Cole Martin Tregaskis Optometrists have fitted contact lenses since the earliest days of contact lens practice. Our staff have been involved in contact lens research, have lectured on the subject, and have been examiners in contact lens practice for the College of Optometrists. Our new patients are usually referred to us by surgeons, doctors, other optometrists or opticians, or by our existing patients.
We are an independent practice and are not tied to any particular manufacturer. Hence, we have at our disposal literally hundreds of different types of contact lenses. This gives us the freedom to fit whichever lenses are likely to be most appropriate and healthy for a given patient.
The cornea receives its oxygen from the air and modern contact lenses transmit a high level of oxygen. Hard lenses have been superseded by rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP) and modern soft lenses have a high oxygen transmission and tend to be thinner than older types.
Most patients these days have disposable soft contact lenses because they are very comfortable. Within a few minutes new wearers are generally unaware of the lenses.
Soft contact lenses are porous and in days gone by this used to cause problems with deposits. This led to the development of disposable soft lenses, where the wearer aims to replace them at regular intervals ranging from every day to every month.
Daily disposable lenses are now the most popular because they are healthier and more convenient. Monthly disposable lenses are associated with lower costs, but still require some cleaning and solutions.
The prices of typical commonly used lenses are given below.
Toric lenses are required to correct some types of astigmatism. Virtually all types of astigmatism can be corrected with modern contact lenses. We have a special instrument, a corneal topographer (shown opposite), that allows us to precisely measure astigmatism on the surface of the eye.
Multifocal lenses can be used for people who need separate prescriptions for distance vision and for reading. Cole Martin Tregaskis have specialised in fitting multifocal and varifocal contact lenses for many years.
Orthokeratology involves special contact lenses that are worn overnight to reshape the cornea. The contact lenses are removed on waking and the reshaped cornea corrects short-sightedness without the need for glasses or contact lenses for a day or two, when the contact lenses are worn overnight again. The accuracy of this process has been greatly improved by corneal topographers (shown here).
Myopia control is likely to revolutionise eyecare over the next decade and we believe we were the first practice in Essex to specialise in this. We fit special types of contact lenses that slow down the progression of myopia (short-sightedness), typically by about 30-50%. This means that a child who may ultimately have progressed to be a -6 dioptre (D) myope could end up only having myopia of -3 or -4 D. Please see the Myopia control section of this website for more information.
There are three costs involved in contact lens wear. Clearly, one expense is the actual cost of the lenses, but this is not usually the major expense.
Much of the cost involved in contact lens wear is for the practitioner's time and expertise. It is essential that contact lenses are fitted carefully, that patients are fully instructed in their use, and that they are regularly checked. Our fitting fee is an inclusive fee covering the preliminary appointments, fittings, tuition, and after-care checks for 3 months. The total amount of consultation time is usually 2-3 hours. If problems occur and extra appointments are required then these are covered by the initial fee.
Patients who develop complications from contact lenses are often unaware of these. Hence, wearers need regular checks, in addition to their normal eye examinations. These additional appointments are not paid for by the NHS, so require a private fee. After the initial adaptation period, wearers usually just need “combined checks” every year or, in some cases, every 6 months. If problems occur then more frequent appointments may be required.
The final expense of contact lens wear is the cost of solutions. Typically, this is about £10 a month. Daily disposable and continuous wear lenses do not routinely require solutions. Poor hygiene can cause infections which can, in extreme cases, lead to loss of sight. This is why lens cases, and lenses themselves, should be changed regularly. If the instructions for lens care are followed correctly, then the risk of serious infection is very low (about 1 in 2,500) and 5 in 2,500 for continuous wear.
With disposable lenses the trial period is for the usual life span of your first pair of lenses, or for 5 days with daily lenses. Boxes of disposable soft contact lenses purchased at the practice can be exchanged within 90 days of the date of order, if they are unopened and the packaging has not been damaged.
When a contact lens fitting has been completed, then we issue our patients with a copy of their contact lens prescription. If this is lost then we will provide a copy and we do not make a charge for this service. Patient confidentiality is very important to us and we will only provide copies of a patient’s prescription to that patient, not to third parties. To avoid errors, we do not provide or verify prescriptions over the telephone or by fax. Our prescriptions are computer-printed to minimise the risk of errors and therefore verification is not required.
Return to Cole Martin Tregaskis home page. Last updated Nov 2023