For glasses wearers who are thinking about making the switch to contact lenses, the extra steps you need to take to look after them might seem intimidating at first. Luckily however, once you get used to it, contact lens care is simple. Here are five top tips to bear in mind to help you out:
1. Wash your hands first
Before you do anything involving your contact lenses – whether it’s putting them in, taking them out, or cleaning them – wash your hands first. You may find yourself tempted to skip this the more you get used to them, but it’s really important for keeping your lenses clean and your eyes free of infection. Make sure you dry your hands thoroughly, too, because you shouldn’t get any water or soap on your lenses. It’s also important to brush off any fibers from the towel to avoid transferring them to your lenses.
2. Always use proper contact lens solution
Sometimes people get tempted to use alternatives to save money, but you definitely don’t want to be cutting corners when it comes to your eyes. Make sure you buy the correct type of solution for the lenses you have from a trusted shop or optician. It’s also important to keep the top of the bottle sterile, so try your best not to touch the tip, and keep the lid on when you’re not using it.
3. Never get your contacts wet
This is key! Water can have numerous negative effects on your contacts, including changing their shape and getting germs on them, which can then lead to harmful eye infections. So, you should never rinse contacts in water, and you should also avoid swimming, bathing, or showering while wearing them. If you’re an avid swimmer, it’s better to get googles with prescription lenses instead.
4. Care for your case too
This doesn’t apply if you wear one day lenses that can simply be thrown away after single use, but if you wear monthly or biweekly lenses then you should be caring for your lens storage case carefully too. Keep it sterile by rinsing it with contact lens solution – not water – and then leave it to air dry so you don’t introduce any fibers into it. You should ideally replace your case every month, but definitely every three months, and immediately if it’s cracked or damaged in any way.
5. Don’t sleep with them in
Unless you have extended wear lenses that are designed to be worn overnight, you should never sleep with your lenses in. This is because it will prevent oxygen from getting to your eyes and dry them out, both of which can increase your risk of developing an eye infection. As part of your bedtime routine, if you wear makeup be sure to take your contacts out before you remove your makeup. This will prevent you from rubbing them too hard or getting potentially harmful makeup remover on them. If you do fall asleep with your lenses in, remove them as soon as you wake up and leave them out for a while so your eyes can recover.