A contact lens for all
Contact lens optician, Lian Robson, on finding a contact lens suitable for everyone, from six to 71 years old
01 A patient’s contact lens journey can begin at any age. As professionals we should always be giving patients the option to access all vision correction methods that are suitable for them.
The youngest patient I have fitted with contact lenses is six and the oldest patient that I have fitted is 71. When first raising contact lenses with a patient, I think communication is key to success as contact lenses are not a one-product-fits-all. You have to look at a patient holistically, consider their lifestyle, age and budget, for example. Being open and honest in order to manage their expectations in terms of outcome is also important so they know what to expect. Being completely transparent with the patient can help with success.
02 For children, contact lenses are a way to allow them to be spectacle-free. This can help them with their confidence in social and school settings. It can also allow them to participate in an activity that could have been dangerous for them to take part in when wearing glasses.
A daily disposable contact lens would be my first choice for everyone, especially young children. While some practitioners can be hesitant to fit young children, in my experience I have found them to be considerably compliant – even more so than adults – and they are quick learners because they listen to you and understand that you know best.
The youngest patient that I have fitted is six years old. She wanted to be spectacle-free for dance classes, as well as at parties with her friends. Wearing contact lenses gave her so much more confidence and freedom. They made her feel like she was ‘normal,’ which is really important for young people.
I would also be considering contact lenses for children as young as six who may present to me on the path to becoming myopic. My experiences using MiSight 1 day to date have proven positive for this.
"They made her feel like she was 'normal,' which is really important for young people"
03 We live in a society where many people spend a large amount of their working day in front of a screen and I often speak to patients about contact lens options that can help reduce digital eye fatigue and dry eye.
I have found that this patient group is more knowledgeable and conscious about their health, and are also willing to try new products.
However, I pair this with patient education and advise on the 20/20 rule – have a break every 20 minutes, look at something far away, use drops and stay hydrated. There are also lots of things we can do now to help combat dry eye such as lid massage and dry eye drops.
04 For the older generation, I talk to patients about the contact lenses that are available as they become presbyopic and may begin to need a second pair of spectacles specifically for reading, for example.
Generally, I would prescribe a multifocal contact lens allowing them to be free of their spectacles, and giving them choice.
As contact lenses have advanced, I would now always fit presbyopic patients with a soft lens. Historically, hard lens wearers have tended to drop out of contact lenses as they become presbyopic because their eyes can be much drier. They begin wearing their spectacles again as they are more comfortable. By fitting, or refitting, this group with soft lenses, I have found patients to begin wearing their lenses all day again and they are a lot happier as a result.
For this patient group, needing glasses can make them feel old, but fitting them with contact lenses is like giving them back their old eyes again.
05 Overall, as a contact lens optician I am spoilt for choice now when it comes to the contact lens options that are available to me and my patients.
Mostly nowadays, anyone can wear contact lenses and I can confidently ask any of my patients if they wish to trial contact lenses because I know that there will be a lens out there that is suitable for them, regardless of their requirements and budget.