Soft contact lenses are a wonderful thing to have in this day and age. When contacts first came out, they were hard, uncomfortable, expensive, and difficult to take care of. Advances in eye wear technology have brought contact lenses a long way.
There are now brands that offer lenses in a wide array of colours. There are lenses available for those with astigmatism, and there are even contacts with bifocals for those who need them to read.
No matter what kind of contact lenses you might wear, there are a few things you need to know about how to properly care for them. Doing so will keep you seeing well and protect the health of your eyes.
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How to clean contact lenses properly
There are many cleaning solutions on the market today. Your eye doctor will most likely recommend a certain brand depending on which contacts you wear. It’s important to follow the recommendations and directions of your eye care professional. They are trained to know how to prevent eye infections and diseases, which can be easily acquired through the wear of contact lenses.
Most contact lens cleansers are a ‘no rub’ solution. In the old days, you would need to thoroughly rub your lenses on the palm of your hand, rinse them, and soak them in solution for at least 6 hours overnight. Now, you can pop them into the storage case with some solution and rinse them off thoroughly before putting them on the next day.
Try not to rinse your contact lenses with plain tap water. In a pinch it will do. For instance, you may get a speck of dirt in your eye while out of the house. If you need to remove your contacts in this situation, water will work. However, regular water can harbour bacteria that can cause infection and irritation in your eyes.
How long should contact lenses be worn?
Your eye care professional will let you know the proper length of time to wear your particular brand of contacts. Some are designed for daily use, meaning they are disposed of at the end of the day. Others can last up to a month if they are not worn overnight while sleeping. It is never recommended to wear contact lenses all night as they should spend at least 6 hours a day soaking in cleaning solution to remove protein buildup.
Typically, contact lenses are worn for two weeks at a time. By then, they have lost their ability to retain the proper shape and stay fitted against your eye. In addition, they lose their comfort after so many days of buildup and cleaning. You also need to change out the lenses often so that you don’t expose your eyes to certain bacteria. The cleaning solutions may not remove everything from your lenses, and the longer you wear them, the more you put your eyes at risk for disease.
Besides wearing your lenses for the proper length of time, you need to be concerned with just plain wearing them properly. Never wear someone else’s lenses, even if they come from an unopened package. Your prescription is unique to you. Also, most lenses now come with a “marker” on them, which when held up to the light will help you determine if your contacts are inside out. Hold your lens up to the light before inserting them to ensure you are putting them in correctly.
Take care of yourself to avoid eye problems
There is more to wearing contacts than taking care of the lenses themselves. It is also very important that you take care of yourself in order to protect your eyes and their health. Eye care professionals can give you tips and ideas on how to maintain proper eye health, but if you are wearing contacts there are a couple basics to know.
If you have worn contacts for some time, you may have noticed that when your eyes are dry it is harder to see. Vision is blurry and the contacts become uncomfortable. Chronic dry eyes is a problem for many people, and ideally you should be wearing glasses instead of contacts. However, if you are having this problem and are wearing contacts, the number one thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drink more water than usual, especially in the warmer months.
Keeping moisturising drops with you at all times also helps when your eyes get dry. However, if you are dehydrated, those drops will only work for so long. For very chronic cases, some doctors will recommend a daily supplement of flax seed oil or fish oil. A small amount will go a long way in keeping your bodily fluids replenished, including the tears in your eyes. Proper hydration will protect your eye health, protect the life of your contact lenses, and make your vision through them clearer than you imagined.