A contact lens is a thin disk that floats on the surface of the eye to provide vision correction. With advances in optical technology, almost everyone now can wear contact lenses, regardless of the type or extent of their vision problems. This includes patients with astigmatism and those who need bifocal or multifocal lenses. But since they are a medical device, contact lenses do require some compliance on the part of patients with guidelines for proper care and use.
Contact Lens Supplies
Contact lenses should always be stored in the solution recommended by your ophthalmologist. Fresh solution is required every single time a patient is storing the lenses. It is not safe to reuse solution as it can harbor bacteria and debris. Rinse the contact lens case with the solution after its use and leave the caps off to store the case. Cases need to be replaced once every three months, or sooner if build-up has begun to form.
Contact Lens Wearing Schedule
There are many options available today such as daily wear, extended wear and disposable contact lenses to suit each patient’s lifestyle. However, they all have certain guidelines that need to be followed to maintain eye health. Wearing lenses for longer than the recommended time periods may result in the development of an infection or potentially set the stage for long-term damage to the surface of the eye. Except in the case of specific extended wear lenses, contacts should never be worn overnight.
Do’s and Don’ts of Contact Lens Wear
Wearing contact lenses is easy and comfortable for most individuals, provided that they follow their doctor’s instructions and care for their lenses. To keep the eyes healthy as a regular contact lens wearer, follow a few basic rules.
- Attend follow-up appointments on a regular schedule with the eye doctor so that vision and eye health can be assessed
- Take contact lenses out each night a minimum of one hour before going to sleep to provide the cornea with increased oxygen circulation
- Keep contact lenses in overnight unless they are specifically meant for extended use
- Exceed the recommended time period for wearing contact lenses even if they are not causing any discomfort
- Wear contact lenses when eyes are painful, red or irritated at all. Remove the lenses, then clean and store them until the eyes are no longer experiencing these symptoms. If any uncomfortable symptoms return upon renewed use of the contact lenses, make an appointment for an office visit.
Contact Lens Use
Prior to putting contact lenses in, it is essential to thoroughly wash and dry your hands. Carefully remove a lens from the storage case and gently rinse it with solution. Then place the contact lens on the tip of your finger. While looking up, pull on the upper and lower eyelids to create extra space and place the lens on the lower portion of the eye. Close the eye briefly and the contact lens should settle right into place.
When removing contact lenses, the hands should once again be thoroughly washed and dried. Have the lens case prepared by filling each side with fresh solution. While looking up, pull on the upper and lower eyelids. Use a finger to move the lens downward, then gently pinch it to pluck the lens off the surface of the eye. In the palm of your hand, clean the contact lens using the physician-recommended solution and place it in the case.