Contact Lenses Care Guide
A Contact lens care routine is an essential regime to maintain healthy eyes. Contact lenses can constantly be exposed to everyday dirt and bacteria which can often lead to discomfort and in some cases infection. Your lenses can also begin to slowly build up proteins and calcium from your tears which can cause cloudy vision and stop sufficient amounts of oxygen reaching you eyes.
The lens care routine generally involves 5 key steps and they ensure your lenses are clean and safe and that your eyes are sufficiently oxygenated and remain healthy.
Step 1: Cleaning Solutions
When you get your contact lenses fitted, your optician will recommend the correct solutions for cleaning and storing your lenses. There are many solutions currently on the market (such as Complete, Opti-Free and Renu) which are made with the latest technology to reduce hassles in the care routine. They generally come with the recommendation to not rub the solution on the lenses.
However, contrary to this recommendation, and in some cases with certain solutions it has been proved that it is beneficial to actually rub your contacts with the solution. It is good to rub your lenses before putting them on and after removing them. The solution in the lens case must be replaced every day, as this makes the lens comfortable for an all-day wear.
- Change your lens case every month or two.
- Use the solution recommended by your optician or lens manufacturer to clean the lens case every day, after emptying your lenses out of the case.
- The lens case must be air-dried. The use of a cloth or tissue for wiping the case can cause its contamination so please avoid this.
- Before putting your lenses back in the case, fill the case with fresh storage solution. Never reuse the solution but always use a fresh batch.
Step 2: Preparation
- Your preparation starts with you washing both your hands in water using soap (preferably unscented). Even though it might seem like an obvious thing to do, most people, disregard this step.
- Next check the appropriate process to insert or remove your lenses. Your optician should have advised you of the insertion and removal process during your contact lens fitting.
- It is possible to insert either side of a lens, but the incorrect side will cause irritation and discomfort and might even make the lens to pop out. Many lenses come with a small marking which will allow you to see if it is the correct way up. See below for more information.
You can follow the following tests to figure out the right side to put in.
The Bowl Test:
- Place a lens on your fingertip.
- If the lens' edge curves in slightly, resembling a bowl in its shape, then that is the right side to be inserted.
- If the lens edge curves out, it signifies the incorrect side.
- It is recommended you do the test on both sides of a lens, to be sure, as sometimes the results may not be clear just by testing one side.
The Taco Test:
- Stretch your palm (of the hand) and place the lens in its crease.
- Now, start closing in your palm.
- If the lens curls in resembling a taco’s shape, then that is the right side to be inserted.
- If the lens’ edges flair out, causing the middle part to fold out, then that is the incorrect side.
The Letters Test:
- Check if your lenses have letters or numbers engraved in them.
- The side that displays the letter or number in the right manner is the side to be inserted.
- It is recommended you apply eye cream, make up, hand lotions and the like after you put on your contact lenses, as this ensures the lenses remain clean inside your eyes.
- Before putting in your contacts, please wash your hands thoroughly of any cosmetics and dry your hands with lint free tissue or towel.
Step 3: Insertion
- Place the right eye lens on your fingertip (index finger of the writing hand).
- Using the middle finger of the same hand, hold down your bottom eyelid.
- Use your other hand to pull up the top lid and hold it open.
- This should create enough space for your contact lens to be inserted into your eyes without being touched by anything.
- Insert the lens into the eyes by bringing your finger closer, causing the lens' edges to touch the eye.
- Now, the lens would slide out from your finger and cling on to your eye.
- Release your eyelids gradually.
- Close the eye slowly.
- Then gently pat your eyelid in order to release any air bubbles, which might have formed.
- Now, repeat the process for your left eye.
Step 4: Removal
You can remove the lens in two ways.
Use your index finger to pull the lens down, to your lower eyelid. Now bring in your thumb and squeeze out the lens. The second way is to pull the lens down and to the side with your index finger. The lens will roll up into the side of your eye for you to take out.
Use your index finger to pull the lens down and push it to the outer side of your eye. Now, you can just take it out from there
Step 5: Wearing Schedule
If you are new to contact lenses or to a particular type of lens, you need to start out slowly. Initially wear the lens just for around four hours. Gradually, increase the time by two hours, every day, until you reach 8 to 10 hours. The recommended time to wear a pair of lenses in a day is 8-10 hours. However, it might vary with the prescription and the types of lenses. Please follow your optician's recommendation.
Many wearers opt to use Daily Disposable lenses which avoids many of the care routines mentioned above. Daily disposables are lenses that you wear for the day and then dispose of. The next day just replace them with a fresh pair.
Disposable lenses must be used only for the recommended time and they must be disposed off promptly. Over use of the disposable lenses can cause many problems such as dry eyes and infections.
In case of Discomfort and Emergencies
Please remove your lenses and contact your eye care professional immediately, if you experience watery or burning eyes, constant redness, persistent pain, sensitivity to light, and hazy vision even past an hour of removal.
Lens users often tend to visit their optician for dry eyes. It is a condition where your eyes lose the capacity or reduce in capacity to produce tears naturally.
Many factors contribute to the issue of dry eyes in people, for instance,
- Eyestrain due to long exposure to a computer screen or continuous reading for a long period;
- A windy, humid or dry environment;
- Medication, such as birth control medicines, cardiovascular medicines, Antihistamines, anti inflammatory medicines and pain relievers
There is no complete cure for the dry eyes condition. However, you can achieve temporary relief by using lubricating drops for eyes, artificial tears, and the like. Such drops help eliminate or reduce the dry, itchy feeling.
If you suffer from dry eyes due to contact lenses, you can replace your lenses with those that have more water content (always speak with your optician before changing the brand or parameters of your lenses to make sure they are suitable for you). Alternatively, you can use drops specifically to be used with contact lenses.