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					Ellerker opticians have a long history of fitting and supplying contact
lenses of varies types for over 20 years now.
Stephen Ellerker, a contact lens practitioner with an advanced diploma in
contact lens practice is available 6 days a week for contact lens evaluations
and annual contact lens check ups in Mardol, Shrewsbury.
Patients come to us for contact lens evaluations either because we, or
perhaps a friend, have recommended wearing contact lenses. Nowadays
contact lenses are worn either full time or just for sport or social occasions.
With the advent of a large number of different types of soft contact lenses we
can advise you of the best type of lens that meet your needs

A Contact Lens Evaluation
When assessing our patients for contact lenses we recommend a contact lens
evaluation which costs £30 if you have an up to date spectacle prescription.
This appointment enables us to assess your suitability for contact lens wear by
measuring the shape of your eyes, evaluating tear chemistry and trialling a
suitable lens for fit, vision and comfort. We then spend as much time as is
needed to teach our patients an easy technique for inserting and removing
contact lenses. At this point a weeks’ supply of contact lenses are taken away
for a trial period. A week later we re-evaluate and fine tune your contact lens
parameters before recommending the best contact lens modality and issuing
and supplying your contact lens prescription.

Annual Contact lens check ups
Contact lens wearers are expected to have their contact lenses checked
annually. Ellerker opticians will regularly assess your eyes for any
complications through contact lens wear. Because most contact lens
complications are ‘silent’ conditions, we recommend that your eyes are
checked regularly through our aftercare scheme. Where necessary we will
update your prescription or even change the material or lens modality to
keep your eyes healthy throughout your contact lens wear. Annual contact
lens check ups cost £30 – Free to those on our recommended aftercare
scheme.

Red Eye appointment
Occasionally a contact lens complication arises through either discomfort or
redness of the eye which needs to be looked at, by your contact lens
practitioner, preferably the same day. Ellerker opticians will always treat
contact lens complications as a priority and make provision for our contact
lens patients to be seen as soon as possible, preferably the same day. Any
treatment that is needed can then be recommended with immediate effect.
Red eye appointments cost £12 – Free to those on our recommended
aftercare scheme.
         CONTACT LENS INFORMATION


This booklet will advise you about various different aspects of
contact lens wear.

Summary Introduction

This booklet will advise you on

How to
      Insert and remove your contact lenses
      Care for your lenses
      Store your lenses
      Clean and disinfect your lenses
      Use Supplementary eye drops

Wearing schedules

Periodic review of your contact lenses

Seeking professional advice where your eyes are

      Red and bloodshot
      Experiencing discomfort
      Persistent watering or other discharge
      Visual disturbance
      Thinking of changing contact lens solutions
      Thinking of changing brand of contact lens

How and where to obtain professional advice

      During office hours
      Outside office hours

Relevant Clinical Information

Information about Eye care professionals
Contact Lens Instruction Sheet

Soft Lenses

Congratulations on choosing Contact Lenses. They will provide you with
safe, trouble free and comfortable wear coupled with excellent vision,
provided you follow a few simple rules. Please ensure you read this
information sheet and keep it for future reference. If there is anything
you haven’t understood or on which you require more information please
do not hesitate to ask us.



INSTRUCTIONS
Always wash and dry your hands on a lint free towel before handling your
lenses.
Make sure the lens is immersed in solution before removing. Do not use
new lenses if packaging is not sealed. Contact Lenses must not be shared.

LENS INSERTION
For each eye, ensure the lens is not inside out. Place on
your index finger to verify the shape.
Using your other hand’s index & second finger hold up the
upper lid, use the third finger of the original hand to hold
down the lower lid. Place the lens gently but firmly directly
on the eye. Repeat the procedure for the other eye.

