Caring for Contacts
for Contact Lenses
Following the appropriate contact lens care guidelines will ensure the health and safety of your eyes, while also extending the lifespan of your contacts. Without proper maintenance, your contacts will be unable to their job effectively. You also put yourself at risk for the irritating and uncomfortable conditions that result from improper contact lens care. Keep these tips in mind when caring for your contacts to make sure you get the most out of your investment.
- Before handing your contact lenses or touching your eyes, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water. Any lotions, chemicals, or bacteria on your hands can easily stick to the surface of your contacts, causing irritation or even disease when put into your eyes. Make sure to dry your hands with clean towel after washing them.
- Your certified eye care specialist will give you a schedule that shows you exactly how long you can wear your contacts for. Depending upon the lenses you were prescribed, this length of time will vary. Make sure you follow the schedule exactly, and never wear your contacts for longer than advised.
- Your eye doctor will recommend a specific way to store and clean your contacts after your lenses have been prescribed. Make sure to use a clean contact case and fresh solution each time you remove your contacts. You should clean your contact case before each use by using solution or hot tap water and letting it air dry. Use only the products that have been recommended by your doctor and follow the cleaning regimen guidelines they have provided.
- It is not recommended that you use tap water to rinse or clean your contacts. Even distilled water can sometimes carry microorganisms that can get into your eyes and cause damage. Avoid the urge to rinse contacts with your saliva if no solution is available. The mouth is full of bacteria that can be potentially damaging to your vision.
- When cleaning your contacts with lens solution, use your index finger to gently massage the solution onto the lens. Some newer “no-rub” products do not require you to touch the lens, and only need to be applied for the cleaning solution to work.
- If you develop an eye condition or uncomfortable symptoms such as redness, burning, or irritation, remove your contacts and call your eye care specialist. Leaving your contacts in can worsen the infection or prolong its effects. Once the infection has subsided, follow your specialist’s guidelines about resuming contact lens use to prevent a re-emergence of the condition.
- Never wear anybody else’s contacts. This is an easy way to spread particles or eye diseases from one person to another.
- Do not fall asleep with your contact lenses in, unless you have been prescribed “extended wear” lenses. Your eyes tend to dry out overnight while they are closed, which can cause your contact lenses to stick. If you forget to remove your contacts before sleeping, use re-wetting or saline solution and wait a few minutes before attempting to remove the lenses.
- Schedule an annual appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to check your contact lens prescription and see if anything needs to be changed or adjusted.
- Women should put in contact lenses before applying any makeup. Reversing the order can cause contamination of the lens and irritation of the eyes. When removing makeup, take your contacts out first. Remember to wash and dry your hands appropriately.
If you follow these basic contact lens care tips, you can avoid many of the common problems that contact wearers face. If you have any questions about putting contacts in, taking them out, storing them, or proper care for your specific lenses, talk to the eye doctor that wrote your prescription. They will be happy to give you advice as well as literature you can refer back to if you have any questions in the future.
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