If you are new to contacts or have developed bad habits in caring for your lenses you may find your eyes are often dry and irritated when wearing them.
Properly caring for your lenses is important for protecting your vision and ensuring your contacts are comfortable to wear. See if you’ve been making these mistakes that could be ruining your contacts and possibly harming your eyes.
Why Cleaning with Water is Not a Good Idea
Your eyes are very sensitive and can easily become infected when you do not clean your lenses properly. The lens develops a build up of protein and lipid deposits that can irritate the eye. Lens cleaning solutions break down the deposits and disinfect the lens.
Water, saliva, and homemade saline solutions can contain micro-organisms, chlorine and other minerals that can damage the lens and harm your eyes.
Unless you are wearing daily disposable lenses, you must clean your contacts after every wear. Use an appropriate lens case for storage and clean the case and allow to air dry between uses.
Never spit on your lenses to re-wet them before putting them in (yuck)! Always use contact lens solution to clean or soak them, or use re-wetting drops if you’ve got dry eyes after being at the computer awhile.
Only Wear Contacts for the Recommended Amount of Time
All contacts have a replacement and a wear schedule. Some contacts, called dailies, are meant to be thrown out after one day of wear. Freshlook one-day are the only colored daily disposable lenses.
Others lenses can be worn for a week or a month before replacement. Acuvue 2 Colors and Focus Monthly SoftColors are good examples. Most lenses require removal and cleaning every day.
However some lenses can be worn both day and night but for a shorter period before replacement. For example, Acuvue 2 Colors can be worn and removed daily for up to two weeks OR worn continuously for up to seven days/six nights, as directed by an eye doctor.
It is important to know the schedule your contacts are intended for to prevent problems with your eyes.
Handle with Care
When you remove or insert your contacts be sure to handle them with clean, dry hands. Avoid washing your hands with soaps containing perfumes or oils and don’t allow sunscreen, hand cream or nail polish remover to come in contact with them.
If your eyes are dry and irritated you can also use re-wetting drops to remoisten your contacts while wearing them rather than trying to take them out. In fact, if your eyes do feel dry and the contact is sticking try to remoisten your contacts before attempting to remove them.
If you wear makeup you should insert the contacts before applying cosmetics and remove them before washing cosmetics off. Powders and sprays can irritate contact lens wearers so be careful when applying powdery shadows or hair spray when wearing contact lens. If irritation occurs DO NOT rub your eyes; remove lenses first and clean them in the cleaning solution before wearing again.
Your vision is invaluable so take care to protect it from harm. If you do think you’ve injured or infected your eye, do not wear your contacts until you have been seen by an eye care specialist.
Please note: contact lenses, even if worn for cosmetic reasons, are medical devices that should be worn under the prescription, direction, and supervision of an eye care professional.