Picture needed here of lens being inserted

Hints
Hold the lids from inside the lash line. This will keep the lashes well out of
the way and give more control.
Don’t worry about getting the lens on the cornea (coloured part of the
eye). If you put it on the sclera (white part of the eye) it will
automatically centre itself

LENS REMOVAL
Don’t forget to hand wash. Look up and hold down the lower lid. Slide the
lens down onto the white of the eye before gently pinching it and lifting it
out with the pads of your forefinger and thumb. Repeat the process for
the other eye.

Picture needed here of lens being removed

Re-CENTREING
In the unlikely event that the lens becomes decentred simply close your
eye and massage it through the lids. A lens seemingly trapped
under your upper lid can do no damage. Call in and see us as soon as
possible.

CARE OF YOUR LENSES

DISINFECTION/SOAKING
Clean & disinfect your lenses in strict accordance with the instructions
given by us and printed on the solution packaging.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LENSES DRY OUT
De-hydrated lenses are usually beyond recovery however sometimes it is
possible by re-hydrating the lens in disinfecting solution for 2 hours then
cleaning and disinfecting for 24 hours in accordance with the instructions
on your solution bottle.


PRECAUTIONS
These lenses are designed for frequent replacement. We will have advised
you on your personal wearing, cleaning and replacement regime. Under
no circumstances should you vary these. If in any doubt seek advice from
us.
Always clean and disinfect your lenses as instructed, after lens removal.
If your eyes become red or irritated, or you experience any pain or
discomfort, remove your lenses; immediately and contact us as soon as
possible.
Avoid contaminating your lenses with make up, aerosol sprays or wearing
them near noxious fumes.
Replace damaged, contaminated or scratched lenses immediately.
Avoid long nails, which harbour, bacteria and potentially can scratch your
cornea. A scratched eye is vulnerable to infection.
Keep your lenses out of the reach of children. Only use your lenses for
water, sports wearing water tight goggles.

WARNINGS

Never sleep in your lenses unless you are wearing continuous wear lenses
and you have been advised by us that it is safe to do so.
Never wear your lenses beyond the recommended wearing schedule
Never use household products (such as bleach) on your lenses.
Never use saliva to wet or clean your lenses.
Never rinse your lenses or lens case in tap water.
Never share lenses.
Remember, If In Doubt – Take Them Out, and contact us as soon as
possible.
Wearing Contact lenses: Hygiene and Safety

Introduction

This factsheet will consider the support people will need once they
become regular contact lens wearers. It gives advice about how to look
after your contact lenses and your eyes and discusses some of the
problems regular contact lens wearers may face.



Contact Lens Hygiene

Optometrists stress the importance of people developing a routine for
cleaning lenses which must be followed at all times.
The person (and their carer) will need to learn how to clean lenses.
There are different cleaning systems. Some people may need a
prescribed lens cleaner (not bought over the counter at a chemist). They
may also need a separate disinfectant.
Your contact lens practitioner will also explain the need for people to
develop a system so they know what to do if they get grit in their eyes in
the street and their eyes stream with tears.
Wearing Schedules
Getting used to wearing lenses varies from one person to another
depending on their tear chemistry

Patients are advised that they should build up their wearing time with
contact lenses. A popular wearing schedule for beginning contact lens
wearers is 4 hours the first day followed by increasing by 2 hrs a day

Wearing time can be as little as an hour each day. This can increase over
a period of weeks or months. Over this time the cornea gets used to the
contact lens and comfort improves.
Wearing time must be increased in comfortable environments - without
draughts, air-conditioning, dust or smoke.


Developing a routine for contact lenses

Many experienced wearers of contact lenses have developed a routine
that they strictly adhere to for inserting and removing lenses. Keeping to
a well-established routine reduces the possibility of damaging or losing
the lenses.

People with supporters or carer s may need to ensure that they have
guidelines and training.
Other aspects of contact lens wear

Prescribing

To prescribe effectively the dispenser will usually expect the person to
provide a degree of verbal feedback regarding comfort of lenses and their
effectiveness.



