Contact lenses are so widely used now that people tend to forget the importance of the proper use of and care for these lenses. They form a small part of our lives yet are so essential. Apart from correcting our eyesight, they also add great convenience to our daily lives.
But improper use of contact lenses may lead to irrevocable damage to our eyes. As we get more comfortable with using them, we sometimes take them, our eyes, and our ability to see for granted.
When you get your contact lens prescription, your optometrist would have highlighted some of the do’s and don’ts. But how many of these do you remember or conscientiously follow?
1. Wash your hands before handling your contact lenses
Just like how we have to frequently wash our hands to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the same theory applies to wearing contact lenses. The germs on your hands may be transferred to your lenses, which then get passed to your eyes and cause an infection.
Before you touch your contact lenses, wash your hands with a mild, oil- and fragrance-free soap. As there is also bacteria that live in tap water which may cling to your lenses, dry your hands with a lint-free towel or clean tissues.
2. Don’t wear your contact lenses longer than you should
Contact lenses should not be worn more than eight hours a day. This is a rule that most working adults conveniently forget, since our working hours are at least eight hours — nine, if you include lunch break. After all, how often do you see or have you ever seen your colleague switch out their contact lenses for a pair of glasses?
There are also contact lenses that should be replaced daily, fortnightly, monthly, or yearly. Even if they feel fresh, they should not be worn after their “expiry date”. Prolonged wearing may lead to unhealthy eyes and discomfort.
3. Replace your contact lens solution every month and your case every three months
Similarly, your contact lens solution and contact lens case have to be changed regularly. Once opened, the solution should be discarded after one month. Some brands may indicate that the solution is good for use up to 90 days after opening. Beyond the stipulated time, the solution may no longer be sterile.
Your contact lens case should also be cleaned daily using fresh solution, then wiped dry with a tissue. Even if you don’t wear your contact lens every day, you still have to clean the case and change the solution to store your lenses. On top of these, the case should be replaced every three months.
4. Don’t rinse your contact lenses with tap water
Running out of solution doesn’t give you a free pass to use tap water instead. Tap water may contain bacteria that can cause serious eye infections. This also means that you should not wear contact lenses in the shower or when swimming. And you should never put your lenses in your mouth or use saliva to wet them — talk about gross!
5. Get your contact lenses from an optometrist
Ill-fitting contact lenses can scratch your eye or cause an eye infection. Before you purchase any contact lenses, especially through online markets, you should get a prescription from an optometrist. They can professionally decide what is best for the curvature of your eyes to ensure maximum comfort.
6. Apply cosmetics after you insert your lenses and remove them before removing make-up
The steps to take when it comes to contact lens and cosmetics are simple: the order doesn’t change. You insert your lenses before applying make-up; you remove your lenses before removing your make-up. This is the best way to prevent damaging or staining your lenses.
7. Stop wearing your contact lens if you feel uncomfortable
If your eyes are hurting, remove your contact lenses and rinse them with solution to remove the dirt or dust. If you’re not better after you stop wearing them, seek the help of an eye doctor. You should also keep a pair of up-to-date prescription glasses for when you can’t wear your contact lenses.