9 Important Tips Everyone Wearing Contacts Should Know
Did you know that an estimated 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses?
Soft contact lenses were introduced in 1971, and now 90% of people wearing contacts use them. These are easier to adjust to than their rigid gas permeable (RGP) counterparts.
But that doesn't mean the transition is perfect. There is still the potential for eye infections and irritation with soft lenses as with the RGP ones.
And since a whopping 40-90% of wearers take shortcuts and don't properly care for their lenses — the odds are high that issues will arise. Almost all contact lens wearers report having at least one issue with their lenses or eyes.
Are you one of the many wearing contacts today? Then let's make the process as easy as possible. Here are nine tips to keep your vision clear and comfortable.
1. Clean, Dry Hands Are Key
This rule is #1 for a reason. It is by far one of the most important steps to a stress-free experience.
Putting your contacts in? Or taking them out? Hygiene always matters.
Clean, dry hands are super important for avoiding infection and other problems. No matter how tired you are at night - wash your hands before removing contacts.
A hand soap without noticeable smell is best; since some of the additives that create the scent may transfer to the eye. And when you're done, dry your hands with a towel. Contacts love sticking to wet hands!
Changing out the solution in your lens case? Wash your hands before this process, too.
2. Follow Respective Time Rules
Are you wearing disposable lenses? Do they allow for overnight wear? Do you prefer weeklies or monthlies?
Whatever lens style you choose, follow the respective time rules of each. If you're wearing a disposable lens, keep in mind that it's disposable for a reason. The FDA considers these one-time-use lenses.
Continued use of a throwaway lens leaves room for infection and irritation.
Extended wear options are available. These can last anywhere from one to six nights, all the way to 30 days. If you have a problem replacing your lenses every day, you may need to consider an extended style.
Remember the rigid gas permeable lenses we mentioned? RGPs, although harder to adjust to, last longer than their soft counterparts.
3. Start With the Same Eye (Every Time)
What's the best way to avoid mixing up your right/left prescriptions? By inserting your contacts the same way every time. If it feels natural to begin with your right eye, do the same thing tomorrow. And the day after that, and the day after that...
This is the best tip for avoiding a mix-up. A contact in the wrong eye could cause headaches, impaired vision, discomfort, etc.
4. Rinse the Lens Before Using
Yes — even after washing and drying your hands — you still need to rinse the lens before putting it in your eye. This is a sure way to keep your lens free of debris and bacteria.
Once your hands are clean, place the lens in the palm of your hand. Rinse it with a cleaning solution. Then place it on your extended, clean index finger. Voila!
5. Try a Multipurpose Solution
Some solutions rinse lenses but do not clean them. Don't let this happen to you. Clean lenses are key to avoiding major issues.
Instead, seek out a multipurpose solution. This should be able to clean, rinse, and disinfect your contact lenses. And as an added bonus, a multipurpose solution can get used to store lenses in, too.
Now you have one convenient bottle instead of three! Easier for traveling and transportation!
6. Whatever You Do, Avoid Water!
Water and contact lenses are not friends. Whether you're showering, swimming, washing your face - be aware of the issues of mixing water and contacts.
Water contains harmful microbes that can cause infections in the eyes. If you're out of contact lens solution, don't trick yourself into thinking water is the next-best option. Instead, this can cause heavy irritation.
Planning a day of activities in the water? You may need to settle for glasses that day. Water can cause soft lenses to change shape, swell up, or stick to the eye.
Avoid storing lenses in water, as well.
7. Clean and Replace Your Contact Lens Case
Contact lenses are not the only things that need maintenance and replacement. The case that holds them also requires frequent cleaning and even replacement.
Clean the case as often as you can, even once a day. The case doesn't need replacing as often - but some doctors will recommend doing it every three months.
8. Irritation Occurring? Take the Lens Out
If a lens is irritating your eye, there may be some debris or bacteria in there that's bothering it. Avoid rubbing the eye or leaving the irritated lens in. This could lead to infections, which could lead to blindness.
If you're suffering from irritation, take the lens out and rinse it. Consider glasses for the time being if that doesn't fix the problem.
9. Dry Eyes? Try This
You didn't stop wearing glasses to get desert eyes! Your eyes should not be so dry that they are causing redness or itchiness.
If your lenses are dry, consider doctor-approved eye drops to restore moisture. If that doesn't work, you might need to switch out your lenses for glasses — at least for the moment. Don't allow dryness to continue.
Wearing contacts isn't as easy as 1, 2, 3. But it's not that hard, either. In fact, the care you give your contacts and eyes is the same you should be giving to everything. Our eyes are precious and deserve careful attention and maintenance.
Have you made the decision to add contact lenses into your routine? Then make sure you're ready to take responsibility. Apply eye makeup in a safe, smart manner. Avoid dirty hands and old contact lens cases. You get the idea!
Putting on a pair of glasses every day is a little easier. But, contact lenses come with major conveniences. If you're ready to see the world without a frame on your face, this is how you do it.
Getting new contacts can be exciting, as well as a bit unnerving. So we hope these tips about wearing contacts helped put you at ease. With proper care and a good routine, you’ll treat your contacts well and they will serve you well.