Discomfort

Soft contact lenses should always feel comfortable in your eyes. Hard
contact lenses however cause discomfort and are uncomfortable to wear
for the first few weeks. Additional eye drops may be recommended in the
event of soft contact lenses feeling uncomfortable after a period of wear.
Different drops are recommended for different symptoms, and your
contact lens practitioner will advise you of the best type of eye drops to
use.



Losing them in and out of the eye

Inserting and removing lenses from the eye requires a steady hand. They
are easily dropped!
Handling lenses requires good hand-eye co-ordination, and need to be
placed on the correct part of the eye to get the most out of wearing them.
Lenses can fall out and, being small, they may be hard to find. They need
to be cleaned every time before they are re-inserted. Lenses may get
stuck in the eye, disappear under the top eyelid and be hard to retrieve.
If this happens, ask the person to look down and inwards. If this fails,
contact your contact lens practitioner.


Hygiene

Eye infections can be caused by careless habits.
Strict hand, fingernail and eyelid cleanliness while handling lenses is
important, in order to avoid a risk of infection or inflammation of the
cornea.
Eye rubbing with a lens in place could cause damage to the cornea. This
could result in infection if hand hygiene is poor.
Lenses must be kept clean.
Lens cleaning routines must be adhered to.
There should be agreement about who is responsible for ensuring the
service user has a constant supply of prescribed cleaning solution.


Weather

Gusts of wind, dust and tiny, barely visible, foreign bodies can become
unbearably uncomfortable if they get underneath a contact lens. There is
usually a gritty sensation or pain which may necessitate the removal and
cleaning of lenses, sometimes in strange places!




Air-conditioning

Air-conditioning may make contact lenses uncomfortable if the air is dry,
especially during air travel.



Allergies

Severe hay fever and allergies may make it impossible to wear lenses at
certain times of the year. You may need to be prescribed anti-allergy eye
drops by your optometrist.



Dry eyes

Dry eyes as a result of women's menstrual cycle, the menopause and
hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may reduce the time for which
lenses can be worn.



Wearing glasses instead of lenses

There are occasions when it is safer or more appropriate for people to
wear glasses instead of contact lenses. For some it can be when the
pollen count is particularly high. For others working in a hairdressers
where they are exposed to mild fumes from colouring agents. Swimming
underwater and so on.
9 Rules to Keep Your Contacts and Eyes Healthy


An individual only gets to live life with one pair of eyes. Contact lenses
have been a revolutionary aid to those with impaired vision – allowing you
to see life clearly and vividly. However, through the improper wearing and
care of contact lenses, damage can be done, which is sometimes
irreversible. By following these nine rules, you can keep your contacts
well maintained and your eyes healthy against the threat of disease and
injury.

Rule 1. Make sure you get the right contact lenses for your eyes. Be
especially careful not to order lenses without getting an eye check-up and
prescription first. Getting the correct lenses is the first step to protecting
your eyes.

Rule 2. Wash your hands before handling your lenses, and clean them
with the proper solution each time you wear them, and each time you
take them out of your eyes.

Rule 3. Replace your contact lens case often. The exposure to solution
and air can cause build-up on the case, sometimes invisible to the naked
eye. Clean it often and replace the case every few months for best
results.

Rule 4. Use proper care when it comes to your contact lens solution.
Never use a solution that has passed its expiration date, and never use a
solution not recommended for your lenses. It is also advisable to avoid
putting your lenses back into a pool of the same solution more than once.
Squeeze fresh solution from the bottle each time you take your contacts
out.

Rule 5. Be wary about letting your soft contacts dry out. This can cause
them to become brittle and un-wearable. If your contacts are not in your
eyes, they should be in solution.

Rule 6. Never wear contact lenses past the point advised in the
instructions. Disposable contacts have various schedules for wear, and
these should be followed exactly, even if you feel the contacts are fine
and could continue to be worn for a longer period.

Rule 7. Avoid exposure to smoke and other irritants that can cause build
up on your lenses and contribute to dry eyes.

