Contact Lens Dos and Don’ts

In no particular order here is a list of things you should be doing with your contact lenses, and things you shouldn’t be doing.

  • Do always wash your hands, and thoroughly dry them, before inserting and removing the lenses.
  • Use soap without moisturisers or perfumes, if using a liquid soap, use one that is clear- creamy looking ones tend to contain moisturisers.
  • Do not use contact lenses if you have or suspect you have an eye infection, no matter how slight. Get it checked first.
  • Never use tap water to clean, store or soak your lenses, ever.
  • Do not spit on the lenses! if they are becoming dry regularly, consult your optometrist, if it only happens on really long days, buy a bottle of contact re-wetting drops such as Revive or Refresh.
  • Don’t use contact lenses if you are using any eye drops other than re-wetting drops. Speak to your Optician or GP firstly.

 

  • If your eyes don’t look good, feel good and see good, take them out.
  • If there is any pain, take them out (even if the pain is greater after removal, do not put them back in).
  • If you begin to experience stinging on insertion, itching on removal or gungy eyes in the mornings or through the day, go for a contact lens check- many niggles are much easier to fix before they really do become a problem!
  • Any feelings or reduced comfort, or reduced comfortable wear time should also be checked- don’t struggle on.
  • Always use the solution recommended by your contact lens practitioner and don’t change it without checking first.
  • Do not sleep in the lenses unless advised it is safe to do so by your optician- some lenses are safe(r) to sleep in than others, but even they still have a slight increase in risks of infection.

 

  • Don’t assume that because you slept in your lenses once and “got away with it” that you will the next time- serious corneal infections are almost unheard of in young healthy non contact lens wearers, and very very rare in those that don’t sleep in lenses.
  • Don’t wear lenses all day every day, again, unless advised you are safe to do so with your particular lens.
  • Ideally you would not swim, hot-tub, or shower with lenses in- clean tap water is not safe for lenses, and you wouldn’t drink water from a Jacuzzi!
  • Do get your eyes and lenses checked regularly- Irish law says your prescription is only valid for one year to try to ensure you do!
  • Don’t let other people try wearing your contact lenses- even cosmetic lenses and fun lenses could harm the eye if not fitting properly, and then there is the risk of infection.
  • Do look at the case a couple of times per week- any fluff or build up on the case, particularly the threads should be rubbed and rinsed with the care solutions.

 

  • Change the solutions in the case every day- empty the case in the morning.
  • If you are not going to carry the lens case with you, after insertion, empty the case and leave it to air dry with the caps off. Everything requires water to grow, including bacteria.
  • Never attempt to decant solutions into a smaller bottle for convenience, or for travel purposes, buy a smaller bottle.
  • Always replace  the cap on the solutions bottle, and do not put the bottle top down on a surface pointing upwards. For the same reason, do not touch the nozzle with fingers, or allow it to contact anything else.
  • If you want to carry a case for emergencies, you could take an empty one, pop the lenses into that, and they will hardly dehydrate, even overnight. If softs are left overnight, soak them for a few minutes before rubbing and rinsing them, to ensure their proper flexibility.
  • Always rub and rinse the lenses, even if your solution is a “No Rub” formula- a 10 second rub and rinse will reduce the microbial load on the lens 100,000 times, and ensure the lens is properly clean.

 

  • Don’t buy large bottles of solutions if you wear lenses infrequently- the solutions may go past their use by date- try to get smaller bottles, or consider disposable lenses.
  • Do put lenses in before putting on makeup, and avoid applying eye liner behind the eyelash line.
  • Try to never touch the lenses (particularly soft ones) with nails, and try to keep nails away from the eyes especially when removing them.
  • Try to avoid getting any perfume, body spray, hair spray in your eyes when you have your lenses in- probably a good idea to avoid getting those in anyway, but they can leave residues on the lens which can cause problems.
  • Be aware that smokers have a significantly increased risk of inflammation and infection with contact lenses of all types, particularly if they overwear or wear extended wear lenses- studies suggest anywhere between 3 and 6 times the risk!
  • Remember that even if the Contact Lenses you wear absorb UV, the eyelids and Conjunctiva (over the white of the eye) are exposed- probably more than when you have spectacles on.

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