10 Things Your Contacts Wish You Knew About Contact Lens Care
If your contact lenses could talk, they’d have so much to tell you! They might do a little bragging about how low-maintenance and comfortable they are!
Then, they’d lecture you about forgetting them! When it comes to contact lens care, here are 10 important things your contacts really wish you knew.
1. Cleaning is Important
To have the best possible vision and the healthiest eyes, you must keep your contact lenses clean. This means that you will need multipurpose solution. This type of solution cleans and disinfects your contacts, unlike saline solution. Don’t get the two confused.
Saline solution only does part of the job. Sure, it can rinse away debris, but it does nothing to get rid of bacteria that cause infections. The only time you should use saline solution is when you use a disinfecting method with heat or UV.
A few tips for cleaning your contacts include:
- Only clean one contact at a time.
- Gently rub your contacts with a multipurpose solution even if you buy the “no-rub” kind because it gets your lenses cleaner.
- If you use peroxide, neutralize your contacts before popping them into your eyes to avoid irritation.
- The best way to disinfect your contacts is to let them soak overnight in a multipurpose solution.
- Never use water on your contact lenses. By all means, never put them in your mouth because both contain bacteria that should not be in your eyes.
Does this sound like too much work? That’s okay. You can forget the whole process and start wearing daily disposable contact lenses. Instead of cleaning, throw your lenses away at night and put in a new pair in the morning.
2. Follow Your Contact Lens Care Schedule
If you don’t follow your contact lens replacement schedule, then you should start right away. Neglecting to replace your contacts on time causes blurred vision and makes your eyes uncomfortable.
Of course, each type of lens has its own schedule, so yours could be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. The point is to know what you have and follow it!
A good way to be sure you have your new contacts when you need them is to order them online. This saves a trip to the store.
Remember, don’t try to save money by wearing your lenses longer than recommended. Your eyes will thank you.
3. Don’t Sleep With Contacts in Your Eyes
Even if you’re tired, never go to bed with your contacts still on. Your contacts and eyes need their nightly rest, too. That's because your eyes get more oxygen without the lenses, which keeps them healthy.
Waking up after sleeping in your contacts is no picnic. Your eyes feel dry, and you can hardly see. Plus, you put yourself at risk of getting a corneal infection.
The only time you should sleep in contacts is if you have FDA-approved extended-wear lenses. Some are even approved for 30 days. Nonetheless, these contacts are not right for everyone. And the FDA suggests that you take them out one night a week to clean and disinfect them.
4. Clean Your Contact Case
Don’t go to all that work to clean your hands and your contacts only to put them into a dirty case!
If you don’t empty your case and let it dry out, the moisture will breed bacteria. And that bacteria can get into your eyes, causing infections.
Here’s what to do to avoid grimy contact lens cases:
- Use a contact case that does not have a lot of grooves for germs to hide in.
- Replace your case quarterly.
- Always dump out the used solution after use.
- Use fresh solution to clean your case.
- Wipe it out with a clean finger and then rinse again.
- Let the case air dry.
5. Water is for Drinking, Not for Contacts
Water is needed for life, but why not for contacts? Because water has germs. Even bottled water is unsafe for contacts. Germs in water can lead to:
- Eye irritation
- Infections like acanthamoeba keratitis, which could result in blindness
- Corneal Ulcers
Believe it or not, you should try to keep shower water out of your eyes, too. And don’t forget pools, hot tubs, oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Your contacts love to soak up moisture. They just happen to get the bacteria in the moisture as well. So, don’t swim in your contact lenses.
If you do get water in your eyes, take your contacts out immediately. Then clean and disinfect them for 24 hours. Better yet, replace them with new ones.
6. Stop Touching Your Eyes
Your contacts know you love them. There is no need to touch them throughout the day to prove it. In fact, it is best to keep your hands away from your eyes once your contacts are in.
For those with allergies or dry eyes from looking at a digital screen, this may be difficult. The natural tendency is to rub dry, tired eyes. But, this makes the problems worse. Why? Because when rubbing your eyes, you can:
- Lose your contacts
- Damage your contacts
- Spread bacteria and other microorganisms that lead to infection
- Make your allergy symptoms worse
- Cause a corneal abrasion
If you really need to touch your eye, be sure to wash your hands well first.
7. Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
If you want to keep your eyes healthy, then visit your eye doctor every year for an eye exam. First, they will check on the health of your eyes. If they find something amiss, they can start treating your eyes right away.
Next, they will conduct a contact fitting. This gives you the matching prescription and lenses that fit you right.
Of course, even if you buy the right prescription, you may not like the contact lenses. Sometimes, you have to try a few different brands and styles to find those that feel most comfortable to you. Be sure to tell your eye doctor if you are having trouble with the lenses prescribed.
8. There’s More to Clear Vision Than Your Prescription
Having the right prescription is crucial to seeing well. Still, there are other things that you can do to help your contacts out.
- Blink often: When you work on a digital screen for long periods of time, you don’t blink as often as you should. Blinking moistens your eyes and helps keep contact lenses clean. Not enough blinking causes contacts to dry out. Then, you won’t see as well.
- Take breaks: Those on the computer need to rest their eyes every so often. Definitely, follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means that every 20 minutes you need to look away from the digital screen for 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away. This will reduce digital eye strain which often causes blurry vision.
- Be careful with aerosol: Always keep your eyes closed when using spray aerosols. These substances leave a film on your contacts that is difficult to remove. An even better idea is to do all your prep work before putting your contacts in. That will keep them away from all those chemicals and water.
- Watch how you use oily products. If you want to use an oily product, such as lotion, do it after your contacts are in your eyes. If you’ve used an oily product before putting in your contacts, be sure to wash your hands with oil-free soap. Otherwise, oil will get on the surface of your contacts and create a film.
- Contacts before makeup: Put your contacts in before you put your makeup on. When removing makeup, take out your contacts first. This keeps makeup from sticking to your contact lenses. Consider buying high-end eyelid primer to keep your eyeshadow in place. Only use waterproof mascara. Don’t use fake eyelashes, and when possible, buy hypoallergenic makeup. It might be a change for you but your contacts will thank you. If you’d rather not limit your makeup use, consider using daily disposable contact lenses.
9. Use Eye Protection
Protect your contacts when playing sports. Otherwise, you might lose a lens while playing. You can either wear goggles or bring along extra contacts.
When using power tools or engaged in fast-paced sports like biking or skiing, always wear safety goggles. This keeps debris from flying into your eyes.
Finally, protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. You should wear sunglasses during daylight hours even if it is cloudy. Make sure your sunglasses have 100% of UV rays block.
10. Think About Your Contact Lens Care Brands
Not all contact lens care brands are the same. Some contain ingredients that may irritate your eyes with allergy-like symptoms.
If you have trouble with red, swollen, or irritated eyes, consider changing to a different contact solution. If this doesn’t help, contact your doctor. They will have suggestions to help you find the right brand for your eyes.
We’ve shared what your contacts wished you knew about contact lens care. Listen carefully to these recommendations! This way you can keep your contacts and eyes happy and healthy!