Advice for Contact Lens Wearers
Take Care of Your Contact Lenses
While some wear contact lenses due to eye conditions that cannot be accurately corrected with eyeglasses, the majority of people wear them for reasons including convenience, appearance and the wider range of vision they afford. Whatever your reason, it is important to handle your lenses carefully in order to avoid infections and other eye problems.
Contact Lenses and Good Hygiene
Before inserting and removing your contact lenses, always wash your hands well with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel. Try to avoid perfumed or oily soaps that may stick to the lens’ surface. Getting into the habit of inserting and removing the same lens first will help you avoid mixing up the lenses for the left and right eye.
When storing your lenses, clean and disinfect them according to the labeling instructions. Always rinse them using the appropriate lens solution since not all solutions can be used for all contact lenses. You should never substitute your lens solution with water since it will not properly disinfect your lenses and may contaminate them, causing a serious eye infection. Lenses should never be cleaned with saliva.
Make sure the solution is fresh each time you store your lenses. In order to avoid contamination, take care to not allow the tip of the solution bottle touch any surface. Your case should also be cleaned on a regular basis, allowed to air dry, and preferably replaced with a new one every month or two. It is highly recommended to leave your lenses in the case for at least four hours between uses to ensure that they are completely disinfected.
When Contact Lenses Should Be Temporarily Stored
Since wearing guidelines for contact lenses vary according to the type of lens and wearer, the schedule suggested by your eye care professional should be followed carefully. Recommended wearing times vary but for most soft lenses it is no more than 10 – 12 hours a day for up 5 days a week. Though you might find it difficult, your eyes will benefit from periods of rest from your contacts. Glasses should be worn a couple of days a week to provide your eyes with a chance to breathe. This will permit enough oxygen to reach your corneas to keep them healthy.
There are other times when you may want to temporarily forgo wearing contact lenses. Unless you have goggles with an extremely firm seal, it is best to remove your contacts before going swimming. In addition to the discomfort you may experience from the chlorine in pools, you will also risk infection from bacteria and other microorganisms in any water you swim in.
Allergy sufferers may find it helps to remove their contacts when their allergies are strong. Allergens can stick to the lenses making your symptoms even worse. If you really do not want to wear glasses, make sure you clean your contacts thoroughly and more frequently during the allergy season.
Many people find that it can be rather uncomfortable to wear contact lenses when traveling by airplane. This is due to the low humidity in aircraft cabins, which contributes to dry eye and lens discomfort. Removing your lenses and applying eye drops in your eyes before and during the flight may help. If the symptoms become severe, you should probably just switch to eyeglasses when flying.
Getting the Most Out of Your Contact Lenses
Most people who begin using contact lens become attached to them and never wish to go back to wearing glasses. With careful handling of your lenses and good hygiene habits, you can largely avoid any of the negative effects sometimes associated with lenses like infections.
Contacts have improved over the years and many now offer the advantage of a built-in UV-blocking agent. However, it is important to remember these lenses are not intended to replace sunglasses since they only cover your cornea, not your entire eye.
Keep eye drops on hand at all times to prevent the discomfort and risk of damage caused by dry eyes and the build up of dirt or particles. Since not all eye drops are suitable for soft lenses, choose an eye drop formulated for both hard and soft lenses such as Murine® Contacts Refresh & Clean Eye Drops. Designed to improve lens comfort throughout the day, Murine® Contacts Refresh & Clean Eye Drops re-wet your lenses and moisturize your eyes while gently cleansing your lenses of deposits and particles.
In order to maximize the performance of your lenses, make sure you keep your appointments with your eye doctor and have your eyes checked at least once a year. This will ensure that your prescription is up-to-date and you are wearing the lenses that suit your needs. If you notice any change in vision or experience any eye discomfort, schedule an appointment immediately.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
All About Vision
Eye Contact Guide