The invention of the contact lens created a safe and comfortable way for people to experience clearer vision. Although the first modern contact lens was invented in 1936, the concept of an insertable lens actually dates back to 1508, when Leonardo da Vinci first theorized about the idea. These days, contact lenses come in multiple varieties and styles and are life-changing for many people. If you are a contact lens wearer, you know how wonderful it is to have an alternative to traditional glasses, which can be bulky or less comfortable. However, you also probably have experienced tearing the delicate lens, dropping one down the sink, or scratching your eye with contact lens debris. A few perils come with wearing life-changing yet delicate lenses, so handling them with care is essential. That’s why we have compiled a list of ways that you can preserve your lenses and protect your eyes:
Understand the type of lens you have:
Not every contact lens is created equal, and some are made to be worn for just one day. Be sure to understand how long you should wear your lenses so that you can follow the replacement schedule. Here are some of the types of contacts that are prescribed to patients:
Daily disposable: These types of contacts are intended to be worn for one day, and then disposed of. You don’t need to remember to replace them, because you have a new pair each day.
- 1-2 week disposable: These contacts require overnight soaking in the appropriate contact lens solution. After a week or two of use, you will replace them with a fresh pair.
- Monthly disposable: These are one of the most common types of contact lenses. They are meant to be replaced each month and must be stored in contact lens solution each night while you sleep.
- Overnight lenses: Typically, it is unsafe to wear contact lenses overnight. However, there are a few, more rare contact lenses that can be left in while you sleep. These can be worn for between one week and one month, but your eye care doctor will give you precise instructions.
Wearing your lenses too long or wearing ones that are damaged or dirty can create complications like infection, discomfort, scratches on the eye’s surface, and even painful conditions like giant papillary conjunctivitis (the inside of the eyelid becomes red and swollen with bumps).
Don’t share your lenses:
Never let someone else put your contacts in their eyes, or share contact solution with another person. You can spread infection or bacteria by sharing contacts or solution, and you risk damaging your vision. It’s also important to avoid using someone else’s contact solution if you forget your own. You can’t ever be certain that their storage or solution has been kept sterile or doesn’t contain bacteria or infection. Instead, we recommend using small travel-sized contact lens solutions available at the local dollar stores when you aren’t at home, because they can easily be tossed after your trip.
Choose the proper contact solution and storage:
It’s crucial to take good care of your lenses, no matter how long you will wear them. Aside from single-day or sleep lenses, most patients will need to store and clean their lenses each night. Remember to always start with clean hands that have been washed and dried. Gently rub your contact lenses with clean fingers and rinse them with solution. Never use saliva or tap/sterile water to wet your contacts. Each time you take your contacts out, be sure to fill the case with clean solution and never re-use the solution from the previous day. Lastly, ensure the tip of the contact solution bottle stays clean and away from other surfaces. Always secure the cap on it before storing. When it comes to the contact case, replace it every 3-6 months and always replace it immediately if it cracks or becomes damaged.
When to see a doctor about your contact lenses:
Using contact lenses is not as simple as just putting them in your eye. You must maintain your annual or recommended eye appointments so that your eye doctor can measure and fit your lenses to your eyes, and continually monitor any vision changes. It’s also good to see an eye care doctor if you are experiencing any of the following problems:
- Swollen or droopy eyelids
- Redness, pain, or itching
- Feeling the contact lens moving around when you blink
- Feeling roughness or bumps on the inside of your eyelid
- Blurry vision
- Discharge or excess mucus coming from the eye
- Extra sensitivity to light
One of the most common eye infections that arise from wearing contact lenses is keratitis: when the cornea becomes infected. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped “window” of the eye, and when it becomes infected, it can scar the surface. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to follow the important directions for your contact lens care. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms listed above, contact us here at Medical Eye Center so we can set you up with our caring and experienced providers.
Contact lenses are an amazing invention that have given the gift of clear sight to people around the world. If you are a contact lens wearer, remember that taking good care of your lenses is another way to care for your eyes. Your sight is precious. If you need more support with being fitted for lenses, making changes to your prescription, or are having challenges with your contacts, reach out to us today to schedule an appointment. We would love to help you maintain your vision and continue enjoying your contact lenses with comfort.