When you get your first pair of contact lenses, you’ll be feeling on top of the world. But while they can give you a totally new look, they’re more high-maintenance than most people expect. Sure, glasses needed to be cleaned regularly, in order to remove grime and fingerprint smudges, but with contact lenses, you must keep them extra clean and follow the proper care needs, otherwise, you can get a serious infection. So, if you’re new to contact lens use, these tips for contact lens wearers will be invaluable. Read on to learn what to do and what not to do as a contact lens wearer.
Many new lens wearers are very nervous about putting their contact lenses in, afraid they may damage their lenses, their eyes, or the lens will somehow mistakenly become displaced inside the eye itself. Inserting and removing contacts will definitely take some practice, and you will need to keep at it. But you’ll find that you can easily remove and insert your contacts in seconds, after you get over your fear of touching your eyes and placing these thin lenses over them. To learn how to do it like a pro, click here to read my article on how to put in and remove your contact lenses.
Your contact lenses must be kept clean. This means, when it comes to proper contact lens care, you can’t take any shortcuts. Your eye care specialist will provide you with special care instructions that will be specific to the type of lenses you wear. As an example, your doctor may tell you that you need to use a specific type of lens cleaning solution. This means every time you take out your lenses, they must be rinsed and then placed into the best contact lens solution. If there is still lens solution in your contact lens case, never just add more to it. Instead, you must dump out the old solution, clean out the case, and add fresh solution.
When you put your lenses on in the AM, make sure you dump out the old solution, rinse out the case and allow it to air dry. A lens case must be replaced every three months. If this sounds like too much maintenance to you, then you’re better off sticking with glasses. Daily disposable lenses are another option. These lenses can be tossed at the end of the day, so each day you’ll wear a fresh new pair, so you won’t have to deal with rinsing and cleaning them every night.
It’s important to stay hydrated when you wear lenses. Depending on your average daily water intake and your environment, you may need to supplement moisture by using rewetting drops for your eyes. As an example, people who have office jobs and spend a significant amount of time stuck in front of a computer may struggle with dry eyes or red eyes. If you wear contact lenses and need to use eye drops to treat dry eye syndrome, then you must make sure that the eye drops are designed for use with contact lenses, otherwise, you can run the risk of damaging the lenses.
Always follow your eye care specialist’s recommendations. Never use different products than what your doctor has suggested. Avoid substituting lens care products, even if it’s just a different brand. The solution your doctor recommended was specifically chosen based on the type of lenses you wear. If you’re new to contact lens use then it’s also important to keep your eye appointments. Make sure you attend the follow-up appointment which is done to ensure your contact lenses are working for you, effective, and comfortable.
Only wear your lenses based on the schedule prescribed by your doctor. Don’t try to come up with your own schedule. Lenses should only be worn for a certain amount of time, based on your doctor’s recommendations. You should also replace the lenses based on the wear schedule. Never try to wear the lenses longer than what’s recommended and stretch out the time for an extra week. If you have been prescribed continuous wear lenses, avoid sleeping in them.
Most types of contact lenses are not designed for twenty-four hours a day use. Remove your contacts at the end of the day and give your eyes some fresh air and a much-needed break. Most eye care specialists will advise against wearing lenses for longer than eight hours a day.
Learning to Adapt
Don’t expect your lenses to feel comfortable right away. For most people, it will take about a week before they adapt to wearing them. However, over time, you’ll soon realize that you often forget that you’re even wearing them.
Never use tap water to soak your lenses, instead, use a saline solution to rinse the lenses. Make sure you use the right contact lens solution to clean the lenses and your contact lens case. The top of the cleaning solution container should always be kept germ-free. The case should never come into direct contact with your contacts or your fingers. Never use a contact cleaning solution after it has expired. Disinfect and clean your contacts as soon as you remove them.
These lenses are designed for people who are sensitive or allergic to contact lens solution. These lenses can be worn day and night for one month. You don’t even have to take them out to clean them.
If your eyes feel irritated or inflamed, or if wearing your contacts feels painful, then take them out and use your glasses until you can meet with your eye doctor. Lenses can cause irritation if you wear them for too long, if you put them in dirty, or if your eyes are dry. If you’re trying out a new type of lens, then your eyes may be sensitive to the new type of material, in which case you’ll need to switch to a different type of contact lens. If your irritation doesn’t improve after you’ve removed your lenses and worn glasses for a few days, then speak with your doctor. You may need to go in and have your eyes checked, or you doctor may simply order you a different type of contact lens.
Showering and Swimming
The germs and bacteria in water can stick to contact lenses, which can lead to an eye infection. Wearing your contact lenses in rivers, creeks, or lakes can also put you at an increased risk of severe eye infections caused by parasites and bacteria. Wearing your contacts in a public pool can cause the contacts to become dislodged or the chlorine in the water can damage the lens itself. You’ll want to avoid wearing them in the shower since you can easily lose a contact lens when you’re washing your face or rinsing your hair.
Always Wash Your Hands
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to learn how many contact lens wearers are diagnosed with a bacterial eye infection each year, simply because they didn’t remember to wash their hands before they handled their contact lenses. The germs on your hands can be transferred to your lens case and contacts. Some germs can lead to eye infections, so always make sure you wash your hands before touching your contacts.
Avoid Wearing Makeup in the Beginning
While you don’t have to avoid wearing eye makeup when you wear contacts, you may want to avoid wearing it for the first weeks of use. Your eyes may be irritated as you attempt to place the lenses in your eyes, causing your eyes to water, thus ruining your makeup. Another concern is using products like liquid eyeliner and accidentally getting the eyeliner on your contact lenses, should you use too much liner. This would require you to wash your hands, remove your contact, rinse it in saline solution and soak it in contact lens solution before placing it back in your eye. So, in the beginning, until you become more comfortable with wearing contacts and putting them in and removing them, avoid using liquid eyeliner and mascara.
Meet with your eye care specialist once a year for your annual eye checkup. Your vision can change from year to year, which is why it’s so important to have an eye exam annually. If your vision has changed, then your doctor will order new lenses for you. During this visit, you’ll also have the opportunity to talk to your doctor about trying out a different type of contact lens, such as disposable, permanent, or colored.
These tips for contact lens wearers will help you prevent many of the mistakes that new lens wearers tend to make during their first couple of months of contact lens use. Many of the tips I’ve included here can help to prevent infections, will keep your lenses clean and germ-free, and will improve your comfort while helping you to easily adapt to life wearing contact lenses.