The Center for Disease Control estimates that around 45 million people in the United States use contact lenses. Unfortunately, not everyone uses the right type of contact lenses, which can create serious vision problems down the road.
If you need a high prescription when it comes to corrective lenses, you may have considered contact lenses but have been concerned that they won’t be available in the strength you require. However, you may be surprised: even if you have a very high level of near or far-sightedness or suffer from severe astigmatism, there’s a good chance that there are contact lenses out there that’ll perfectly meet your needs.’
You need to do your research when buying contact lenses to get the right type and avoid future vision problems. Keep reading to learn more.
How is Contact Lens Strength Measured?
The strength of a contact lens is measured in dioptres: this refers to how much vision correction is required to allow you to see properly. This number starts at zero and goes up in either positive or negative increments depending on the amount of correction needed. A minus number relates to short-sighted prescriptions, while a plus figure refers to far-sighted prescriptions.
Patients with astigmatism will see some additional numbers on the ‘cylinder’ part of their eye prescriptions. The CYL figure refers to the extra power required to correct the astigmatism present. The higher this number is, the more severe the astigmatism. The AX figure regards the Axis and denotes the orientation of the astigmatism and the angle that’s needed to correct it – this number can range from zero to 180 degrees.
What is the Highest Possible Prescription for Contact Lenses?
Monthly soft contact lenses are usually available for prescriptions up to around -12 dioptres, while toric lenses are available for up to about -9 dioptres. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the average short-sighted prescription is for -2 dioptres.
Gas-permeable vial lenses can correct even greater degrees of short-sightedness: up to -30 dioptres! They are designed to be durable and long-lasting: if looked after properly, they can last for a year or more. So, as you can see, the vast majority of people will be able to wear contact lenses, however high their eye prescription.
How Comfortable Are High-Prescription Contact Lenses?
In some cases, higher-prescription contact lenses can be slightly thicker at the edges compared to their lower-prescription counterparts. While this may initially mean that the wearer can slightly feel them, many users are able to get used to this sensation and, in a relatively short space of time, no longer notice them.
The additional thickness of the lens can also mean that wearers are more prone to suffering from dry eye and eye fatigue, but there are plenty of steps that can be taken to reduce the chance of these things occurring and to increase the comfort level as far as possible. Simply ensuring that the lenses aren’t worn beyond the daily recommended time and following a proper cleaning routine can significantly make things better.
If I Need a Higher Prescription, What Are the Benefits of Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses aren’t for everyone, but many people who require high-prescription eyeglasses find them to be a comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective option. Higher prescriptions can mean that the weight of glasses lenses can be uncomfortable for the wearer, pressing on the nose and causing strain – these lenses can also be significantly expensive.
High-prescription contact lenses, however, once they’re gotten used to, can offer a much greater degree of comfort – plus, there’s no need to hunt around for lost pairs of glasses or have the hassle of arranging for damaged frames to be repaired.
Rain or snow poses no problem either in contact lenses, and there’s none of the annoying misting that can happen when, for example, you come in from outside on a cold day. Many people cite the freedom that wearing contact lenses gives them as a key reason for choosing them over glasses.
How Often Will I Need to Replace My High Prescription Contact Lenses?
This will all depend on the type of contact lenses that will best suit your prescription and requirements. Some soft contact lenses are worn for a month before being disposed of and replaced, while, as we mentioned above, gas-permeable lenses will often last a year or longer. Whatever type of lens is worn, ensuring it is looked after properly and a good cleaning routine is followed is key to prolonging lens life and promoting better eye comfort.
What If I’m Not Wearing Strong Enough Contact Lenses?
If you’re wearing contact lenses that aren’t powerful enough to correct your vision, it’s likely that your vision will be blurry, and you could have trouble focusing. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches – as well as being significantly detrimental to your quality of life. If you need corrective lenses, it’s vital to attend sight examinations and contact lens checks regularly to make sure your prescription is kept up to date, and your eyes are healthy.
High Prescription Contact Lenses – What You Need to Know
Wearing the wrong contact lenses can be a cause of vision problems. Therefore, you need to make sure you get ones with the right strength.
Even if you have severe short or far-sightedness, or significant astigmatism, it’s very likely that there will be contact lenses to suit you – and as a long-time contact lens wearer with a -10 prescription in both eyes, I’m speaking from experience! If you like the idea of contact lenses but have thought your high prescription rules them out, then why not have a chat with your optometrist- you may well be pleasantly surprised!