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In our article last month, “Getting Started with Soft Contact Lenses,” we talked about the different soft contact lens options available. In this issue, we talk about proper handling and wearing habits that will ensure safe and comfortable contact lens wear. It is important to remember that while contact lenses present risks if used incorrectly, with the guidance of your optometrist, as well as proper handling and wearing habits, contact lenses are a safe and effective option for vision correction, used by millions of people worldwide.
HANDLING & INSERTION:
- DO: Wash your hands carefully with mild soap, making sure to rinse completely. Use a lint-free towel to dry your hands before handling your lenses. Avoid using oily cosmetics and hand sanitizers before handling your lenses as these products can contaminate the lens and get into your eyes upon insertion.
- DO: Inspect the contact lens before inserting it into your eye. Make sure it is moist, clean, and does not have any tears or warped edges.
- DO: Keep it clean. If the lens falls into the sink or onto the bathroom countertop, it must be thoroughly rinsed with contact lens cleaning solution before insertion.
- DO NOT: Insert a contact lens if it appears to be torn, ripped, or broken in any way.
- DO NOT: Attempt to rehydrate and wear a contact lens that has completely dried out inside its case.
- DO NOT: Use a lens if the seal of the sterile blister package has been opened or damaged.
- DO: Take your lenses out right away if you notice problems like discomfort, blurry vision, or redness. These are potential signs of contact lens complications which may have unwanted consequences for your eye’s health and vision. If problems occur, stop wearing your contact lenses and see your optometrist as soon as possible.
- DO NOT: Wear the lenses longer than your eye doctor’s prescribed wearing schedule.
- DO NOT: Sleep in your lenses without your optometrist’s approval. This includes short periods such as naps.
- DO NOT: Expose the lenses to tap water. This includes rinsing the lenses with water, storing them in water or showering with the lenses.
- DO NOT: Swim with your contact lenses. This includes swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
- DO NOT: Wear anyone else’s contact lenses or allow anyone else to wear your contact lenses.
REMOVING, CLEANING & STORING:
- DO: Thoroughly wash your hands before removing your lenses.
- DO: Use only contact lens solution that has been approved by your optometrist.
- DO: Keep the cap of your contact lens cleaning solution closed when not in use.
- DO: Use a case that has labels for the right and left side to avoid confusing the lenses.
- DO NOT: Touch the tip of solution bottles as this can contaminate the sterile solution.
- DO NOT: Skip rubbing the lenses if your cleaning solution requires it.
Remember that contact lens wearers should visit their optometrist at least once every year to be monitored for changes in their vision and to check on the health of their eyes.