If you are someone that has needed glasses in your lifetime, then you are probably familiar with contact lenses. While some people prefer to just stay with eyeglasses, contact lenses can make life easier and happier, as long as you take care of them.
There is a big responsibility that comes with wearing contact lenses; you are literally putting something in your eye, and you need to make sure it’s clean and ready to go. According to Kierstan Boyd of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, contacts do carry a risk of eye infection if proper care guidelines are not met.
Boyd explained that infection rates vary depending on the type of contact lens. There are single-use daily disposables that are known to be the safest type of lenses and the rigid gas permeable lenses that are harder and require different solutions.
Practicing healthy habits ensures that your eyes remain healthy and strong. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a variety of ways to avoid eye infections:
• Do not wear your contacts to sleep. Not only will you wake up with irritated eyes, but the chance of an eye infection is six to eight times more likely.
• Use fresh solution every time. “Topping off” solution, where you add new solution to old solution, can lower the germ-killing effect.
• Wash hands with soap and make sure they are completely dry before handling contact lenses.
• Take them out before you have contact with water. Do not rinse lenses with tap water.
• Follow proper cleaning, storage, and wear guidelines provided by your eye care professional.
• Replace the contact lens case at least every
three months. Disposal of contact lenses varies depending on the type of lens being used.
Giving your eyes the proper care they need is just as important as proper lens care, according to Boyd. Infections in the eye can result in extensive vision loss. Here are a few methods to ensure your eyes stay healthy while using contact lenses.
• If you experience any redness, pain, blurry vision, swelling, discharge, or increased light sensitivity after removing your contact lenses, refer to your ophthalmologist immediately.
• Do not smoke while using contact lenses. Boyd said that studies have shown that lens wearers who smoke have more problems than nonsmokers.
• Get annual eye exams. Not only do you have a professional checking to make sure everything is in order, but you can also ask them any questions you may have concerning your lenses or eyes.
One pair of eyes is all you get, so take care of them with proper lens handling. They are meant to provide you with corrected vision, and they can’t do their job if they are not cleaned and removed properly. Listen to your ophthalmologist and follow all guidelines for your solution, contact lenses, and contact lens case.
How to Insert Contacts:
1. Wash hands with soap and dry completely.
2. Rinse lenses with solution to remove any debris.
3. Place lens of tip of finger. With other hand, hold the upper eyelid in place while also pulling down your bottom lid.
4. While looking up, place the lens on the lower part of the eyeball.
5. Remove hands and blink a few times to center the lens.
6. Remove lens if there is any irritation or discomfort.
How to Remove Contacts:
1. Wash hands with soap and
2. Pull down your lower lid while
3. Touch the lower end of the lens with
finger and slide the lens down to the white part of the eye
4. Squeeze lens gently with index
finger and thumb to remove.
When to Replace Lenses
Daily Disposable: Every day after wear
Disposable: Every two weeks
Traditional: Every six months
What Type of Solution to Use
Multipurpose: This solution cleanses, rinses, stores, and disinfects lenses.
Saline: This does not disinfect and is mainly used for rinsing the lenses.
Hydrogen Peroxide-based: Used to disinfect, clean, and store lenses.
Enzymatic Protein Removers: Used to clean off the protein (eye gunk) your eye deposits on the lens during wear.
Rigid Gas Permeable: This is used for hard contact lenses, not soft ones.
Written by: Alex Dunn