Rule 8. Don’t continue to wear contacts if you feel irritation or pain. Take
them out and clean them before trying again. If the irritation persists,
contact your eye physician for further instruction.
Rule 9. As a general rule, it is unhealthy to sleep with your contact lenses
in. There are exceptions to this rule, such as some contacts made by
Bausch & Lomb or Johnson & Johnson that are specifically designed for
night wear.



Dried Out Soft Contact Lenses
Soft contact lenses are partially or even mostly made of water. When not
in use, it is important to keep them hydrated by storing them in contact
lens solution.

Sometimes a lens can get stuck on the underside of the lens case lid or
otherwise accidentally dry out. It’s usually possible to revive and use the
lens again. As lenses break very easily when they are dry, it's important
not to touch or try to remove a dry lens that is stuck to a surface.

Soften the lens with a multiuse solution and wait a few minutes before
attempting to remove it. Place the lens back in its case, cover it with
solution, and wait at least an hour before using it again.

Read here for tips on what you should do if you forget to take out the
lenses before going to sleep.




Sleeping in Contact Lenses
Most contact lens wearers have fallen asleep while wearing their contact
lenses at one time or another, but that doesn't mean it’s a safe practice.
If you're planning to stay overnight somewhere, of course it's smart to
take a contact lens case and solution with you. But what do you do when
it's time to go to sleep and you find yourself in a place without your
cleaning liquid or lens case?

Unless you're using extended wear lenses that are designed specifically
for this purpose, you shouldn't leave the lenses in for the night. It's better
to take the lenses out and put them in a glass of water—that is, if you can
find your way home in the morning without them, as you definitely need
to disinfect them before wearing them again.

If you go to sleep without removing your soft contact lenses, your eyes
might be very dry in the morning. The contact lenses may be stuck and,
in the worst case scenario, you will not be able to see anything clearly.
The most important thing is to remain calm. It's a frightening experience
to find oneself blinded all of a sudden, but the condition should be only
temporary.
Whatever you do, do not try to remove the lenses forcefully, as this
might tear the cornea and lead to some serious problems! Instead, drop
some suitable contact lens liquid or even pure water into the eyes and
wait a couple of minutes for it to soften the lenses, which should then
come out easily. After this experience, it's best to wear eyeglasses for a
while to give the eyes a rest, and to see an eye care professional to make
sure no damage has been done.



Strategies to Prevent Dry Eyes
According to the British
Journal of Ophthalmology,
nearly three million people
wear contact lenses in the
UK, with a significant
percentage suffering from
complications associated with
dry eyes. This may come as
little surprise to anyone who
wears contact lenses, which
are named as one of the
chief culprits causing dry
eye.

Contact lenses cover the iris, thus occasionally preventing the proper
amount of tears from reaching that area of the eye, and thus,
subsequently causing dry eyes. This is characterized by redness, an
excess of blinking, and sometimes foggy contacts and blurred vision.

What causes dry eye?

Disposable soft contact lenses are particularly prone to create dry eyes
when worn past the recommended time line. Most modern contact lenses
are made up of water in great percentage. When the lenses have been
worn for an extended period of time, they begin to lose some of the water
within the plastic lens. When this happens, the lens will automatically try
to absorb water from the tears naturally produced by an individual’s eye.
Certain activities can worsen this effect, including exposure to heat,
cigarette smoke, and wind.

Preventing dry eye

In order to prevent dry eyes, there are several steps you can take to
ensure your contact lenses are as comfortable as possible.
     Consider contact lens brands designed specifically with dry eye in
      mind. Manufacturers have created contact lenses to address the
      issues of dry eyes.
     Do not wear your contact lenses past the recommended expiration
      point.
     Clean your contacts regularly.
     Avoid exposure to irritants known to cause dry eyes.
     Consider purchasing contact lens rewetting drops. These
      formulations are specifically developed for contact lenses; these
      drops can be applied as a temporary solution whenever you feel
      your eyes need a little extra lubrication. If you have sensitive eyes,
      purchase eye drops that are preservative-free.
     Soak your contacts in solution regularly. If you develop dry eye
      symptoms only after wearing your contacts for a few hours, you can
      soak your contacts in your solution for 5 – 10 minutes. This will
      refresh your contacts and make them more comfortable to wear for
      the rest of the day.

