If you wear contact lenses, do you take your prescription with you and “shop around?” If so, watch out for this misleading situation.
When you are fit with contact lenses, your Eye Care Professional (ECP) evaluates a whole host of information about your eyes. Your prescription, the curvature of the cornea, how wide open your eyes are, the nature and consistency of your tear film layer, how long you will keep them in your eyes, plus the sum total of their knowledge and experience, and determine the best contact lens material and design for your one-of-a-kind eyes.
Then they take all the previous information, and add it up to determine the the lens best type of cleaning and disinfection care for that lens and your eyes. It looks really easy, but a lot of thought and effort are put into getting you the exact right lenses. Since the worst-case scenario could result in a permanent loss of vision, they also take the time to ensure you return to the office every year to evaluate how the eye/lens relationship is faring, making changes as necessary.
Every once in awhile, we get a patient who comes in requesting we change the brand of their contact lenses, as we did the other day. When I inquired why, she said it was because the lenses were discontinued. While that DOES happen from time to time, it’s pretty rare for a whole host of reasons, so I delved deeper – and found out that the lenses were still very much available. When I questioned her further, she had gone to a particular discount retailer, and they had told her that the lenses were discontinued. It was very apparent that the truth was they didn’t carry that brand, and wanted the ECP to compromise the best fit for the patient to suit their marketing decision.
Unfortunately, this same vendor has also chosen to not carry ClearCare disinfecting solution, and is actively trying to steer patients into alternative solutions. The problem is that they have no idea which contact lens polymer you are wearing, and the chemical interactions various solutions can produce.
So, we all understand the desire to minimize our expenses during these tough economic times, but PLEASE be very skeptical if someone wants to change you out of what your ECP has prescribed. You only get one pair of eyes per lifetime – take good care of them!
PS: A major contact lens manufacturer has just discontinued a huge number of contact lens designs. The one in the instance above IS still available. Again, the best advice is to trust your eye care professional.
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