Get the Most Out of Your Contact Lenses
Even with a contact lens exam and fitting, your actual contact lenses can only go so far. Without proper care, you can experience issues like irritation, dry eye, and even eye infections. Thankfully, there are some simple rules you can follow to make sure your contact lenses are safe and comfortable.
Inserting & Removing Your Contacts
If it’s your first time wearing contact lenses, someone at your optometrist’s office would be happy to show you how to insert and remove your contacts properly.
How to Insert Contact Lenses
Even if you’ve worn contact lenses before, it never hurts to brush up on your skills. Most importantly, make sure you always wash your hands before inserting or removing contact lenses.
After washing your hands, here are the step you follow to insert your contact lenses:
- Place your contact lens on the tip of your index finger of your dominant hand
- Using your non-dominant hand, gently hold your eyelid open to expose the whites of your eye
- Look straight forward and place the contact lens onto the centre of your eye
- You should feel the contact fall into place; then you can remove your finger and repeat with the other eye
It’s also a good idea to put your contacts in as the first step of your morning routine. That way, if your contacts fall onto your face, they won’t become covered in oils or other skincare products. If your contacts do fall, make sure you rinse them with contact lens solution to remove any debris that could irritate your eyes throughout the day.
How to Remove Contact Lenses
Again, make sure you wash your hand thoroughly before handling your contacts. Then:
- Use your non-dominant hand to stretch your eyelid open
- Using your dominant hand, gently pinch the contact lens from the edges with your index finger and thumb
- The contact should lift from your eye, and then you can place it into your contact lens case and solution
Cleaning & Storing Your Contacts
Leave new contact lenses in the package unopened until you’re ready to wear them. If the packaging is damaged or broken, don’t use these contact lenses.
Once your new contacts are out of the packaging, store them in contact lens solution whenever you’re not wearing them (which should be every night, because it’s never a good idea to sleep in contact lenses!)
Contact Lens Solution
Contact lens solution is sterile, which makes it great for keeping your contact lenses clean. Never use anything other than contact lens solution, including water, to store or clean your contacts.
But most importantly, make sure you replace your contact lens solution every night. Otherwise, you create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, which could lead to an eye infection.
Other contact lens solution tips:
- To keep the solution sanitary, never touch the tip of the bottle to anything and keep the bottle tightly closed when you’re not using it
- Make sure the solution is made for contact lenses
- Never use expired solution
- Read & follow the instructions on the container (for example, some solutions cannot be mixed together)
Contact Lens Case
Proper contact lens solution only works when it’s paired with the proper contact lens case. Keep your contact lens case clean by rinsing it with contact lens solution and letting it air dry (don’t use water and don’t dry it with a towel).
Make sure you’re replacing your case regularly, too. Contact lens cases should be replaced at least every 3 months, or immediately if they become cracked or damaged.
When to Replace Your Contact Lenses
How often you need to replace your contacts will depend on the type of contacts you have. Because it can vary, always follow instructions from your optometrist and the instructions on the contact lens packaging.
For example, if you wear daily contact lenses, they need to be replaced daily. The same goes for bi-weekly and monthly contact lenses. Never wear your contacts for more than the recommended time frame.
It’s also worth noting that all contact lenses have an expiry date. Even if the contacts are unopened, never use contacts past their expiry date.
Finally, you should stop wearing your contacts immediately if you have an eye infection, like pink eye. Throw those contacts away and only start wearing a new pair once your eyes have healed.
Other Contact Lens Tips
- When washing your hands before touching your contacts, use unscented soap and a lint-free towel
- Always use your fingertips to handle contacts (never fingernails or tweezers)
- Always check to make sure your contact lenses are moist, clean, and undamaged before inserting them into your eyes
- If you do notice any debris, a quick rinse with contact lens solution will make them a lot more comfortable
For any other contact lens questions or issues, it’s always a good idea to ask your optometrist. Your optometrist will be able to make sure you’re caring for your contacts properly, or they might be able to recommend a type of contact lens that will work better for you.