Although dry eye can be common with contact lenses, you can easily take
measures to make contacts completely comfortable to wear.



Contact Lenses and Children: What Age Is Too Young?
There are many factors that play a role
in deciding if a candidate is right for
contact lenses. These factors multiply
greatly when speaking of a patient
who is under the age of fifteen. There
are questions that need to be
answered to determine if a child is old
enough and mature enough to wear
contact lenses.

However, wearing contact lenses is not
only a case of maturity and age.
Factors regarding the child’s lifestyle
and the state of their current vision
problems must also be evaluated.
While this decision should (and will)
ultimately be made by a licensed
optometrist, here are some things you,
as a parent, can take into
consideration when determining
whether or not your child is old enough
for contact lenses.
 Age is not always the issue

 Even at a very young age, the eye is versatile and can handle the strain
 of contact lenses. There are even cases of infants fitted with contacts due
 to existing eye problems that can be treated no other way. There have
 also been numerous studies done on children as young as eight years old
 that demonstrated the vast majority of children had little or no problems
 with the proper care, input, and removal of their lenses.

 Observation and considerations

 Therefore, in determining if a child is right for contacts (exclusive of
 medical vision issues), the question is not how old the child is, but rather
 how mature.

 As a parent, you will be best equipped to provide an answer to that
 question through the observation of your child. Does the child care for his
 belongings in a mature manner? Does he or she demonstrate the level of
 maturity necessary to handle contact lenses? It should be fairly easy to
 determine whether or not this is the case.

 Finally, talk to your child to see how he or she feels about the added
 responsibility of caring for and wearing contacts.

 Wearing contacts can be a blessing for children, especially if they are not
 well-adjusted to the teasing that can occur throughout elementary and
 intermediate schooling. However, for the long-term health of your child’s
 vision health, it is critical that personal maturity and responsibility is
 exhibited.


30 Day Contacts vs.
LASIK: Which Is Best
For You?
The world of vision
care has experienced
revolutionary
breakthroughs, with
two specifically
obtaining significant
attention. One of
these breakthroughs
is the development and perfection of LASIK surgery. The other is
the creation of contact lenses designed to be worn continuously for
up to a month.

Both of these breakthroughs have relieved much of the burden for
those suffering from vision problems. With either of these
solutions, the hassle and irritation of daily contact lens care and
wear are largely eliminated (fully, in the case of LASIK). However,
not everyone is a candidate for either one or the other. In order to
determine which of these vision solutions would be right for you,
let’s take a look at what each of these options offers.

The Permanency of LASIK

Using a laser to correct the distortions of the cornea, LASIK
surgery has grown wildly in popularity in recent years. Eye
surgeons have begun offering payment plans that make the
surgery affordable for most of the general public. The surgery
eliminates the need for contact lenses or glasses for most of the
patients (although there are cases where some form of optical
assistance will still be necessary after the surgery). The risks and
dangers associated with LASIK are very low, particularly if you use
a recommended surgeon with credentials in the field.

However, not everyone is a candidate for LASIK. If you have very
sensitive eyes, are under the age of eighteen, or have a doctor’s
diagnose of refractive instability (where your eyesight is still
growing poorer at a generally rapid pace), you will not be a
candidate.

Extended Wear Contact Lenses

On the other hand, there are 30 day contact lenses, developed by
Contact lens manufacturers using silicone material, which permits
far more oxygen to pass through the lens and reach the cornea.
This makes them more durable and easier to wear for an extended
period of time. This innovative material eliminates the need for
daily removal and cleaning, which can be much of the hassle for
existing contact lens wearers.

