For some, contact lenses can provide either the beautiful convenience of a full field of vision or a disgustingly regular pink-eye/fungal infection. If you don't want to be the latter, make sure you follow your doctor's instructions for proper contact lens care and wear.
Below, we've compiled a list of the top 10 do's and don'ts of wearing contact lenses.
- Do clean and disinfect your contact lenses and cases on a regular basis.
Clean, rinse, and air dry your lens case each time the lenses are removed. While air drying, you may need to flip over your lens case to allow the excess solution to drain. Contact lens cases may function as a breeding ground for germs.
Before handling your lenses, wash your hands with antibacterial soap and avoid using any cream, lotion, or oil. Even if your contact solution is "no-rub," the FDA recommends the rub and rinse method for a thorough cleaning.
Clean and disinfect your lenses correctly, following all labeling instructions supplied with your lens care products. Make a schedule and a daily habit of cleaning and caring for your lenses. To reduce the risk of infection, replace your contact lens case every three months.
- Do replace your contact lenses on a regular basis and follow your doctor's instructions.
Wearing your contact lenses for an extended period of time can result in serious health issues such as infection and blurred vision. Contact lens replacement in a timely fashion is critical for maintaining good eye health and comfort. Consider daily disposable contacts if you find yourself consistently violating contact rules.
- Do keep your fingernails trimmed to avoid contact damage.
To avoid scratching or damaging your contact lenses during insertion and removal, keep your fingernails short. A guide to inserting and removing contact lenses can be found here. To avoid accidentally tearing your contact lens when closing the case or picking up the lens, fill your contact lens case to the brim with solution. Avoid tightening the lenses in the middle and running solution to unravel tricky edges.
- Do visit your doctor IN PERSON for a regular check-up.
It's essential to have a routine eye exam for maintaining the health of your eyes and preventing vision-threatening conditions, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts, which can only be diagnosed by an eye professional.
- Do allow your eyes to rest.
Environmental factors can have a big impact on your eye health and comfort. As previously stated, blinking is the best way to keep the eye moist, so place your reading materials or computer lower than eye level to encourage blinking.
Keeping hydrated is also important to avoid dehydration of the eyes. If your eyes become dry during the day, you should turn down the air conditioning and avoid smoking. Dust exposure, as well as prolonged computer use, can cause dry eyes.
- Don’t wear your contacts overnight.
Wearing your contacts overnight can result in a trip to the emergency room unless your eye care practitioner has prescribed you specific contacts for overnight wear. It's a high risk of infection that your lenses will be in a fixed position. Blinking helps keep contacts moist and clean, which sleeping does not.
- Don't "top-off" the solutions in your case.
After each usage, always discard all of the leftover contact lens solutions. Never reuse any lens solution. Remove the old solution, rinse your case with new solution, and refill your case with new solution.
To keep bacteria at bay, clean your case with hot water and air-dry it upside down on a clean tissue. Never use water or saliva to rinse or store as a replacement for a solution. One month after opening, solution bottles should also be replaced.
- Don't put a ripped or torn contact in your eye.
I wish I could change the word don't to never in the preceding sentence. To say "don't" is an understatement. Never put a ripped, torn, or dried contact lens back in your eye. Whatever the case, even if it feels okay, it is NOT okay. Remove the damaged lens and replace it with a new pair. Keep a spare pair on hand to avoid some questions.
- Don't expose your contact lenses to any water.
Don’t wear contacts when entering a pool, hot tub, or participating in any water activity. Contact lens water exposure has been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, a corner infection that is resistant to treatment and cure.
Water is an ideal medium for bacterial growth. When near pools, hot tubs, lakes, or oceans, wear protective eyewear such as sunglasses or goggles. It's risky when you use tap water to clean or store lenses.
- Don't use saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect lenses.
These are not disinfectants and should not be used as solution replacements. Saline, protein removers, and eye drops are intended to supplement and enhance your contact experience, not to replace it.
Saline solution and rewetting drops are only intended to rinse or moisturize the skin. Use specialized eye drops when you wear contact lenses. Click here for more contact lens risks.
- Additional Considerations
Keep your glasses and lens case on hand at all times in case your lenses become uncomfortable. Overwearing your lenses for a long period of time or exceeding your wearing schedule can harm your eyes.
Be gentle with your contacts, as these delicate films can easily rip and tear. If you drop a contact, don't move because you might damage or step on the lens. Check your surroundings calmly because lenses tend to stick to surfaces. Rubbing lenses can also cause damage.
Do not self-prescribe contacts, and always consult an eye doctor if you experience pain or irritation. Also, unless you enjoy pink-eye, never share contact lenses with your friends.
- Ready to Change Your Look?
Colored contacts may drastically alter how others see your appearance on the outside.
Because the eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, altering your eyes may transform your whole look!
Colored contacts are safe to wear and can be used on a daily basis if desired. If you require a prescription for contacts, colored contacts may be turned into a prescription version, giving you the best of both worlds.