Yes. Most people can wear contact lenses. Today's contact lenses are made from high tech materials and are suitable for most lifestyles and prescriptions. If you haven't worn lenses before, please consult your optician.

At first you'll probably be slightly aware that the lenses are there, but they're not at all uncomfortable. You might feel some irritation if you don't clean your lenses properly, if the lens has a tiny nick or scratch in it or if you're in a smoky atmosphere for a long period of time. Most people get used to wearing contact lenses very quickly and can even forget that they're wearing them!

Lenses are completely safe as long as: • They are prescribed by a qualified practitioner • The wearer follows the practitioner's instructions for looking after them • The wearer returns for regular aftercare visits • The wearer seeks advice for any problems they experience. Your eyes are sensitive and delicate structures, so hygiene is important to ensure you don't suffer from any eye infections. If you have health problems such as allergies, or take any medication, you'll need to tell your practitioner who will then advise you about how this affects your lens wear. If you experience any discomfort, redness or watering of the eyes while wearing lenses, take them out and try not to resume wear until the symptoms subside. If the symptoms persist or get worse see your optician urgently.

The short answer is probably, but you might need to try a few types of lenses first to find the most comfortable one for you. If you work in a dusty environment, it's worth investing in some goggles or safety specs to wear over the top of your lenses so that particles do not become lodged underneath and cause irritation. Many employers supply necessary eyewear for dusty environments - check with your health and safety officer. Lens comfort drops are available which give temporary relief from smoky air and dehydration too.

If you fall asleep with your lenses in, you might find that they've become stuck to the surface of your eye - especially if you're dehydrated, i.e. after drinking alcohol. Never attempt to remove your lenses if they do not come off easily. Instead, you should blink and apply lens comfort drops until your eye surface becomes moist. The lenses will then become mobile again and easier to remove. It's a good idea to leave your lenses out the following day to give your eyes a chance to recover. If you have any persistent discomfort or redness see your optician as soon as possible. If your lifestyle or work requires you to wear your lenses for long hours or even to sleep in them, then there's a lens type that is designed to be worn in this way - the continuous wear lens. Your optician will be able to tell you if they're suitable for your eyes or not.

Small children are sometimes prescribed contact lenses for medical reasons, but generally, children must be old enough and sensible enough to handle contact lenses and care for them properly with minimal supervision.

No. Unlike spectacles, contact lenses can't steam up or become rain-spotted.

Your optician will provide you with a timetable for gradually increasing the length of time you can wear your lenses, starting with a few hours each day. It can take up to a fortnight to reach maximum wear time with gas permeable lenses, but it's usually much quicker for soft lenses. Good hygiene and lens care are essential for keeping your lenses and eyes in good condition; always follow the care regime prescribed by your optician and make sure to attend regular aftercare visits.

Some women can find that their vision changes during pregnancy, however this usually returns to normal after giving birth. Symptoms might include dry, irritated eyes or blurred and distorted vision, all of which may lead to contact lens discomfort. Generally you can continue to wear your lenses throughout your pregnancy. If you have any concerns it's best to seek an appointment with your optician or Ophthalmologist.

Yes, it's certainly possible to wear contact lenses without having previously worn specs. A few people find that they cannot wear contact lenses successfully, but this is fairly unusual and your optician will take you through lenses that best suit your needs. If you wear contact lenses, it's also sensible to have a pair of spectacles so that you can still see clearly when you're not able to wear your lenses.

No. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, your contact lens could be washed out of your eye. Secondly, lenses can absorb the bacteria and chemicals in the swimming pool which will remain in contact with your eyes until the lenses are removed, leading to discomfort and possibly infection. Prescription swimming goggles are a good alternative, and can be purchased through your optician. If you spend a great deal of time in the water, you could have a special contact lens made, called a 'scleral lens', which covers the whole front of the eye. These can only be worn for a limited period and are therefore rarely prescribed.

Place the lens on the top of your finger and look at the edge curve. It should be a regular semi-circle in shape - if the lens edge has a lip to it, it's probably inside out. If the lens is inside out, place it in the palm of your hand, add a few drops of solution and gently turn the lens the right way round. Check the lens for any dust and rinse if it you need to before reinserting.

Firstly make sure that the lens is still in your eye. Your eye may still feel that a lens is present if it is irritated, but it may have already fallen out. If the lens is still at the centre of your eye, with clean hands, try sliding it down towards the bottom of your eye and gently but firmly pinch it from the edges inwards. If the lens seems stuck, then place a few drops of sterile saline solution, lubricating eye drops (specifically formulated for contact lenses) or All-in-One contact lens solution into your eye before trying to remove again. Sometimes lenses can become stuck under your top eyelid. Looking straight ahead in the mirror, tilt your head back slightly and elevate your top lid as far as possible to determine if the lens is there try sliding it down then pinching it out. If you are still struggling see your optician as soon as possible.

Do not sleep in your lenses unless your eye care professional has advised that your eyes and lens type are suitable. Lenses that you sleep in are called Extended Wear and your practitioner will advise you on your wearing regime.

Soft contact lenses are flexible and porous. They absorb tear fluid which makes them extremely soft and pliable. The water content can vary from 20% (low water) to 85% (high water).