Do you want to switch to contact lenses from glasses, but you're not sure if contact lenses are safe or if caring for them is too much of a hassle? Or do you wear contacts already and want to make sure that you do the best for your eye health?
Taking proper care of your eyes and contact lenses isn't rocket science. Here are 12 simple rules you can follow, to keep your contact lenses and your eyes happy and healthy.
Modern contact lenses vary in quality; make sure that your doctor prescribes the contact lenses that are healthiest for your eyes. See suggestions on advanced contact lenses
Clean your lenses every time you handle them (before putting contacts in your eyes and after removing them). Give each lens a gentle 10-15 second rub in solution. The only exception to this rule is color lenses - rinse, but don't rub them; it might damage the color.
Handle only one lens at a time, so you don't confuse them. Train yourself to start with ether the right or the left lens.
When cleaning your lenses don't forget to take care of the lens case as well. Wash it with unperfumed soap and let it dry. Doctors also recommend that you replace your contact lens case every 2 or 3 months.
Never put your lenses in the same solution twice; replace the solution every time you handle your lenses. Usually you shouldn't use any solution 6 months after the bottle has been opened, and definitely not after the expiry date. Store your contact lenses and solution in a dry, cool place. The refrigerator door is ideal.
Soft contact lenses shouldn't be allowed to dry up. The lens should be either in the eye, or in a special solution. If you accidentally let the lens dry up, throw it out, it is no longer good.
Don't wear contacts if you have got a cold, cold sores or another infection. You don't want any germs to get into your eyes. It is handy to have a pair of glasses for such occasions.
If you wear make-up, apply your eye make-up after putting your lenses in, and try to use water-based mascara. Lenses are very sensitive to deodorants and hair sprays, so either spray before you put the lenses in, or close your eyes very tightly while spraying.
Don't forget to replace your contact lenses on schedule. Daily disposables - every morning, 2-week replacements - every fortnight and so on. A couple of days delay wouldn't make any difference, but wearing 2-week replacements for a month is definitely not healthy for your eyes. See more information about disposable contacts.
Avoid smoky or dusty rooms; soft contact lenses collect every tiny particle and your eyes will feel uncomfortable.
If your eyes feel uncomfortable or irritated, take the lens out. It is possible that something is stuck under it or the lens is torn. If your lens isn't damaged, wash your eye and the lens, and put it back. If the unpleasant sensation doesn't go away, take the lenses out and don't wear them until you can see your optometrist. Damaged lenses should be thrown away, no matter how expensive they are. A torn lens can do serious harm to your eye.
Don't sleep in your contacts. Lenses designed as day wear block oxygen flow to your eyes and the eyelid puts extra pressure on the lens, so your eyes would feel terrible after you wake up. The only exception is extended wear lenses, like Focus Night and Day or Acuvue; they are designed for continuous wear and sleep.
If you routinely follow these rules, your contact lenses should never give you any problems and, most of the time, you should feel like you don't wear any corrective lenses at all.
Tanya Turner is a contact lens expert and a founder of www.1-contact-lenses-consumer-guide.com/, where you can find unbiased information about eye health and all types of contact lenses with reviews and pictures