Whether you’re excited to trade in your eyeglasses, or contacts were your first choice after you learned you need corrective lenses, you’re going to love wearing contacts. At first, many of our patients at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center are worried about inserting their new contact lenses. Then they’re surprised to learn that it’s easy to do with a little practice, and lenses are truly comfortable once they’re in place.
Despite the many benefits of contact lenses, they require special care to ensure your eyes stay healthy. Here are six top eye safety tips for new contact lens wearers.
Cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness
The most important safety tip is cleanliness. Cleanliness applies to the contacts, the solutions you use with your contacts, and your hands when inserting the lenses.
Cleanliness is essential because bacteria, fungi, dirt, and other infection-causing substances can accumulate on your contacts. As a result, you’re at risk of developing a serious eye infection; a risk you can significantly reduce with cleanliness.
These are the key tips for contact lens cleanliness:
- Wash your hands before handling your contacts
- Clean your lenses every time you remove them
- Always use fresh cleaning solution; don’t top off the solution in the case
- Clean and rinse your storage case using fresh cleaning solution
- Throw away and replace your storage case every three months
- Always keep the lid on the cleaning solution
You should also throw away your container of cleaning solution after one month, even if there’s solution left.
Don’t ignore messages from your eyes
Pay attention to how your eyes feel after you insert your lenses. You should not feel the lenses after you’ve placed them on your eyes. If you do, something is wrong. You may have an eyelash or dust caught under one of the lenses, you could have the right eye lens in the left eye, or the lenses may be inside out.
As you go through the day, don’t ignore symptoms from your eyes, especially if they feel dry or turn red. These problems are usually easy to treat, but they can lead to serious eye problems if they persist.
Protect your contact lenses from the environment
Beware of exposing your eyes to:
- Aerosol products
- Chemicals in pool water
- Salt and other contaminants in ocean water
All these substances can get under your contact lenses and irritate or infect your eyes. You can prevent problems by wearing protective glasses or goggles. In some cases, such as when you are near someone spraying an air freshener, you can temporarily leave the area or close your eyes.
If your contacts have been exposed to any irritant, take them out and thoroughly clean them.
Wear contacts only for the recommended time
Contacts are made to be worn for a specific amount of time. You may need to take them out daily, or you might have extended-wear contacts. No matter which type you have, it’s important to follow the time guidelines.
Contact lenses are made from different materials that allow varying amounts of oxygen to get into your eyes. If you wear them longer than the recommended time, your contacts don’t allow your eyes to get the oxygen they need to stay healthy.
Replace your contacts when required
If you have daily disposable lenses, you already know to toss them at the end of the day. Other types of lenses should also be discarded after a certain period. Even when you diligently clean your lenses, deposits build up over time, reducing the oxygen supply to your cornea or leading to an infection. We let you know how often you should replace your brand of contacts.
Stop wearing your contacts when your eyes are irritated
Any time your eyes become red or irritated, stop wearing your contacts and switch back to your eyeglasses for a short time. Call to talk with us about your eyes or schedule an appointment so we can be sure your eyes are healthy and let you know when it’s safe to use your contacts again. You can also book an appointment through our online system.