Contact lenses are among the best prescription devices for achieving better vision.
An eye doctor can recommend lenses meant for daily replacement or planned replacement depending on your vision problem. But regardless of what type of lens is best for you, knowing how to care for them properly is crucial to reap the benefits of using them and prevent potential eye infection.
To help you with contact lens care, here is a guide to keeping your prescription eye contacts clean and safe to use.
Tips for handling your contact lenses
When it comes to the proper handling of your lenses, cleanliness is a basic requirement. Your hands must be clean and free of any debris and foreign substances. Aside from the importance of hygiene, make sure you apply the following tips.
1. Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions.
- Follow your eye doctor’s recommendations on how to use and when to replace your contact lenses. For daily disposable wear, make sure to discard the contact lens after every removal. For planned replacement, discard the lenses after the recommended wearing period. Following your lens replacement schedule will help keep your eyes comfortable and healthy, so stick to it.
- Don’t miss your follow-up appointments. Over time, your contact lens might warp, and the shape of your cornea may change. A regular visit to your eye doctor will ensure that your lenses fit your eye properly and the prescription is accurate.
- Don’t wear your contact lenses while showering, swimming, or using the hot tub.
2. Wash your hands
- Before handling your lenses, wash your hands with soap and dry them thoroughly using a lint-free towel.
- Avoid using soap that contains oily components. Don’t use cold cream or lotion before handling your lenses because these substances can significantly interfere with successful wearing.
3. Follow the recommended lens care routine.
- Always use the recommended lens care system. Follow the instructions provided on the lens solution’s label because not all solutions are safe for use with all types of contact lenses.
- Avoid mixing or alternating lens care systems, unless it is specified on the label.
- Clean one contact lens first. Rinse it thoroughly using the recommended lens solution to remove any debris, film, or mucus from its surface. Once done, place it into the proper chamber of your lens case. Then, repeat the cleaning process for the other contact lens.
- Always use a new solution every time you clean your contact lenses. Discard any used or old solution.
- Don’t transfer your lens solution into another bottle because this will make it unsterile.
- When using the lens solution, ensure that the tip of the bottle doesn’t touch your contact lens or any surface. Also, always close the bottle tightly when not in use.
4. Care for your lens case
- Your lens case can become the breeding ground for bacteria. So make sure to keep it clean. Rinse it with the proper lens case solution before allowing it to air dry every time you remove your contact lenses from it.
- Replace your lens case regularly as recommended by your eye doctor. But if it gets damaged or cracked, replace it immediately.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions of people wearing contact lenses that you must be aware of.
Is a lens solution good past its expiration date?
No. Discard your lens solution once they expire.
Take note also of the solution’s discard date if the manufacturer has indicated it in the packaging. This refers to the date the solution must be discarded after opening, which is usually within 90 days.
If you are unsure about using the recommended lens solution, ask your optometrist.
Can lubricants or eye drops be used with contact lenses?
Eye drops that are free of preservatives are generally safe to use with contact lenses. But eye drops that are not approved for contact lenses must be avoided as this can cause damage not just to the lens but to your eyes too. Consult your eye doctor about which eye drops are suitable for your contact lens materials and eye condition.
Can tap water be used to store or insert contact lenses?
No. Never use tap water when caring for your contact lenses and lens case as it contains microorganisms that can cause eye infections and even blindness. This is also the reason why you should not attempt to make homemade contact lens solutions.
One of the known microorganisms found in tap water that can cause eye infections is Acanthamoeba. This microscopic amoeba targets the cornea, which is where the contact lens sits.
What to do if the contact lens accidentally fell on the floor?
Floors and customized carpets can harbor plenty of microorganisms. So whenever you accidentally dropped your lenses on the floor, the best way to ensure safety is to disinfect it thoroughly as recommended by your eye doctor or the lens care system’s manufacturer. You can use your back-up glasses while cleaning it.
But if you don’t have enough time to disinfect the fallen contact lens, using a new contact lens is highly recommended.
When to call your eye doctor
See your eye doctor immediately if you feel any of these signs:
- Irritated, red eyes
- Sudden onset of fuzzy or blurred vision
- Pain in and around your eyes
- Uncomfortable lenses
Contact lenses will help you see clearly. But to safely wear them, you must commit to care for them and replace them when necessary. Moreover, get them from the best optician, keep your follow-up appointments, and know when to call your eye doctor.
Firas Saab is the Training Manager at Al Jaber Optical in Dubai, the leading optical and eyewear company in the UAE that offers a comprehensive range of eyewear and optical services across the board, through a wide range of modern optical products and facilities. Firas is an enthusiastic trainer with more than a decade in the retail and optical industry and has recently acquired HND in Business and Management in addition to his Optical qualifications.