About 30% of my patients wear contact lenses. Some are young children and some are great-grandparents. All of them want their contacts to feel comfortable all of the time. Well, as I tell patients, having comfortable contact lenses is partly my job (to recommend the best contacts and solutions) and partly the patient's job (to take care of their contacts and their eyes).
Dr. Shelley Cutler, an optometrist practicing in Pennsylvania, has a lot of experience helping patients understand the proper ways to take care of their contacts... and their eyes. In fact, she has written an entire ebook on the subject called, "How To Be A SMARTER / MORE COMFORTABLE Contact Lens Wearer!!"
After reading Dr. Cutler's book, I asked her a few questions.
Dr. B: How did you get interested in contact lenses (CLs)?
Dr: Cutler: I started wearing them myself at the age of15. This was back in the days when there was ONLY PMMA's <gasp> [Dr. B' s note: PMMA is older material of contact lenses that is almost never used now for health reasons.]
When I had to decide what I wanted to be when I grow up... (and it didnt happen all at once. I went to art school first...<grin>) I then decided it would be somewhere in the health field as my father and brother were physicians and my mother was a nurse. I felt that it would take too long to go through medical school. I didn't like dentistry or podiatry.... Aha... Optometry it would be! (I really liked the optometrist that worked for the Ophthalmologist that my father referred to..and had many conversations with him as he took care of my CLs, I sort of fell into the contact lens field as I did my residency after Optometry school. My first position was at Wills Eye Hospital supervising the Contact Lens department. I taught the Ophthalmology residents their CL education...and saw the clinic patients. I saw more CL patients in a day than many practices saw in a month.... especially then (mid 80's) and all the difficult stuff. I guess the rest is history.
What prompted you to write an ebook?
A couple of different reasons.......if I said financial wasn't one of them, I'd be lying. Researching different ways to accomplish this, it seemed to me that this would be a natural. I've written a lot of articles, lectured, etc. through the years and consider myself an educator. I seem to say the same thing to most patients throughout the day so why not educate patients via an ebook. Hopefully it would eliminate some of the problems quickly if patients were better educated and could maximize their time with their docs in the minimal time that is now necessary because of all of the health insurance issues.
With young children and contact lenses, who is usually more nervous: patients or parents?
The parents...by far! I've fit children from 1 week old on up. (Aphakic lenses - for people who have had a lens removed due to cataract).
What are your thoughts on extended-wear contact lenses, the type that are approved to sleep in?
I dont love them....but there are patients that need this option. I give my patients the riot act...and they understand the rules.
Your ebook is 60 pages. If you could give contact lens wearers just a little advice, what would it be?
Cleanliness is next to Godliness... Well, I'm just quoting this phrase because it sounds good...but proper Hygiene and cleaning will solve many of the problems...or more important, prevent them.
1) CLEAN/wash hands before you handle the lenses both before insertion as well as before removing them
2) Keep the CL's clean. definitely rub.... (I recommended this even during the era of "no rub")
3) Keep the CL case clean. Wash it out with soap (be it CL cleaner...or a non moisturizer soap) regularly (2x3x/wk) rinse well with water and dry. Even if there is some soap residue...(and believe it or not there's not a whole lot when rinsed to that squeeky clean feel ) this is better than the bacterial biofilm that can harbor germs...in my opinion, especially because most soft lenses are frequent replacement these days.
4) Keep the ocular environment clean. Ladies (mostly) remove the make up around your eyes daily...and use my Optimum Lid Hygiene guide. This will not only remove any make up ...but for those who dont wear it, it can minimize oily residue from the lids....keep blepharitis and Meibomian Gland dyfunction, demodex and allergy contaminants to a minimum.
and of course, see your eye care practioner routinely at his/her recommended intervals.
Nate...again...thanks for your interest and support.
You can learn more about contact lenses and read about Dr. Cutler's book at http://www.mycontactsfeelgreat.com/
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.