Lighter and unobtrusive compared to glasses, prescription contact lenses are a modern solution to refractive errors and common vision problems. They have customizable powers (grades) and come in every color imaginable, driving their appeal to all ages. In the United States alone, about 45 million individuals (90% over 18 years old) use contact lenses.
Allowing people to see the world’s beauty with greater clarity aside, a common oversight among wearers is wearing the wrong prescription. Poorly fitted contact lenses contribute to a range of complications – from worsened visual acuity to constant headaches and migraines. These side effects can distract and make concentrating difficult, especially for students and professionals.
This article highlights the signs of ill-fitting contact lenses resulting from incorrect prescriptions. Bringing awareness to these symptoms emphasizes the importance of vigilant monitoring and routine consultations with an eye doctor in Sun City, Arizona.
Signs of Having the Wrong Contact Lens Prescription
Wearing the wrong contact lenses, whether the prescription is too weak or too strong, can affect your vision and comfort. Specifically, you may experience some of the following:
- Blurred eyesight or double vision
- Headaches or migraines
- Dizziness or nausea
- Unexplainable fatigue
Keep in mind, however, that all new prescription lenses have an adjustment period, especially for multifocals, which may take four to six weeks before the eyes fully adapt. If discomfort persists beyond your doctor’s estimated adjustment period, have your eyes and prescription rechecked.
In severe cases, symptoms may also include:
- Seeing halos around objects
- Excessive tearing
- Stinging and burning
- Redness and itchiness
- A feeling of something is in your eye
- Light sensitivity
- Unusual secretions
If you experience any of the above, your prescription may not be the problem. Rather, the lenses themselves may be defective. Take immediate action, starting with:
- Remove your contact lenses. If the problem stops after taking out your lenses, you may be dealing with damaged contacts. Do not put them back in your eyes.
- Check for foreign bodies. On the one hand, if you remove your lenses and see a foreign material (an eyelash or a spec of dust), cleaning them may address the issue. Different lenses have different cleaning and soaking requirements, so refer to your doctor’s instructions. In such cases, it is crucial to have additional pairs of contact lenses. It is also advisable to invest in a quality pair of corrective glasses, which will come in handy if you have an eye infection or irritation, or whenever your eyes need a break.
- Seek medical assistance. If symptoms persist after removing your lenses or inserting a fresh new pair, keep them out. Instead, see your optometrist to avoid unwanted damage to your vision.
Long-Term Effects of Wearing the Wrong Contacts Prescription
Continuing to wear incorrectly prescribed contact lenses despite encountering these symptoms can accelerate the progression of refractive errors, including astigmatism, farsightedness (hyperopia), and nearsightedness (myopia).
Children under 12 are even more vulnerable. Long-term use can interfere with visual development and cause further vision problems, including amblyopia (lazy eye).
A word of advice from Arizona Retinal Specialists: Although kids as young as 8 years old can wear contacts, they may not understand the consequences of misusing them, and they may not realize when something is wrong. If you are a parent or guardian, we recommend reading this guide to “the right age” to wear contact lenses by CooperVision.
When to Update Your Prescription Contact Lenses
All prescription contact lenses have an expiration date, and remember that we use our hands to insert and remove them. Human hands carry approximately 3,200 germs from over 150 species, some of which can cause severe infections. As such, all wearers must update their prescription and replace their lenses, either before the expiry date or when something feels amiss.
When Do Prescription Lenses Expire?
According to the American Optometric Association, prescription contact lenses have a one-year validity, unless stated otherwise by an optometrist.
Compared to eyeglass prescriptions, which typically expire between 1 and 2 years, corrective contact lenses expire faster due to the reasons mentioned earlier plus additional risks, requiring wearers to undergo more frequent eye evaluations.
To add, even if your prescription power remains the same throughout annual eye exams, these evaluations help detect, diagnose, and manage problems, including conditions that may lead to vision loss in their advanced stages.
How Soon Should You Replace Your Contact Lenses?
Maintaining a pair of contacts is as challenging as learning to insert or remove them for the very first time. To ensure ocular health and wellness, set an appointment with your optometrist as soon as you notice the following:
- Cloudy lenses. Always examine your lenses before wearing them or putting them back in the case. If one or both lenses are no longer as clear as the day you bought them – even after cleaning and soaking – see your doctor for a replacement. Cloudy lenses can be a sign of significant bacterial growth.
- Discomfort. If discomfort or irritation persists, your lenses are likely expired or harboring bacteria. If you recently changed your lens brand, type, or solution, you may also be allergic to one or more of its components.
- Scratches or dents. Any damage to the lenses is a clear sign to change them. Instead of helping you see with clarity, they become breeding grounds for bacteria, which can easily make their way through parts of your eye and cause infections.
- Approaching expiration date. Take note of the following:
- Discard daily disposable lenses after wearing them for a day.
- Replace disposable lenses every two weeks.
- The prescribed lifespan for frequent-replacement lenses is either monthly or quarterly.
- Change traditional (reusable) contact lenses every six months or longer.
- Get a replacement before your current lenses expire.
- Your prescription needs correcting. If you think your prescription power is off, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.
Is Your Contact Lens Prescription Outdated?
Regular visits to your local eye doctor can help you see the world with improved sharpness and definition. So, when was your last checkup? Are your lenses delivering the same level of clarity as the first day you wore them? If not, and you are still trying to recall your last eye appointment, now is the time to pick up the phone and schedule a consultation. Your eyes will thank you later!
Consider a Permanent Solution to Your Vision Problems
If you are looking for an ophthalmologist in Sun City and Phoenix, consider the team at Arizona Retinal Specialists. As seasoned professionals in medical and surgical treatments for common and rare eye conditions, we can offer effective and permanent solutions to vision-impairing problems. Dial 623-474-3937 or write to us to book an appointment. You can always count on us to provide the best possible care.