Making the Choice

In the end, the choice is yours. If money is an issue, you may wish
to forgo LASIK surgery for the time being. 30 day contact lenses
can be a viable alternative that eliminates much of the day to day
issues of contact-wearing away from the situation. They are also
an excellent alternative, for those who are not currently LASIK
candidates, but may be in the future.
A Makeup Guide For Contact Lens Wearers


     Put in your lenses
      before applying makeup. This will prevent oily makeup
      residue from getting on the lenses, as well as allow you to
      see better while applying the makeup. Remove lenses before
      using makeup remover and washing your face.
     If you use hair spray, however, try to spray it before putting
      in the contact lenses.
     Use only water-soluble products to remove eye makeup.
     Avoid dusty products such as loose powder. If you absolutely
      need it, at least close your eyes while applying it.
     Don't use glitter makeup near the eyes. Small metal particles
      might flake off and get into your eyes.
     Don't apply eyeliner on the ridge between your eyelashes
      and the eye; keep it further away from the eye. Try to avoid
      eyeliners that contain loose particles.
     Avoid mascaras that add volume, thickness, and length to
      eyelashes. They contain fibres that can flake off and get into
      the eyes, causing pain. Use a water-resistant mascara rather
      than a fully waterproof one. Many brands have mascaras
      designed especially for contact lens wearers.
     Replace mascara frequently. Mascara that has been used for
      a long time may become a nest of bacteria.
     To avoid spreading bacteria, don't
      share eye makeup with others.
     Don't use oily or creamy products
      right next to the eyes.




Sauna, Swimming - Can I Use Contact
Lenses? Although contact lenses provide
many different unique and beneficial
features, there are some types of
seasonal environments that are not
favourable for contact lens wearers. The
summer time months create the urge for
swimming and many different outdoor
activities.
For those of you who wear contact lenses
on a regular basis, swimming can only be
done safely if you are wearing air tight
goggles. Even if you are not planning on
diving under the water, there is always
the potential to have water splashed into your eyes and this can
force your contact lens to float around in your eyes or even absorb
the chemicals of the pool. In general it is best to go swimming
without your lenses or with disposable contacts you can throw out
when you are done.

In the Sauna

A very common question in relation to environments and contact
lenses is, ―can I wear contact lenses in the sauna‖?

You should preferably take off your contact lenses before going to
sauna, but many people frequently use contacts there all the time.

Your lenses will always remain closer to body temperature than
glasses. Therefore, they will not steam or fog up as much as a
result of the humidity or extreme temperature fluctuations.
However, they are unlikely to remain totally unaffected.

In the sauna your eyes usually dry more than usual. If you decide
to go to sauna, remember to blink a lot. Your contact lenses might
require some rest in their liquid before returning back to normal.

Contact lenses can be temperamental in certain situations like
swimming, but for the most part, they are convenient for any
activities you want to take part in. As a rule, for saunas, hot tubs
or swimming, relying on disposable contact lenses for these events
is always the safer route so you can enjoy your activities instead of
worrying about your contact lenses.




 How to Get Contact Lenses Out of the Eye when Stuck


              Getting contact lenses stuck in your eye can often be a
         painful experience. Sometimes contacts can slip too high or too
         low on your eyeball, making them difficult to remove. Your
         contact getting lodged anywhere in your eye can result in painful
         and extended headaches. Removing contact lenses from your eye
         when they get stuck may not be the easiest thing to do, but by
         staying calm and being patient, you will eventually get it done.
Instructions

You'll Need Eye drops

Step 1

  Wash your hands. The first thing you should do when handling contact
  lenses and touching your eye is to thoroughly wash your hands with
  soap and water to avoid contamination or infection.

Step 2

  Use eye drops on the eye with the stuck contact lens. If the lens is
  stuck due to the moisture in your eye having dried out over time
  (which can occur after sleeping with a contact lens still in your eye),
  eye-drops can be useful in restoring moisture and enabling you to
  remove the contact.

Step 3

  Blink continuously. Contact lenses will move around in your eyes a
  little bit every time you blink. If one gets stuck, blink rapidly and
  continuously in an attempt to get the lens to move back to its original
  position, at which point it can be taken out as normal.

