Contact Lenses : How to wear and not tear

If you’ve never had contact lenses or haven’t worn them in a long time and need a refresher, here’s a few tips on what to do and what not to do when wearing and caring for your lenses.

First on the list, make sure to listen to what your doctor tells you. When he or she prescribes the lenses in the first place, they know what type of lenses they are giving you as well as the type of care they will require.

Some people need to remove their lenses for a few hours each day and let their eyes ‘rest,’ especially in the first few weeks of wearing new lenses.

Learn to carry rewetting drops with you. Nothing like dry eyes during work or a meeting will make you wish you had stashed an extra bottle of solution in your car.

Avoid excessive rubbing at your eyes while wearing them and wear sunglasses when you’re in the bright sun. If your eyes hurt excessively or you experience severe itching and redness, call your doctor. These are signs you don’t want to ignore.

One thing your doctor will do on the day you pick up your new contact lenses is to go over their care. You should wash your hands every time you intend to handle the lenses.

Microscopic dirt and dust may not seem like much, but when it is pressed between your eye and the lens, it can cause discomfort and pain. You will be provided with a holder for your lenses as well as solution to store them in, depending on the type of lens you buy. For daily disposables, you don’t have to store them in anything.

Always handle the lenses with care and if by some occurrence you should happen to tear a lens, never re-use it. And, despite the urge when solution isn’t available, never use saliva to moisten dry contacts. Your mouth is filled with bacteria that will contaminate the lens, possible causing an infection in the eye.

For daily wear contacts, it’s good to take them out and clean them each evening and leave them in a solution over night. This keeps the lens clean and lubricated. It’s a hard lesson the first time you insert a dirty lens on your eye or an eyelash is dislodged during the insertion.

If that should happen, let your eye tear naturally – tears will often wash dust particles or an eyelash out.

Another handy tip that is rarely mentioned (although some people have certainly had a problem with it) is the drain plug in the sink. When adjusting your lenses, be sure your contact lens doesn’t fall into the sink and go down the drain.

Most people lean towards their mirror so they can see what they are doing as they slip their contact lens into place. The act of leaning forward places you over the sink. It’s a good idea to make sure the drain is in place, just in case.