Contact Care Is Critical
According to the Center for Disease Control, properly caring for your contact lenses has a HUGE impact on your eye health and on the medical industry as a whole. Keep reading to learn how to take care of your precious contact lenses!
Replace your lenses as often as the doctor suggests, even if you don't wear them every day. For instance, if you have a disposable kind that is good for one wearing, throw them out after you've worn them once, even if they still feel fresh. When you wear lenses for more days than you should, or when you sleep in lenses that aren't made for overnight wear, you raise your risk of eye infections (Web MD).
Before You Touch Your Lenses
Always wash your hands before you put your lenses in or take them out. Don't lather up with oily or heavily scented soaps. Lenses can cling to wet hands, so dry your hands well with a lint-free towel. If you want to use a moisturizer, wait until after you've put in your lenses. The residue from lotions can stick to them (Web MD).
Putting in Your Lenses
Start with the same eye each time so you don't mix up the right and left lenses. Use your index finger to slide the lens out of the package or case and into the palm of your hand. Rinse it with the solution recommended by your eye doctor. Place the lens on the tip of your index finger. Pull your lower lid down with the middle finger of the same hand and hold your upper lid with your other hand. Place the lens directly on the iris of your eye. Gently release your lids, and blink (Web MD).
Removing Your Lenses
To take out soft lenses, pull down your lower lid. Look up or to the side, and gently move your lens to the white of your eye. Using your thumb and index finger, gently pinch the lens and lift it off your eye. For gas-permeable lenses, open your eyes wide and pull the skin near the corner of your eye toward your ear. Bend over your open palm and blink. The lens should pop out into your palm (Web MD).
Cleaning and Storage
There are many ways to clean lenses. A multipurpose solution lets you clean, rinse, disinfect, and store your lenses. Some systems have separate products for cleaning and rinsing. "No-rub" solutions say that rinsing alone will clean the lenses, but research suggests that rubbing cleans better. With hydrogen peroxide solution, you put your lenses in a basket that goes in a cup of solution. Never use this solution to rinse your lenses (Web MD).
Water and Lenses Don't Mix
If you're out of contact lens solution, you might be tempted to rinse your lenses with tap water. Don't do it! Water sometimes has microbes that can cause serious eye infections. Don't even wear contacts in the shower. And never put your lenses into your mouth or use saliva to wet them (Web MD).
The Case Matters, Too
Clean your lens case as carefully as you clean your lenses. You should rinse it at least every night with disinfecting solution. Wipe the case with a tissue and let it air dry to help get rid of lingering bacteria. Replace your case every 3 months or more often (Web MD). Never use water to clean your case.
Your Contact Lens Solution
Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case—never mix fresh solution with old or used solution. Use only the contact lens solution recommended by your eye doctor.
When Your Lenses Hurt
A lens might feel uncomfortable if there's something on or under it, or if it's inside out. Take the lens out and rinse it with re-wetting drops or a non-peroxide solution to remove the dirt or dust. Look at it from the side. If there are marks on the edge and you can read them, the lens is OK. If the shape is a "U," then it's fine. If it's a "V" with the top edges flared out, turn it around, rinse, and place it back in your eye. If that's not better, see your eye doctor (Web MD).
Teens and Contact Lenses
Teenagers can wear lenses as long as they learn to take care of them. Disposable lenses that are worn just 1 day are a good option. There's no cleaning or care involved. Work with your eye doctor to find the best contacts for you. Never try on a friend's lenses. An eye doctor has to fit contact lenses perfectly to your eyes. The doctor can give you samples to make sure the chosen lenses fit well (Web MD).
Makeup Tips for Lens Wearers
Put on soft contact lenses before you apply makeup. Put on gas-permeable lenses after you've put on your makeup. Always take lenses out before you take off your makeup. Use non-allergenic makeup. Avoid metallic or glittery eye shadows and liners, and lash-lengthening or waterproof mascara. These can irritate or stain your lenses. Don't apply eyeliner to your inner rims, between your lashes and your eye. Replace your eye makeup at least every 3 months (Web MD).
Contact Lenses and Sports
You can wear your lenses for most sports and activities. They rarely move or fall out. Plus, they don't fog up like glasses, and they give you better peripheral vision. If you swim, though, make sure you wear watertight goggles. You can get an eye infection from water, and your lenses can be hard to take out if they get wet. Use saline or re-wetting drops to loosen them, and then clean and disinfect them afterward.
Keep Your Glasses
Even after you get contact lenses, you'll probably still wear glasses sometimes. You should keep a pair of up-to-date prescription glasses for when your eyes need a break or if you can’t wear your contacts for some reason. You should also have sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UV light. Choose sunglasses that block 99% of UV light and wear them -- especially in the sun, when you're driving, and around snow, water, or sand.
Decorative and Cosmetic Lenses
It might look cool to have cat's eyes for Halloween or change your eye color just for fun. Decorative and cosmetic lenses can be safe, but make sure you get them from an eye doctor. It's actually illegal to sell decorative lenses without a prescription in the U.S. Ill-fitting contact lenses can scratch your eye or cause an eye infection.
Your Eyes and Your Screens
Teens and young adults spend hours in front of computers, televisions, and cell phones. All that screen time can cause computer vision and eye strain problems. We blink less when we're focusing up close like that, so eyes can get dry and tired. To help, try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from the screen to look at something 20 feet away (Web MD).
Visit an Eye Doctor
If you're thinking about contact lenses, see an eye doctor first. Contacts come in different materials, shapes, and strengths that don't match the prescription for your glasses. An optometrist or an ophthalmologist can find the right prescription and fit lenses exactly to your eyes. Even if you want to buy contact lenses online, you'll still need to see an eye doctor first (Web MD).
Do you think contacts might be a good fit for you? Call or Text us to schedule your appointment, (423) 855-8522. We'll be happy to answer all of your eye care questions!