Looking after your lenses
Contact lenses offer a really convenient alternative if you are a regular glasses wearer.
From daily disposables to two weekly, monthly and yearly lenses, there are so many options to choose from, depending on your prescription and how often you plan to wear them.
Whatever type you opt for though, Sam Culham, our Contact Lens Optician, explained hygiene is key if you want to keep your eyes healthy.
Read on for Sam’s basic rules for contact lens success.
Keep it clean
Wash your hands both before you put your lenses in and before you remove them. Use regular handwash rather than alcohol wash as this could sting.
You snooze, you lose
Sleeping in your contact lenses is a no-no as this can cause damage to the eye and lead to a greater risk of ulcers. Get into the routine of removing and cleaning your lenses before you go to bed.
Tap water is not the solution
No matter what kind of lenses you wear, never run them under the tap to clean them. If the water has been stored in a tank in the loft for example, it could contain the Acanthamoeba organism. If this comes into contact with your eye it can lead to a condition which can ultimately result in blindness.
If you wear daily disposable lenses you don’t need to worry about cleaning. Simply take the lens out of the vial it comes in and apply it to your eye. When you remove it – whether you have worn it for just a few hours or a whole day – throw it away. Put a fresh sterile pair in every time.
For people who wear two weekly, monthly and yearly lenses there are special cleaning solutions you should use.
Frequent replacement lenses – either two weekly or monthly – will need an all-in-one solution. Once you have finished wearing them for the day, remove the lenses and put some of the solution into the case. Taking one lens at a time, put it in the palm of your hand and apply a drop or two of the solution. Using a light touch, gently rub with your middle finger for 10 to 20 seconds. If it’s a soft lens you can turn it inside out and repeat on the other side.
Before you put the lens in the case for the night, give it a rinse with a few more drops of the solution. Repeat with the other lens.
If you use yearly lenses, you will have two different types of cleaning solution, one to rub on the lenses and the other to soak them in overnight. On top of this, every two to four weeks you should give your lenses an extra clean with protein removal tablets. Cleaning in this way will help your lenses to last longer.
Keep it in check
It’s important you book regular eye checks if you are a contact lens wearer. For those using them two to three times a week, we recommend you come in for a check-up once a year but if you wear them most days it’s best to have an appointment every six months.
If your eyes are red or painful when you wear your lenses, remove them and book an appointment to see us. Don’t keep using them as this could aggravate your eyes further.
Not in the pool
Never swim while wearing your lenses. Any lenses that come into contact with a swimming pool should be discarded.
Hay fever season
If you are suffering from hay fever and your eyes are feeling itchy or sore avoid wearing your lenses. That said, some patients say that their hay fever symptoms actually improve when they are wearing their lenses!
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