Contact Lenses

If you are thinking of getting contact lenses, chances are you want to get away from the glasses look, fogging from temperature changes, or you're tired of the way glasses can sometimes interfere with sports and other activities.

Before you decide to join the ranks of millions of Canadians who wear contact lenses, here are some important facts you should know.

First, you need a thorough eye examination by your optometrist

In order for your contact lenses to be properly prescribed and fitted, you must visit an optometrist. You and your eye doctor can then decide on what type of contact lenses should be worn based on your vision problems, history, occupational and recreational requirements, and other factors.  Ordering contact lenses online is not safe, even with a prescription, as different lenses will "fit" your eyes differently and can greatly impact your eye health.  It's important to see your optometrist so he/she can ensure they fit properly.

There are two main types of contact lenses.

  • Hard contacts or Rigid Gas Permeable lenses are made of a rigid plastic and can correct most vision problems. Although more durable than soft contact lenses, they require an adaptation period.
  • Soft contact lenses are made of a flexible, water-absorbing plastic that conforms closely to the eye. Compared to the hard lenses, soft contact lens wearers need a shorter adaptation period. These lenses are also difficult to dislodge even in sports situations. And, now, there are disposable soft contact lenses, which are worn daily for a period of time and then thrown away. Other special types of contact lenses include tinted or coloured soft contacts, lenses for people with astigmatism, bifocal lenses and contacts with built-in protection from harmful UV radiation.


Your success with contact lenses is based on two main components:

The knowledge and ability of the professional responsible for the eye examination and in the contact lens fitting is essential for healthy contact lens wear.  It is also important that you - the patient - learn and follow all instructions on wearing and caring for your lenses.

Ask your optometrist if contacts are right for you.

To learn more about contact lenses and their use, click here .

Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Are cosmetic contact lenses safe?

If you’re planning to wear cosmetic contact lenses as part of your Halloween costume this year,  or just to freshen up your look, make sure you purchase them from your local doctor of optometry.

In Canada, cosmetic contact lenses are not regulated the same as corrective contact lenses – it’s up to you to make sure you purchase cosmetic lenses from a reputable retailer.

Some of the risks associated with wearing poor quality cosmetic lenses include:

  • A cut or scratch on the surface of your eye (corneal abrasion);
  • Decreased vision;
  • Allergic reactions such as itchy, watery red eyes;


  • Infection; and
  • Blindness.

You can avoid these risks by always getting contact lenses from your doctor of optometry.

To learn more about cosmetic contact lens safety, watch Dr. Jayne Toombs explain the risks associated with cosmetic contact lenses or ask your local optometrist.

  • A Scary Fact: Halloween contact lenses can lead to irreversible vision loss. Click here to read this article from the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

  • 4 ways non-prescription contact lenses can ruin your vision. Click here to read this article from the Optometry Times on the dangers of cosmetic contact lenses.