts when I stopped working in a vision critical career (lighting).
posted by deadwax at 4:04 AM on August 20, 2018

Find a truly great prescribing optician. One that has fit hard contacts for years and has the patience to get a perfect fit. I struggled with hard and would not have made it without a very persistent guy. Not sure how to find one.
posted by sammyo at 5:29 AM on August 20, 2018

Oh and teach yourself how to blink, only thing that really keeps the eyes moist.
posted by sammyo at 5:30 AM on August 20, 2018

thanks all!
my optician suggested to start in small increments to get used to them.. so I guess that's a trick.

I like the suggestion of one hard, one soft contact lens.. Perhaps I can do this trial period with just one. I don't really use my right eye anyway..

@sammyo, did you try multiple types of hard contacts before you found one that works? Is there a difference between different ones?
posted by Thisandthat at 5:40 AM on August 20, 2018

Why are you correcting the vision in your right eye? I know it sounds bonkers, but hear me out...
I too have (very mild) lazy eye one the right, though my vision doesn’t need as much correction as yours. I only wear one, soft, contact in my left eye because though the right can be corrected and my vision is a little clearer with glasses, I just don’t use that signal in my day to day. I’ve already accounted for not having true stereo vision by being virtually blind (except when I actively focus) on the right side most of my life, have no interest in wearing hard contacts and have been told that it’s extremely unlikely for the uncorrected vision to degenerate explicitly due to this decision (it will eventually, like all of our vision will).
One day I’ll get Lasik and have to decide whether to correct it then...that’s the best option. Until then, you might be one of us that just can’t convince your damn eyes to acclimate to hard lenses. Wearing just one softy in your dominant eye might work for you too.
This is again supposing that you already “don’t use” your right eye. It does seem to be common, based on my optometrist’s non reaction to my ordering only left eye contacts.
posted by zinful at 9:07 AM on August 20, 2018

I had to switch from soft contacts to RGPs nearly thirty years ago, once the soft lenses could no longer correct my one-two punch of hypermyopia + astigmatism. (Now with bonus bifocals!)

My experience has been that when properly fitted, RGP lenses are just as comfortable as soft lenses. But that caveat is really important. When I first got them, I had to go through multiple adjustments before they fit correctly & the inner eyelids could acclimatize. I had problems again a few years ago when the lab my optometrist used changed how it shaped toric lenses, leading to much "ow!" until he switched labs.

Tl;dr: the fitting process can absolutely take longer than with soft lenses & RGPs are much less forgiving.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2018

@zinful: I've tried using only one contact in my right eye (since indeed, I baaaarely use it), but it felt extra blurry on the right side that way, so now it's got a non-toric -13 contact in it to balance it out a bit (cheaper than a toric one, and not too strong that it takes over).
I'm seriously considering trying out the hard contact in my one good eye. The goal is to get something that's more aerating in that one, so I'm trying to get away from yearly softies.

@thomas j wise: Good to know! I'll make sure to try out different ones - I had no idea there were as many options as there are with soft ones. Just saw my optometrist today, and he was already leaning towards getting me 'bigger' ones, so that they move less on the eye..

posted by Thisandthat at 1:01 PM on August 20, 2018

Keep them scrupulously clean! I wear RGP lenses at night, while I sleep. If I get lazy and don't use a special cleaner, the lenses are incredibly irritating. I wear the right lense every night, it's my distance eye. The left, depending on what I'm doing, I may only wear once or twice a week. It's adjusted for mid range, sitting at a computer, etc. If I leave it out, my close range vision is incredible! I use a dual purpose wetting/comfort product, and soak my lenses in a peroxide product every few days. They always feel more comfortable when I clean them. One thing that does happen is my right lense will warp from more frequent use and no amount of cleaning will make it feel better. Regular checkups are important.
posted by LaBellaStella at 4:28 PM on August 20, 2018

I also wore RGPs for a while as a kid. This was 25 years ago, but I recall wearing them for a little bit at a time, then a little longer the next day, and then longer still until I could wear them all day. They actually didn't bother me in general when I was used to wearing them all day. What I never got over was the pain when I got a piece of dust or something in my eye.
posted by radioamy at 6:25 PM on August 20, 2018

Has your eye doc mentioned hybrid lenses to you? My ophthalmologist suggested them a few years ago. I didn't want to deal with the aggravation or cost of trying contacts again (I went back to glasses in college and rarely wear even soft lenses these days), but he said that they give you the correction of RGPs with the comfort of soft.
posted by radioamy at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2018

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