Step 4

  Hold your eyelids open farther than they normally go with your fingers.
  If the problem is that the lens has simply drifted too high or low on
  your eye to be removed, pulling apart and widening your eyelids can
  give you the space you need to access the lens with your other hand.

Tips & Warnings

      It is a common misconception that if a contact moves too far from
       the front of your eye in any direction it can end up getting stuck
       behind your eyeball. In reality, this is not physically possible.
      Remove your contact lenses before you go to sleep. The eyes tend
       to dry out during sleep, which, coupled with the presence of contact
       lenses, can result in serious difficulty when trying to remove the
       contacts.
      Never use regular tap water to store contact lenses. Always use
       contact lens solution to avoid the lenses getting dirty and rubbing
       debris against your eye.
 Seeking Professional Advice
 If you are suffering from red eyes or discomfort you should
 arrange to see your contact lens practitioner as soon as
 possible. Stephen Ellerker opticians will arrange for you to be
 seen same day where possible. At Ellerker opticians your
 contact lens practitioner is available 6 days a week.

 During office hours please ring 0174334455 and ask to be seen
 same day.

 Out of office hours and for emergencies only please ring
 07949169806.

 All during and out of office hour consultations are covered by
 our £5 per month direct debit aftercare fee. We strongly
 recommended that you have aftercare cover.



 Eye care Professionals
 What is a Contact Lens Practitioner and why it’s important to find the
 right contact lens practitioner?

   /w EPDw ULLTE3N




When fitting you with contact lenses, your contact lens practitioner has dozens of
products to choose from and, for a given product, there may be hundreds of possible
specifications. It is reassuring if you are confident your practitioner will select the best
contact lenses for your needs. Your choice of practitioner can make the difference
between being a happy, successful contact lens wearer or not.

Wearing contact lenses involves regular check-ups, often over many years, and it is
therefore helpful if you can find a practitioner in whose company you are comfortable,
as well as one who inspires confidence.

What are the different types of contact lens practitioner?

In the UK, there are three categories of professional qualified to fit contact lenses
although, within each category, not all practitioners choose to fit contact lenses.

Optometrists (ophthalmic opticians) – Optometrists are qualified to examine the eyes,
test sight and prescribe and fit spectacles and contact lenses. Some optometrists
who fit contact lenses undertake additional training to attain a diploma in contact lens
practice (DipCLP, DCLP).

Dispensing optician contact lens fitters – Dispensing opticians dispense, fit and
supply spectacles. Some dispensing opticians undertake additional training to
become qualified to fit and supply contact lenses. Those dispensing opticians with an
additional qualification in contact lens practice will usually use one of the following
sets of letters: CL(ADO), CL(ABDO), FADO(Hons)CL, FBDO(Hons)CL.

Ophthalmologist contact lens fitters – Ophthalmologists are medical practitioners
specialising in eye disease. Some ophthalmologists fit contact lenses but generally
specialise in therapeutic contact lenses.

What makes a good contact lens practitioner?

A good contact lens practitioner will:
     Carefully question you about your eyes, your health and your
   specific visual needs
     Explain what contact lens options are available to you and the
   relative merits of those options
     Involve you in any decision-making
     Have available a wide range of contact lens products
     Take care to explain to you how to look after your lenses and what
   steps to take to avoid problems
     Make any necessary changes or modifications to your lenses to
   ensure that you get the best possible comfort and vision
     Keep up to date with new products and techniques
     Have knowledgeable, efficient support staff who will answer minor
   queries, know when to arrange check-ups and help organise
   replacement lenses when you need them

How do I find a good contact lens practitioner?

As with other professional services, recommendation is one of the best ways to find
the right practitioner. Ask friends and colleagues in your area about their
experiences.

If you have a less common eye problem (such as keratoconus, high astigmatism or
previous eye surgery) and may require special contact lens care, it is particularly
important to find a contact lens practitioner who has been trained to deal with your
problem. Before making an appointment, check that the practitioner has adequate
experience in dealing with your eye condition.

