How to Wear Contact Lenses Safely
Proper Care And Safe Handling Are Essential
ontact lenses are a very convenient alternative to traditional eyeglasses. They can provide you with a broader field of vision, free from obstruction (compared to having frames), offering you the freedom to take part in physical activities without having to worry about breaking or potentially losing your glasses. However, proper care and safe handling of contact lenses are crucial so that they don’t pose risks to your eye health.
How to wear contact lenses safely can be broken down into some simple rules, some are definite red lights, and some are cautionary notes to wear contact lenses safely we recommend
Green Lights, or Do's
Get a Proper Prescription and Fitting: It's essential you visit an optometrist to get a prescription and a contact lens fitting. The optometrist will measure your eyes and prescribe lenses that correct your vision and fit correctly. A proper fitting ensures the lens sits comfortably on your eye and reduces your risk of irritations and complications.
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly: Before handling or inserting your contact lenses, always wash your hands with mild soap, so that it doesn't contain oils or fragrances that might stick to the lenses and irritate your eyes. After washing, dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
Keep Lenses Clean and Disinfected: After removing your contact lenses, clean them with the recommended solution if not wearing daily disposables. Rubbing and rinsing your lenses will remove any debris or bacteria. Then store them in a case filled with fresh disinfecting solution. Don’t reuse the same solution as this diminishes its effectivity.
Replace Contacts and Storage Cases Regularly: Contact lenses actually have an expiry date, be it daily, bi-weekly, monthly or yearly. Always replace them as recommended. Also, remember to change your lens case at least every three months and ideally monthly. A lens case can become a breeding ground for bacteria over time, which can lead to irritability and eye infections.
Limit Wear Time: It might be tempting to wear your lenses continuously, but it’s essential to give your eyes a break. Over-wearing can cause oxygen deprivation, leading to complications. Always follow your optometrist's recommendations and remove them if you feel any discomfort whatsoever.
Follow Up Regularly with Your Eye Doctor: Yearly check-ups or as recommended by your eye doctor, are crucial to ensure that your eyes remain healthy and the contact lenses still fit properly. Your eyes can change over time, and regular check-ups help in early detection of potential issues.
‘Listen’ to Your Eyes: If you experience redness, itching, unusual discharge, or any form of discomfort, remove your contacts and consult an eye care professional immediately. These could be signs of an infection or another eye issue!
Yellow Lights, or Take Caution
Be Cautious with Makeup: If you wear makeup, always insert contacts before applying makeup to avoid contamination. Also go for non-allergenic or hypoallergenic makeup and avoid using products like mascara or eyeliner too close to your lash line, where they can come into contact with the lens.
Use Lubricating Drops Wisely: If your eyes feel dry with contacts, use lubricating drops made specifically for contact lens wearers. Don't use any eye drops without checking with your optometrist, as some may not be compatible with contacts.
Red Lights or Don'ts
No Tap Water: Never expose contact lenses to tap water! While cleaning, storing, and wetting them, for whatever reason don’t, it’s just not recommended. Tap water contains microorganisms that can cause serious eye infections. Always use the designated solution.
No Sleeping in Contact lenses (Unless Prescribed): Some lenses are designed for extended or overnight wear, but the large majority aren't. Sleeping in contacts that aren’t designed for it can deprive your eyes of oxygen, leading to complications like corneal infections. If you're unsure about your lenses’ guidelines, check with your eye doctor.
Contact lenses are a fantastic tool for vision correction, and convenience mixed with aesthetics. However, they require care and your commitment to safety practices. By following the guidelines mentioned above you can enjoy the benefits of contacts while keeping your precious eyes safe. Remember to always prioritise your eye health over convenience.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 11 Sep 2023, Last modified: 10 Oct 2023