Published: 11/24/2021 - Updated: 01/21/2022
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Contact lenses can be a safe and effective way to enjoy good, comfortable vision without glasses. However, you need to know how to wear and care for contact lenses correctly. Otherwise, you could cause serious and even permanent eye problems.
You can get a serious eye infection if you don’t clean, disinfect and store your contact lenses properly.Follow these steps to prolong the life of your contact lenses and keep your eyes safe and healthy.
The type of contact lenses you have determines your care.
Extended wear disposable soft lenses need the least care. Conventional soft lenses require the most work.
Follow all instructions or you could have vision problems. If you find it difficult to follow these steps, talk to your eye doctor. He or she may be able to make the steps easier, or you may be able to switch to daily disposable lenses.
- Before handling contact lenses, wash and rinse your hands with a mild soap. Make sure it is free of perfumes, oils or lotions. They can leave a film on your hands. If they come in contact with contact lenses, your eyes may become irritated or your vision may be blurred.
- Dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel.
- If you use hair spray, use it before putting in contact lenses. It’s also a good idea to keep your fingernails short and smooth so you don’t damage your contact lenses or scratch your eye.
- Make up your eyes after putting in contact lenses. Remove them before removing your makeup.
- Some contact lenses require special care and products. Always use the disinfecting solution, eye drops and enzymatic cleaners recommended by your doctor.
- Never put tap water directly on your contact lenses. Always use professional products to clean them.
- Never put a contact lens in your mouth to rinse it.
- Clean each contact lens as follows: after applying the product, gently rub it with your index finger in the palm of your other hand. By lightly rubbing the lens, you will remove surface build-up.
- Clean the contact lens case every time you use it, and use a professional contact lens cleaner. Allow to air dry. Replace the case every 3 months.
Wear your contact lenses safely
Eye care experts say daily disposable contact lenses are the safest. Ask your doctor for advice on lens care.
Wear contact lenses every day only as long as your doctor recommends.
If you think you will have trouble remembering when to change your lenses, ask your ophthalmologist for a chart to keep track of your schedule. If they don’t have one, you can make your own.
Never use someone else’s contact lenses, especially if they have already worn them. Using other people’s contact lenses can transmit infections or particles from their eyes to yours.
Don’t sleep with contact lenses in, unless they are for extended wear. When the eyelids are closed, tears do not bring as much oxygen to the eyes as when they are open.
Don’t let the tip of solution bottles touch other surfaces, such as fingers, eyes or contact lenses. Any of these can contaminate the solution.
Wear sunglasses with full UV protection or a wide-brimmed hat when in the sun.
Use a rewetting solution or normal saline solution, whichever your doctor recommends, to keep your eyes moist.
If you accidentally put in a contact lens upside down, it won’t hurt your eye, but it won’t feel good either. To avoid this, place the contact lens on the tip of your finger so that it forms a cup. Look at the lens from the side. If the cup appears to widen at the top and has a lip, the lens is upside down.
If your eye becomes irritated, remove your contact lenses. Do not wear them again until you have talked to your doctor about the problem. If you continue to wear them, your eye could become infected. When you return to contact lenses, follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid infection.
See your eye doctor immediately if you have sudden vision loss, blurred vision that does not improve, flashes of light, eye pain, infection, swelling, unusual redness or irritation.
Swimming with contact lenses in is not a good idea. Even if you wear your goggles to protect yourself, there is still a chance of getting a serious infection if you wear your contact lenses in a pool or, worse, if you swim in a lake or river.
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