The ‘Find a BCLA contact lens practitioner’ service can also help you to find a
practitioner in your area. BCLA membership does not guarantee that they will be the
ideal practitioner for your needs. However, being a member of the BCLA usually
indicates a commitment to ongoing training and a desire to keep abreast of new
developments.

What questions should I ask my contact lens practitioner?
Useful questions to ask might be:
    Are you restricted in which contact lenses you can fit?
    How many days a week are you here?
    What will happen if I am not comfortable with my lenses?
    Are there any indications that my eyes will be more difficult to fit
  with contact lenses than the average person?
    How much experience have you had in dealing with my particular
  problem?
    Are you a member of the BCLA?

Regulations for the supply of contact lenses

Changes to the Opticians Act which took effect from June 30 2005 included new
regulations on the supply of contact lenses in the UK.

As was previously the case, contact lenses can only be fitted by a registered
optometrist, suitably qualified dispensing optician or medical practitioner (special
provision exists for students).

When prescribing powered (corrective) lenses, the practitioner must issue the patient
with a contact lens specification once a fitting is completed. There is no legal
requirement to give a patient a written specification after fitting with zero-powered
lenses however the College of Optometrists advise their members that it is in the
patient’s best interest to do so.

Powered contact lenses may then be sold by or under the general direction of a
registered optometrist, suitably qualified dispensing optician or medical practitioner.
Zero-powered contact lenses can only be sold by or under the supervision of a
registered practitioner. Contact lenses for use by children under the age of 16 or
patients registered blind or partially sighted must also be sold by a registered
practitioner or under his or her supervision.

A directed sale does not require the physical presence of a registered person but he
or she is legally responsible for the sale or supply. Supervision requires the
registered person to be present on the premises, aware of the procedure and in a
position to intervene if necessary.

For powered lenses, the seller must have an in-date specification before supplying
lenses or, if this is not available in its original form, verify the specification with the
prescriber. Verification should be in writing and requires the patient’s consent. The
seller must be reasonably satisfied that goods ordered are for the use of the person
named in the specification and must make arrangements for aftercare to take place.
The legislation states that the seller must make arrangements for the individual to
receive aftercare ‘in so far as and for so long as may be reasonable in his or her
particular case’.

All businesses in the UK supplying contact lenses must comply with these
regulations. Sales occurring outside the UK cannot be regulated under this
legislation and this includes internet sales that take place outside the UK.

The following professional bodies and other organisations can provide further
information on these regulations: General Optical Council (www.optical.org), College
of Optometrists (www.college-optometrists.org), Association of British Dispensing
Opticians (www.abdo.org.uk), Association of Optometrists (www.aop.org.uk),
Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (www.aclm.org.uk).

 What is an Optometrist?

 Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals
 who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and
 dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or
 visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases,
 referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs.

 Optometrists study at university for at least three, sometimes four years and
 participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year,
 before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests
 in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, eye treatment, low vision,
 children’s vision and sports vision.

 All optometrists practising in the UK must be registered with the General Optical
 Council, the profession’s regulatory body, and are listed in the Opticians Register.
 When choosing an optometrist, look out for the letters FCOptom or MCOptom after
 his or her name. It means that optometrist is a fellow or member of the College and
 adheres to high standards of clinical practice.


 Other eye health professionals involved with contact lenses are:

 Dispensing opticians
 Dispensing opticians advise on, fit and supply spectacle frames and lenses after
 taking account of each patient's lifestyle and vocational needs. Dispensing opticians
 are also able to fit contact lenses after undergoing further specialist training. They
 are registered with and regulated by the General Optical Council and their
 representative body is the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.

 Ophthalmologists
 Ophthalmologists specialise in eye disease, treatment and surgery. Medically
 qualified, they mainly work in eye hospitals and hospital eye departments.
 Ophthalmologists are registered and regulated by the General Medical Council and
 their representative body is the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

				
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