What every contact lens wearer should know

Catherine McCarthy

Author

Catherine McCarthy

B.Optom(RAU)
M.C.Optom(UK)

This is a guide with useful and important information for Contact Lens Wearers. Let’s start from the beginning:

Inserting your contact lens:

  • Wash your hands with soap
  • Use your second finger to remove the lens from the contact lens container/case
  • Use your other hand to pick the lens off your finger
  • Dry your finger on a lint free towel
  • Place the contact lens the right way up like a bowl on the second finger again(The lens must not be tilted or folded)
  • Look in the mirror
  • Pull your lower eyelid down
  • Align the contact lens in front of your eye
  • Look upwards
  • Bring the contact lens forward to touch your eye
  • You may hear a “bubble-suction sound”
  • Once the lens has touched the eye ,remove your finger
  • Look down
  • The last thing you do is let go of your lower eyelid

Note: If you tend to blink a lot you may have to hold you upper eyelid to stop your eye from blinking. If this is the case your optometrist will guide you.

Removing your contact lens:

  • Wash your hands
  • Look in the mirror
  • Pull your lower eyelid down
  • Align your finger in front of your eye
  • Look upwards
  • Touch your eye with your finger and pull down the contact lens from the coloured part of the eye down to the white part
  • Pinch it out from the white part of the eye

Piece of advice: If you are battling to get the lens out, put in 2 drops of lubricating eye drops and try 5 minutes later.

Lens care & Hygiene

Regardless of the type of contact lens you decide on, proper care of the lenses is essential to eye health.

  • Before handling contact lenses, wash your hands with soap and water, then rinse and dry them with a lint-free towel.
  • Minimize contact with water, including removing lenses before going swimming or in a hot tub.
  • Contact lenses should not be rinsed with or stored in water (tap or sterile water).
  • Do not put your lenses in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not a sterile solution.
  • Do not use saline solution and rewetting drops to disinfect lenses. Neither is an effective or approved disinfectant.
  • Wear and replace contact lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your optometrists.
  • Follow the specific contact lens cleaning and storage guidelines from your optometrist and the solution manufacturer.
  • During cleaning, rub your contact lenses with your fingers, then rinse the lenses with solution before soaking them. This “rub and rinse” method is considered to be a superior method of cleaning, even if the solution you are using is a “no-rub” variety.
  • Rinse the contact lens case with fresh solution — not water. Then leave the empty case open to air dry.
  • Keep the contact lens case clean and replace it regularly, at least every three months. Lens cases can be a source of contamination and infection. Do not use cracked or damaged lens cases.

Did you know?

You can swim and bath with Daily disposable lenses. This is because you dispose of the lens on the same day before contamination can occur.

Handle your contact lens solution with care:

  • Do not re-use old solution or “top off” the solution in your lens case.
  • Do not transfer contact lens solution into smaller travel-size containers. This can affect the sterility of the solution, which can lead to an eye infection.
  • Do not allow the tip of the solution bottle to come in contact with any surface, and keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
  • If you store your lenses in the case for an extended period of time, consult the instructions for the lenses or the contact lens solution to determine if re-disinfecting the lenses is appropriate before you wear them. In no case should you wear your lenses after storage for 30 or more days without re-disinfecting.
  • Do not mix between different solutions. Use the solution recommended by your optometrist which is most suited to your brand of contact lens.
  • If you have been prescribed a Peroxide cleaning system such as Aosept please ensure instructions are followed and that you allow a minimum of 6 hours for the peroxide to be neatralised to saline. This makes sure that you do not burn your eye with Peroxide. This cleaning system is very good for people who have a deposit build up problem on their contacts and those who have issues with eye infections and allergies.

Piece of Advice: Your Optometrist may recommend that if you use contact lenses sporadically you consider using single-use daily disposable lenses.

Solutions Stocked Rosewall-McCarthy Optometrists

Eye Drops and Contact Lenses

Certain lubricating eye drops can be used to relief dryness and mild irritation due to contact lens wear especially in air conditioned, high altitude and windy conditions. Please use eye drops recommended by your optometrist. Examples of eye drops that can be used with contact lenses in the eye are Refresh, Cellufresh and Optive (There are many more which you can discuss with your optometrists).

Do not use Cortisone, antibiotic, antihistamine or Glaucoma eye drops with contacts.

It is also important not to use Contact Lens Disinfecting solution in your eye to relief dryness, it has a high concentration of preservative that keeps the solution sterile and kills bacteria, etc. and therefore it is harsh for direct use in the eye and can trigger a toxic reaction which results in an uncomfortable red eye.

Piece of advice: It is recommended not to fly with your contact lenses in your eyes. The high altitude makes the contacts dry out and uncomfortable. Rather wear your spectacles.

Eye Infections and Contact Lenses

Eye infections can lead to serious vision loss in some cases. Proper care of your eyes is just as important as proper lens care.

  • Remove the contact lenses and consult your optometrist immediately if you experience symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, discharge or swelling.
  • If you smoke, stop. Studies show that contact lens wearers who smoke have a higher rate of problems than nonsmokers.
  • Beware of using decorative lenses, such as those often sold at costume shops. These lenses have the potential to damage eyes permanently.
  • Get regular eye exams. If you wear contact lenses, you should be examined by an eye care provider annually, and more often as needed.
  • Do not self-medicate. Always seek your optometrist’s advice for any red or sore eye!

Can you build up an intolerance to contact lenses?

Yes. Over wear, not throwing away the contact lens at the prescribed time and poor cleaning of the lenses can lead to GPC (Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis) which is an allergic response to the contact lens. The symptoms are typically an itchy eye with mucus white discharge.You may find that the eye feels particularly scratchy when you take the lens out. This condition makes the underneath of the eye lid inflamed and produces bumps under the lid and that creates the scratchy sensation. Treatment is to cease contact lens wear, use an anti-histamine eye drop as prescribed by your optometrists and in some cases cortisone eye drops is necessary.

Bumps under the upper eyelid

Can you sleep with your contact Lenses?

Only if you have been fitted with a Sleep wear contact lens which are replaced every 30 Days. These contact lenses require several visit to your optometrists to assess if you are responding well to sleeping with these particular lenses. Only certain people are candidates for sleep wear contact lenses and it is important to know that the risk of eye infections and lens discomfort increases. The majority of contact lenses are not suitable to sleep in and can actually cause permanent eye damage and vison loss.

Visit your Optometrist Regularly

As with any prescription, contact lens prescriptions do expire — typically within one year. You should see your Optometrist yearly to ensure they continue to have an accurate and appropriate prescription. These regular exams are also important opportunities for reinforcing proper lens care ensuring that the eye is receiving sufficient oxygen and it is an opportunity for your optometrists to upgrade you to a newer healthier lens option or better contact lens cleaning solution.

CATHERINE ROSEWALL-MCCARTHY

B.Optom(RAU) M.C.Optom(UK)

What every contact lens wearer should know

If you have further questions about this topic, or feel that you need to discuss your personal situation with a professional optometrist, please contact us so we can assist you further.

LARA JOSEPH

B.Optom(RAU)