For many, wearing contact lenses is just one more routine part of life, much like putting on shoes or having lunch. Because of the familiarity, it is easy to forget that contact lenses are medical devices. The correct care is necessary for maximum comfort and optimal performance like other medical devices.
Contact lenses have come a long way since Leonardo da Vinci first illustrated their concept in 1508. One thing has remained the same as contacts moved from da Vinci’s imagination to an everyday item, contact lenses offer wearers easy-to-manage vision correction.
Care for Your Contacts
It is easy for contact lenses to become such a part of your routine that you hardly think about them. However, taking care of your contacts is the key to a great vision and comfortable wear. Follow these steps to keep your contacts in tip-top shape.
Clean your weekly and monthly contact lenses every day and store lenses in a contact case with the recommended solution to remove protein buildup and eliminate bacteria.
Always wash your hands before touching your contacts. Bacteria and microbes build-up on hands throughout the day and night, so even if hands look clean, you run the risk of transferring germs to your lenses and your eyes.
Do not store your contact lenses in water. The proper storage method is a contact case with a multipurpose contact lens solution.
Replace your lens case about every three months and clean it frequently.
Do not wear your contacts when you are in the water. Doing so allows dirty water to settle between the contact lens and your eyes.
Always take your contacts out before going to sleep. Your corneas get oxygen from the air, so wearing lenses lessens the amount of oxygen getting to your corneas. If you are asleep and wearing contacts, the amount
of oxygen is reduced even further. The lack of oxygen causes the corneas to swell, allowing bacteria to enter and causing damage to your eyes.
Maintain Your Contact Lens Comfort
Millions of contact wearers could testify to the fact that there is a learning curve when starting to wear contacts. Learning to insert and get used to wearing the lenses takes time and practice. However, there are several things you can do to ensure comfortable wear.
Follow Personal Instructions from Your Eye Doctor – While there are many standard procedures for caring for and wearing contact lenses, your doctor knows what your eyes need. Any particular directives should be taken seriously and followed to prevent future discomfort.
Replace Your Contact Lenses as Directed – Whether you have daily, weekly, or monthly contacts, staying on schedule is necessary. Your eye doctor bases the type of lenses you have on the prescription, lifestyle, and personal needs. So, adhering to the replacement schedule will provide the best experience for you.
Avoid Overwearing Your Contacts – One of the worst things you can do to your eyes is overwearing your contacts. Eye care professionals recommend wearing your lenses for less than 12 hours per day. Many eye care professionals suggest no more than eight to ten hours of wear each day. There are several problems caused by overwear, including,
Maintain Eye and Contact Lens Moisture – Many people who wear contacts experience occasional dry eyes. Keeping your eyes and contacts moist can help you avoid inflammation, redness, and lens discomfort. You can take several steps to prevent dryness and the irritation that comes with it.
Change your contact lens solution daily
Remove your lenses for a few hours each day
Do not sleep in your contacts
Take breaks when using a computer
Reasons to Contact Your Eye Doctor Right Away
While many minor issues can cause temporary irritation when you are wearing contacts, there are times when you should call your doctor to address the problems you are experiencing.
Constant blurred vision
Extreme eye pain
Discharge from your eye(s)
A Dozen Must-Read Rules for Contact Lens Wearers
Always keep a contact case and lens solution with you to prepare you for unexpected changes in your plans.
Protect yourself from light sensitivity caused by contacts. A pair of sunglasses with UV light protection will do the trick
Always see your eye doctor for coloured contact lenses and never wear someone else’s lenses, coloured or otherwise.
Tightly close your solution bottle and lens case to prevent leaks and to keep bacteria out.
Never touch the tip of your cleaning solution bottle, and do not let it touch any surfaces.
If you wear makeup, apply it after you have put in your contact lenses.
Remove your contacts and contact your doctor if any unusual problems occur. Leave your contact lenses out until the doctor says you can resume wearing the lenses.
Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding wearing your contact lenses for optimal vision and lens durability.
Always use the tip of your finger and not your fingernail when putting in lenses.
Never store your contacts in water or use saliva to dampen them.
If a lens is chipped or broken, do not wear it.
Always use fresh contact lens solution.
Regardless of your vision needs, you can depend on E Eye Place to provide top-of-the-line care and solutions to a variety of issues. We work with patients of all ages to make sure they have the best vision possible. If you have questions or are interested in making an appointment, feel free to reach out to us.
**Please Note** The guide presented here is for informational use and should not replace an examination or consultation with a vision expert. Additionally, this information should not supersede directives from your vision professional.
Stephanie is an owner optometrist, researcher and educator. She has held clinical, teaching and research roles in Australia and overseas, and has extensive training and clinical experience. Stephanie is also the head optometrist at E Eye Place, on top of this, she is also currently a PhD candidate at UNSW. Dr Stephanie Yeo Optometrist BOptom (HC1) GradCertOcTher DOPT (Merit) CO Ophthalmic Medicines Prescriber.