How to use and care for contact lenses?
At Optyk Rozmus we know how tricky it can be for some people to touch their eyes, let alone insert something into them. The best way to increase your confidence and overcome this fear is for you to visit an optician or an eye doctor first. Once you've been shown what to do and how to do it and of course wear your first pair for a while, the fear of the unknown will fade and you'll wonder what you were so worried about. When done correctly contact lens use is safe and simple and for anyone.
Below you can see detailed guidelines for contact lens wear. We find this is most helpful for people who have had their eyes tested and a contact lens fitting but still don't feel 100% about the whole process. You can think of this guide as a set of reminders to keep you on track.
Inserting contact lenses
Follow the steps below to safely and easily insert your contact lenses.
- Start this procedure before applying makeup on your face to avoid contamination. It is important, especially if you use water-resistant cosmetics or makeup with glitter.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel or napkin (preferably, a lint-free one).
- Find a convenient place in your house to wear contact lenses for the first time - ideally somewhere where it will be easy to find them in case they fall (which is quite likely in the beginning).
- Place the first lens on the pad of your forefinger and make sure it is not inside out. You can determine this by checking that the edges of the lens are curling outwards. If they are curling out at the edge, its inside out. Some manufacturers have an inside out mark which makes this even easier to spot.
- Have a thorough look at the lens to check if it's damaged or dirty. If it's damaged, then its time to replace it. If it's dirty, try cleaning it with a contact lens solution and start again.
- When your lens is ready to be inserted and placed on your fingertip, try using the fingers of your free hand to gently open the eye as wide as possible.
- Place the lens directly on your iris and allow the lids to close or look up and away and place the lens on the sclera of your eye and then move it to the right position.
- Roll your eyes and blink slowly to help the lenses settle in.
If this procedure is followed carefully, your contact lenses should feel comfortable and your vision should be clear all day long.
Using contact lenses - your do's and don'ts
There are some rules and precautions you should employ during contact lens wear in order to keep them safe, clean and comfortable.
Minimize initial discomfort
It's good to start by wearing contact lenses for just a few hours at first, to let your eyes adjust to this new situation. Gradually you can wear your contacts for longer periods and that way the whole process should go smoothly and without any issues. Remember that a little discomfort at the beginning of using contacts is normal and your eyes will get used to the sensation after a while. However, if you feel eye irritation and noticeable discomfort after the adaptation period has passed, you should take your contacts out straight away and get in touch with your eye care practitioner.
Avoid lens overwear
Since problems often appear when contacts are worn for too long, always replace them on time. If you find that monthly contacts feel uncomfortable after a week of wear, think about improving your contact lens hygiene or perhaps consider switching to daily disposable lenses instead. Make sure to never sleep wearing contact lenses unless they are specifically meant for extended wear. Your cornea needs to receive an appropriate amount of oxygen to stay healthy and clear. Contact lenses cover the whole surface of the cornea, limiting the amount of air that reaches it. It is not a significant issue during the day, as modern contacts are highly permeable and we keep our eyes open most of the time. Also, when we blink and move our eyes, lenses move as well and let oxygen under them. At night, however, this does not happen and contact lenses reduce the already low amount of oxygen that is available to the cornea.
The consequences of sleeping in one's contact lenses could be severe. Studies have shown that the risk of developing an ocular infection increases by 25% and such infections are generally much more difficult to treat due to problems with the eye's immune system that occur as a result of overnight wear. What's more, if you sleep wearing your contact lenses, you will find it more difficult to take them out the following morning as they tend to stick to the cornea after being pressed onto it for hours. It is then quite easy to damage your cornea while attempting to remove the lens.
Only extended wear contact lenses, which are designed to be extremely gas permeable, can be worn overnight. If you lead an irregular lifestyle or often work night shifts, this type of lenses might be the right option for you.
