How to be Safe with Your Contact Lenses
Follow these guidelines for good care to extend the life of your contact lenses, and protect the safety and health of your eyes.
- Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before handling contact lenses or before touching your eyes. Any residue from lotions, soaps, or chemicals may stick to the contact lens, causing pain, irritation, or blurred vision when they are in the eyes. Dry hands with a clean towel.
- Wear contact lenses as prescribed. Your eye doctor will recommend a wearing schedule specific to the type of contact lens you have selected. Only wear contact lenses for the time recommended.
- Clean and disinfect contact lenses as prescribed (in a clean case in fresh solution). Different types of contact lenses require special care and certain types of products. Always use the eye care products recommended by your eye doctor. Some eye products or eye drops are not safe for contact lens wearers.
- Clean your contact lens case after each use with either sterile solution or hot tap water and let air dry.
- Never use plain water directly on contact lenses, and never put contact lenses in your mouth to "rinse" them. Microorganisms can live in even distilled water, causing infection or sight damage.
- Clean your contact lens by rubbing it gently with your index finger in the palm of your hand. The newest "No Rub" solutions allow you to rinse your contact lenses without rubbing.
- If you develop any eye irritation, remove your contact lenses and discontinue use until you talk with your eye doctor. Wearing a contaminated pair of contact lenses will invite the infection to remain. After resuming contact lens use, closely follow your doctor's instructions to help prevent future eye infections.
- Never wear another person's contact lenses, especially if they have been worn before. Using other people's contact lenses can spread any infection or particles from their eyes to yours.
- Wearing contact lenses may cause your eyes to become more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and/or a wide brim
- Wearing contact lenses may cause your eyes to become more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and/or a wide brim hat when in the sun.
- To keep eyes lubricated, use a rewetting solution or plain saline solution.
- Do not sleep with contact lenses in your eyes unless you are prescribed "extended wear" contacts! While the eyes are shut, tears cannot carry healthy amounts of oxygen to the eye, like during the waking hours.
- See your doctor annually to check your contact lens prescription.
- Visit your eye doctor immediately if you have any sudden vision loss, persistent blurred vision, light flashes, eye pain, infection, swelling, unusual redness, or irritation.
- If you accidentally insert contacts inside out, they cannot damage the eyes, but they will be uncomfortable. To avoid this, place contact lens on the tip of your finger so that it is forming a cup. Look at the contact lens from the side. If the cup looks like it is flaring out at the top and has a lip, the contact lens is inside out. If it looks like the letter "U", the contact lens is right side out.
- If you think you will have trouble remembering when to change your contact lenses, ask your eye doctor if he or she has a chart for patients to track their wearing schedule. If your doctor does not have one, you may want to consider creating one on your own.
- Put in contact lenses before applying makeup to avoid contaminating the lenses. When removing your makeup be sure that to wash and dry your hands. Once you have done this, remove your contact lenses and then remove makeup.
- Don't let the tip of solution bottles touch other surfaces, including fingers, eyes, or contact lenses. The solution can become contaminated.