Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
Our Passion, Your Care
Contact Lens Service

We provide contact lenses where there is a medical need, usually when vision cannot be improved with spectacles but can with contact lenses, such as:

  • keratoconus (an eye condition in which the normally round dome-shaped clear window of the eye (cornea) progressively thins causing a cone-shaped bulge to develop);
  • corneal scarring;
  • corneal graft;
  • complex spectacle prescription such as a high spectacle prescription or a large difference in spectacle strength between the two eyes; and
  • therapeutic reasons such as pain relief, protection of the eye's surface and to improve the cosmetic appearance of scarred and damaged eyes.

To get an appointment you must be referred by an ophthalmologist, GP, optometrist or another hospital.

Patients referred to the contact lens clinic will be assessed to determine whether they are suitable for contact lens wear and if so, what form of lens will be suitable. The process of fitting lenses usually involves the optometrist placing trial lenses on the eye to determine what shape of lens is required and how strong the lens needs to be. Based on this information the optometrist will be able to order lenses which will then be collected at a subsequent visit.

On collection, the new lenses will be checked on the eye to see if they perform as expected. If no lens alterations are required then the patient will be taught how to handle and look after the lenses. Once the optometrist and patient are happy that the lenses can be inserted and removed as required, then they can be taken home. Often the optometrist will recommend wearing the lenses for a few hours per day initially, gradually building up the daily wearing time over subsequent days or weeks.

Contact lens care products such as contact lens solutions
Very few lenses issued by the hospital Eye Clinic are single use 'disposable' lenses. All other lenses must be cleaned and disinfected after each use. This is done using contact lens solutions which are designed especially for this purpose. The optometrist will advise you on what solutions should be used and how to obtain them.

Once the lenses have been collected, a follow-up appointment will be arranged for a month or two later to determine whether the lens wear has been successful and to deal with any problems.

What to do if you have a problem
If you have a problem whilst wearing a contact lens – such as blurry vision, discomfort or redness – first remove the lens to see of the problem gets better. It may also be helpful to inspect the lens for any obvious damage. If the problem does get better, go through your usual lens cleaning and disinfecting regimen and reinsert the lens to see if the problem reoccurs. You may wish to leave reinserting the lens until the following day. A problem which gets better on lens removal and recurs on re-insertion suggests a problem with the lens itself – call the Optometry Department on 01473 703232 for advice.

Serious eye problems
Serious eye problems related to contact lens wear are thankfully rare and are reduced by following the advice provided by your optometrist carefully. The following symptoms suggest a more serious eye problem, such as corneal ulcer, which may be related to contact lens wear:

  • a very red eye which doesn't improve after contact lens removal;
  • a painful eye (especially if red also) which does not improve after contact lens removal;
  • a white spot in front of the coloured part of the eye which is associated with redness and/or pain and which persists on lens removal; and
  • the above may be associated with reduced vision with or without the contact lens or spectacles.