If you find that your eyes feel dry while wearing contact lenses, stop using them and speak to your eye doctor about possible solutions. They might suggest switching to different brand of lenses, changing your lens care solution or administering lens friendly eye drops during the day to soothe your eyes. There are many re-wetting eye drops suitable for contact lens wearers that you can order from our store. It might be necessary for you to switch to daily disposable lenses as they are generally associated with a lower risk of dryness and eye discomfort.
Don't allow water contamination
One of the key precautions that need to be taken while wearing lenses is preventing them from getting in contact with water. This is slightly counter-intuitive, as many people switch from glasses to contact lenses in order to perform various sports, including swimming. If water gets into your eyes while wearing contact lenses, take them out immediately and bin them - water contamination carries a risk of a serious infection called acanthamoeba keratitis, which can have a catastrophic outcome. If you really need contact lenses for water sports, make sure to always wear swimming goggles while performing them and discard your contacts after each swimming session.
It should be needless to say that contact lenses and contact lens cases must never be shared between people as this is highly unsanitary and dramatically increases the risk of infection. Each eye has it's own microbial flora and sharing contact lenses or lens cases can cause an imbalance and contamination of that environment. So avoid using anyone else's contact lens products and make sure not to mix up your left and right eye lenses for the same reason.
How to take contact lenses out and maintain lens hygiene
Taking lenses out of your eyes is slightly easier than putting them in, but you always need to make sure to do it properly and carefully so as not to damage or contaminate them.
- Naturally the first step is to wash your hands.
- Rinse your lens case with fresh lens care solution and then fill it up.
- Wash and dry your hands with a clean towel.
- Try gently sliding the lens down and pinching it out of your eye with the pad of two fingers from one hand while holding your lower eyelid open with the other.
- Place the lens on the palm of your hand and squirt some solution onto it. Never use water or any other liquid to clean contact lenses - only contact lens cleaning solutions are designed for this purpose.
- Rub the lens with your finger on both sides assuring that it's been completely coated with the solution. (Some solutions don't require this - always follow the manufacturer's procedure).
- Rinse it with the solution again and finally place it in your cleaned and prepared contact lens case.
- Repeat this procedure with the second lens.
There are some things to remember while removing, cleaning and storing contact lenses and we will list them below:
- Make sure your hands are perfectly clean and dry before touching your eyes or the contact lens case.
- Your fingernails should be short and clean to avoid accidental damage of the lens or scratching your cornea.
- Always take your contacts out before removing your makeup or taking a shower. Lenses mustn't get into contact with water or cosmetics, especially oily makeup removers.
- Some people find it easier to remove contact lenses after applying eye drops into their eyes. Make sure to use only contact lens friendly drops recommended by your optician.
- Mark your contact lens case with a date when you first used the lenses - that way you will know how old they are and when to replace them with new ones.
- Even if you have the same prescription in both eyes, never mix your lenses up - stick to wearing the same lens on each eye every time. This will ensure that you do not spread deposits and microbes between your eyes. If your contact lens case doesn't already say it, you can write on it with a permanent pen to mark which lens is (L) left and (R) right.
- Store your contact lenses in contact lens solution for at least a few hours for them to get properly disinfected and cleaned. Each contact lens solution comes with a manual that says exactly how long the lens should sit in it for.
- Never mix old and new lens cleaning solution in your contact lens case, always discard the old one and rinse the case before filling it up with a new batch.
- Contact lens cases should be rinsed and left open to dry every day.
- Remember to regularly replace your contact lens case (ideally once a month) with a new one as an old lens case can often be a source of lens contamination.
To keep your contact lenses comfortable and safe at all times you must remember about your follow-up visits with your eye doctor. They are not only necessary for determining your eyes' condition but also they are a good opportunity for you to raise any potential issues regarding your contact lens use with your doctor. You might learn about new, better solutions to your particular eye problems that you wouldn't have otherwise.
If you experience any of the following:
- excessive tearing,
- blurred vision,
- excessive eye sensitivity
immediately take your contacts out and call your eye doctor. Never wait and never ignore problems.