WHY IS CONTACT LENS CARE IMPORTANT?
Contact lenses are available over the counter and thus contact lens care becomes very important. The types include daily disposable lenses, two weekly, and monthly disposable. This has led to a certain casual attitude when it comes to wearing contact lenses. It’s natural for that to happen but that does not make it right.
Contact lenses actually sit on the front surface of the eye i.e. on the cornea. In other words, you are inserting something in your eye, and thus if you don’t take care of that thing, your eyes may be harmed.
The most common thing we as eye care professionals, worry about is eye infections. These could range from mild to severe. Severe could mean corneal ulcers which could turn into a blinding eye condition.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO TAKE CARE OF MY CONTACT LENSES?
- Always maintain hygiene while wearing and removing contact lenses.
- Remember, Always wash your hands with hand wash or soap and water and dry them with a clean cloth.
- Visit your eye doctor if you have any redness, pain, swelling, or irritation.
- Report to your eye doctor for regular follow-ups.
- Follow-up care is of utmost importance and it is your responsibility to schedule and keep appointments.
- Follow your wearing time schedule as prescribed by your optometrist/doctor.
- Keep a storage case and a small bottle of lubricant or saline with you at all times for emergency use.
- Clean and rinse your lens after you remove and store it.
- This is to avoid the buildup of tough protein deposits and oily films that are difficult to remove.
- Use a fresh solution in the storage case each night. Be sure lenses are completely covered with a solution when storing in the case.
- Rinse the storage case well with warm tap water then with saline after each use and let them air dry with the covers off.
- Avoid harmful vapors, dusty environments, and fumes especially in work areas while wearing lenses. Wear safety glasses if needed. Inform your employer that you wear contact lenses so that they can recommend safety glasses if necessary.
- Avoid contact with sprays and aerosols (hairsprays, deodorants, spray paint, oven cleaner, etc.)
- Use contact lenses before you apply makeup, including lotions and foundations as well as eye cosmetics such as mascara and eye shadow.
- Remove your contact lenses 1st before you remove your eye makeup.
WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO WHILE WEARING CONTACT LENSES?
- Avoid wearing lenses if you have redness, pain, or infection. And contact your optometrist/doctor.
- Never exceed your wearing schedule by over-wearing lenses.
- Avoid switching or mixing brands of cleaning solutions without your optometrist’s approval.
- Try not to touch the tip of solution bottles; it can contaminate a sterile bottle of contact lens solution.
- Never rinse your lenses with water from the tap as tap water contains many impurities that can contaminate or damage your lenses. This may lead to serious eye infections and sometimes loss of vision.
- Saline solution and rewetting drops should never be used to disinfect lenses. Neither of them is an effective or approved disinfecting solution.
- Swimming or taking shower while wearing your lenses is not allowed. As any water (i.e. rain or tears) may flush lenses out of your eyes and can cause various eye infections.
- You are not allowed to sleep in your lenses without your optometrist’s approval.
- Sharing your contact lenses with anyone is not allowed.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS REPLACEMENT SCHEDULES FOR CONTACT LENS CARE?
- Lenses: As mentioned above, never overuse or wear your contact lenses over time. Always follow your optometrist /doctor guidelines in taking contact lens care.
- Contact Lens Solution: Solution bottles have an expiry date which should follow from the date of opening the bottle.
Even if the contact lens solution is remaining and the bottle says expiry from 1 month of opening, and if the month is up, please avoid using it.
- Case of Contact Lens: One should wash his lens case every week and replace it. Replace it with a new, every 1 to 3 months. If it gets cracked or damaged replace it right away to avoid any eye infections or any dust accumulation.
Can I put drops while I am wearing contact lenses?
This is one of the most common questions now people ask.
If we find that you have a small amount of dryness that comes at mid or end of the day after removing the lenses, these eye drops can help a lot.
This will not only help to take care of the dryness or dry eyes but also will:
- Re-wet the lenses in the eyes itself and make the eye surface also wet and moist.
- Remove loose dust particles then and there itself.
- Avoid any dust accumulation and increases comfort.
- Also, it will decrease friction between contact lenses and lid and increases lens comfortability.
- These eye drops come under a common name which is re-wetting, contacts lubricating eye drops, etc.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE UNEXPECTED REACTIONS (PROBLEMS)
If you notice any issue with your contact lenses such:
- Comfortless than when the lens was first put in
- Excessive watering
- Reduced sharpness of vision
- Blurred vision
- Sensitiveness to light, you should:
- Instantly remove your lenses.
- If the discomfort or problem stops, then look closely at the lens. If the lens is in any way damaged, do not put the lens back on your eye. Place the lens in the storage case and contact your eye care professional.
- If the lens has dirt, an eyelash, or other foreign body on it, or the problem stops, you should thoroughly, rinse, and disinfect the lenses; then try to reinsert them.
- After reinsertion, if the problem continues, you should promptly remove the lenses and consult your eye care professional.
- When any of the above problems continue, a serious condition may be present. You should keep the lens off your eye until your eye care specialist can identify the problem.
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS VERY PROPERLY
- Keep the schedule your eye doctor gives you for wearing and replacing your lenses.
- Follow directions from your doctor, contact lens maker, lens cleaning solution producer to clean and store your lenses.
- If you store your lenses in the case for a long time, read your instructions to see if you should re-disinfect them before wearing them.
- Never wear your contact lenses if they have been stored for 30 days or longer without re-disinfecting.
- Keep your eye exam appointments. Contact lenses can warp over time, and your cornea can change shape.
- To make sure your lenses fit properly, and the prescription is right for you, see your eye doctor regularly.
- Do not shower, swim, or do anything where water gets in your eyes when wearing contacts.
- Do not sleep in daily wear lenses without consulting your optometrist or your eye doctor. That is where you will need a contact lens consultation.
In conclusion, remember that there are specific solutions for specific contact lens companies. Optometrist / Doctor can suggest the best solutions and you should avoid switching.
Always ask for any doubts so that you don’t end up in confusion and continue your contact lens wear in a safe and healthy manner.