What are the best ways to look after contact lenses?
Contact lenses are a popular form of corrective eyewear that can have a huge impact on daily life through vision correction. This makes it essential to look after them so you can optimise their lifetime, usefulness and safety.
What are the basics of contact lens cleaning?
Always start with clean hands. If you transfer dirt or germs from your hands to the lenses then it can lead to irritation or infections in the eye. Remember to avoid handling your contact lens after applying moisturiser as well, as some soaps can be damaging. Use a clear, lint-free towel to dry your hands.Always follow the instructions given to you by your optometrist in terms of what cleaning products you use on the lenses. Some products can only be used with certain cleaning and rinsing agents, so it's important to stick to the guidelines. Also remember not to use tap water to clean contact lenses.Cleaning the lens removes any build-up from the eye, which should be followed with a rinse to loosen the debris. This often involves 'rubbing' the lenses, depending on the product. Your optometrist will show you how to do this if your lenses require it.After this, you will place the lens in the case or holder with a fresh batch of the approved solution to disinfect the lens. The time this takes varies depending on the solution, so be sure to follow any instructions on the pack. It's important to use fresh solution in this stage, rather than topping up an old one.
How do I correctly store my contact lenses?
Storing your contact lenses correctly will help to keep them clean and in effect, avoid any eye infections or problems when you put them in again.Start by ensuring your case is completely clean, and leave it open to dry properly after you've used it every day. You should look to replace this case every one to three months, as this can often be an area that becomes dirty and causes infections even when your cleaning routine of the lens itself is sound.Clean the case on a weekly basis with a clean toothbrush and your contact lens solution.
How can I look after my contact lenses during wear?
You can also take steps to ensure your contact lenses are well cared for during wear. A large part of this is looking after your eye health, as this goes hand in hand with proper lens care.Regular eye exams are important because contact lenses do come with an expiry date. Speak to your optometrist every year to ensure you have an accurate and appropriate prescription. This is also a good time to bring up any questions or issues. Studies have also shown that those who wear contact lenses and smoke have a higher rate of problems with their contact lenses than non-smokers. This could mean that giving up might help your eyes and contact lenses, as well as your overall health.Also remember that some situations are not suited to contact lens wear. This includes watersports where the contact lens could come out in the water or attract an infection. If you notice any discomfort or irritation during wear, it's important to remove the contact lens. It could be that dust or dirt has become lodged behind the lens and it needs to be cleaned, or the lens may have been damaged. If you notice it is still irritating you once you follow the correct procedure to clean and disinfect the lens, you may need to speak to your optometrist about other possible causes of the discomfort.