Most people wear contact lenses for their corrective function (e.g. for Short-sightedness, long-sightedness, or Astigmatism)- lenses works by refracting light rays into the retina- but the wearing of lenses for cosmetic purpose is becoming increasingly popular.
Most contact lenses require daily cleaning and disinfection to remove bacteria and deposits, such as protein and lipids, which can decrease visual sharpness, damage the lens and pose a risk to eye health. Whether you’ve been wearing contacts for years, or are about to use them for the first time, here are the safest ways to put in, remove, and care for your lenses.
How To Put In Contact Lens: Step-by-step Instructions
- First, wash and dry your hands. This will make sure you don't transfer dirt or bacteria into your eye, which can cause an infection.
- Open your contact lens case and use your fingertip to put the first contact lens in your non-dominant hand.
- Rinse the lens with a contact lens solution. Never use regular water.
- Put the lens on the top of the index or middle finger of your dominant hand.
- Check to make sure the lens isn’t damaged and that the correct side is facing up. The edges of the lens should turn up to form a bowl, not flip out. If it’s inside out, gently flip it. If the lens is damaged, don’t use it.
- While looking in the mirror, use your middle finger to pull down your lower eyelid and lashes.
- Place the contact onto the surface of your eye. The bottom edge of the contact should be the first part to touch your eye. It should do so on the white part of your eye just above where you have pulled your lower lid down.
- Press the contact onto the surface of your eye until you feel it stick. When you take your finger away, the contact should float on the surface of your eye. Blink to adjust it to the correct position. If it’s not comfortable, gently take out the lens, rinse it, and try again.
- Repeat the steps with second lens.
‘If you are inserting your contacts for the first time, your doctor may suggest that you wear them for only an hour the first day and then wear them for longer periods of time. This will give your eyes a chance to get used to them.’
Choosing Contact Lenses To Suit You
The most common type of hard lens is called a rigid gas permeable lens. These hard lenses allow oxygen to get to your cornea. They’re also more durable than soft lenses, so they last longer. Soft contact lenses are a more popular choice than hard lenses, though. On the downside, hard contact lenses are more likely to cause infections. They may also be less comfortable than soft lenses. Choosing between hard or soft contact lenses is often a personal preference, or there may be one option that suits your eyes better than the other. Regardless of which you choose you can put hard and soft contacts in the same way, following the steps outlined above.
Uncomfortable Contact Lenses – What You Can Do
If you’ve just started wearing contact lenses, know that they may feel slightly uncomfortable for the first few days. Contact lens discomfort can occur for a variety of reasons. In order for contact lenses to work the way they’re supposed to, it’s important to care for them properly.
If a lens feels scratchy, hurts, or irritates your eye after putting it in, follow these steps:
- First, don’t rub your eyes. This can damage your contact lens or increase the discomfort.
- Wash and dry your hands well. Then remove the lens and rinse it thoroughly with contact lens solution. This can get rid of any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the lens, making it feel uncomfortable.
- Inspect the lens carefully to make sure it’s not torn or damaged. If it is, discard the lens and use a new one. If you don’t have a spare, make sure to follow up with your eye doctor right away.
- If the lens isn’t damaged, carefully reinsert it into your eye once it’s been thoroughly rinsed and cleaned.
- If you feel uncomfortable again after following the above steps or you also have redness or burning, stop wearing your lenses and contact your doctor.
How To Take Out Contact Lens: Step-by-step Instructions
You've finally mastered putting in your contact lenses, but taking them out might be just as difficult, if not more so. Once you've removed them, it is also important to clean and store contacts properly to prevent infection. Knowing the correct process will allow you to remove your contact lenses quickly and safely.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them well.
- Look up and pull down your lower eyelid with your middle finger.
- Using your index finger, slide the lens down to the white of your eye.
- Pinch the lens between your fingers and remove it from your eye.
- After you remove the lens, put it in the palm of your hand and wet it with a contact solution. Gently rub it for about 30 seconds to remove any dirt and oil.
- Rinse each side of the lens for 10 seconds with a steady stream of the solution. Place lenses in case, tighten lids and wait overnight or at least six hours.
- Repeat the steps with the second lens.
How to Care for Contact Lenses
If you wear contact lenses it's essential to look after them to keep your eyes healthy and in good condition. How you care for your lenses will depend on what kind you use, but there are important principles of cleanliness and care that apply to all types of lenses. The easiest way to reduce your risk of eye infections and other complications is to care for your lenses properly.
Following are the full list of dos and don’ts to take care of your contact lenses:
- Check that the prescription on the lens packaging is correct, check your contact lens solution instructions before use
- Wash and dry your hands before handling your lenses or touching your eye
- Insert your lenses before applying eye make-up
- Return for all the aftercare visits recommended by your optician
- Stop wearing your lenses if your eyes become red or sore
- Throw away your lenses after the recommended period
- Clean your lens case regularly and allow it to air dry
- Replace your lens case regularly
- Replace the tops of solution bottles after use
- Use fresh solution to store your lenses
- Dispose of solution bottles after the recommended period
- Wearing your lenses longer than advised
- Ignore problems or discomfort with your lenses
- Handle your lenses with sharp nails as they can easily tear
- Using normal water to store, clean or rinse your contact lenses or case
- Use your lenses for swimming, hot tubs or water sports, unless wearing goggles
- Wear your lenses when showering unless you keep your eyes firmly closed
- Lick your lenses
- Sleep in your lenses (unless advised by your optician, as this can increase the risk of infection)
- Wear your lenses if you are using eye drops prescribed by your doctor
- Reuse the solutions of saline in your lens case
Symptoms of an Eye Infection
The symptoms of an eye infection can be variable, depending on the cause of infection. Most commonly, the symptoms include one or more of the following.
- Red eyes or watery eyes
- Discharge from the eyes
- Pain in the eyes
- Swelling around the eyes or in the eye
- Sensitivity to light or blurry vision
If you suspect you might have an eye infection, stop using your contacts and only wear glasses until you discuss the situation with your doctor.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that it’s important to clean and take care of your lenses so that the risk of eye infections is kept to a minimum. If you wear reusable lenses, you’ll need to stick to a cleaning routine to make sure that your eyes stay in tip-top condition.