Since their arrival on the market, we can say that contact lenses have made life much easier for people with sight problems. A nod to the myopic, presbyopic, and other astigmatic people who have trouble with their glasses with this COVID-19 epidemic and the wearing of a mandatory mask (fog, we know, is far from pleasant). So, how to take care of your contact lenses.
What are the right things to do to handle and maintain your lenses?
Practical, comfortable, and aesthetic, this new vision correction device is also easy to put on (after a few awkward tries) and can correct all visual defects. But above all, the lenses are suitable for the practice of many sports (including tennis and badminton).
But, if contact lenses are real alternatives to traditional glasses, they require more precaution and attention in their handling and maintenance. Your eyesight is precious, don’t neglect your contact lenses!
tips for properly handling and caring for your contact lenses
First of all, let’s make a small point. There are two models of contact lenses: those that are daily and those that are monthly. The advice we are going to discuss concerns contact lenses.
The numbers speak for themselves: 40-90% of people who wear contact lenses do not handle them correctly, largely due to ignorance. And the vast majority of contact carriers sleep through the night. Worse, they clean their lenses with tap water or saliva.
How to care for contact lenses
With these few tips, you will have no more excuses for not taking care of your contact glasses. After all, they are well worth it.
1. Use clean care solution to clean and disinfect
For starters, avoid rinsing your lenses with water or saline solution. Instead, use the multi-purpose maintenance solution intended for this purpose. This gesture must be carried out daily in accordance with the instructions on the label (even if the instructions indicate the mention “without rubbing”, do it anyway, but delicately to properly disinfect your lenses).
To clean your lenses:
- Take the first lens and place it between the palms of your hands.
- Apply a few drops of a maintenance solution.
- Gently rub each side with your finger back and forth for 10-20 seconds.
- Finally, gently rinse both sides with the solution for about 5 seconds.
- Take the second lens and do the same, taking the same precautions.
If, for some reason, you know you can’t do it (you’re on a business trip, on vacation or sleeping with friends), it’s best not to wear your lenses and take your glasses back.
Please note the contact lens care product has an expiry date. To keep your eyes healthy, do not use it beyond the date indicated. Either way, you should replace your cleaning solution after 3 months of use.
Likewise, use a fresh solution each time you clean and disinfect your lenses. Of course, if your contact lenses are disposable or daily, as they say, this advice does not apply to you.
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2. Adopt gentle and delicate gestures
When handling your lenses, do not pinch them, be gentle. Quite simply because these are fragile, and at the slightest sudden movement, they can tear or crack. So when you take out your contact lenses, use the pads of your fingers. Above all, make sure that they are not in contact with your fingers or a ring, otherwise, scratches are guaranteed.
Moreover, if you wear contact lenses, it is safer not to have too long nails. A minute of inattention is enough for your lenses to be torn. If, despite all precautions, your contact lenses tear or scratch, there is no other solution, you must throw them away immediately.
3. Follow the instructions for use
Well-cared-for contact lenses are hygienic contact lenses.
- Do not wear your contact lenses for more than 12 hours at a time, unless specifically prescribed.
- Take them off when you sleep. If you ever forgot to do so, wait an hour after waking up before taking them off.
- Renew them every month, keeping the same brand, otherwise talk to your ophthalmologist before changing brands. If they are daily models, change them every day (well yes, that makes sense!).
- Do not wear them past the expiration date.
- Swap your contact lenses for your glasses once in a while to let your eyes rest and breathe.
- In case of exposure to irritating vapors, remove your contact lenses immediately.
- Close the lens solution bottle after each use, and store it in a clean place, away from light and humidity.
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4. Keeping your contact lenses: the golden rules
- Before putting your contact lenses in and taking them out, wash your hands with a neutral pH soap to avoid getting your lenses dirty and contaminating them with all kinds of microbes and germs. Then, dry your hands with a clean towel.
- Be aware that most eye irritations, swellings, and other eye infections are the result of poor hygiene when handling contact lenses. If this happens, consult your ophthalmologist quickly.
- Similarly, in case of discomfort or abnormal sensation, or if your eyes sting or become red, immediately remove your contact lenses and put on your corrective glasses.
- Be aware that hand washing is systematic each time you put in or take out your contact lenses.
- In addition, the make-up is done after the lens insertion and the make-up removal after the lens removal.
5. The essential stage of the lens case
Once you have removed your contact lenses, clean them with the solution before storing them in their case. Be aware, just like your lenses, the case also needs special maintenance with a multi-purpose cleaning solution (especially not tap water).
Concretely, every evening, rub the interior with a clean maintenance solution and fill it to the brim with a disinfectant solution that has not yet been used. Then put your cleaned contact lenses inside. In the morning, empty the case, and rinse it with a new disinfectant solution.
Then let it air dry, upside down on a clean tissue or paper towel, and in a dry, clean place during the day to prevent dust and dirt from settling on it.
For your information, the contact lenses case must be renewed regularly, at most every three months.
When you are not wearing your contact lenses, refer to the instructions on the package insert for your solution to find out how long to soak the lenses in the solution and how often to change the solution.
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Bonus tips for taking good care of your contact lenses
- Be careful, do not wear your contact lenses in the water. If you bathe in a swimming pool or in the sea, or when you take a shower, remove them by taking the necessary precautions. The reason is that the water contains lots of bacteria and microbes. Thus, the risk of infections is higher.
- Also, never lend your contact lenses (don’t borrow someone else’s lenses either). It is a vision correction device, and has been specifically recommended by your ophthalmologist. Also, contact lenses retain tears, and these can retain certain germs that can be transmitted.
- Even if you rinse them properly before each use, it may not be enough to prevent transmission infections. Moreover, even if the wearing of contact lenses is compatible with the practice of a sports activity.
- Last but not least, see your eye doctor at least once a year, so they can adjust your lenses to your new settings. This has nothing to do with the handling and care of your contact glasses, but it is a useful tip for maintaining the health of your eyes.
These tips allow you to have good vision and optimize the life of your contact lenses. Of course, they do not replace the opinion of your ophthalmologist.
If in doubt, do not hesitate to contact him, as he remains your best source of information for the handling and care of your contact lenses. Indeed, he knows you, and he is the best to provide personalized advice. You can also get in contact with JLR Eye Hospital. It’s a reputed hospital, provides you affordable eye consultations and treatments.
Likewise, always take the time to carefully read the instructions on your case and your cleaning solution before using them. This will prevent you from damaging them.
Animesh Rai is a postgraduate in health and hospital management from the Indian Institute of Health Management Research, currently working as a Deputy Administrator at the Association for the Prevention of Blindness, a non-profit society, operating a 200-bedded JL Rohatgi Memorial Eye Hospital.