Today, about 26 million people in the United States alone wear contact lenses. There are many reasons to consider contacts. Maybe you’re an athlete who doesn’t want to struggle with glasses out on the field. Or maybe you just think you look better without your glasses, but your vision is abysmal without them. By all means, consider contact lenses as a viable alternative to glasses.
But remember that you must be diligent in caring for them. There are steps to take to keep your contact lenses and your eyes clean and safe. But if you’re willing to make that commitment, it can be worth the effort.
Here are some quick tips for inserting your contact lenses, followed by a more thorough explanation of what’s involved:
•Make sure the area where you’re inserting the lenses is clean
•Wash your hands and dry them
•Always start with the same eye so you develop a pattern
•Place the lens on the tip of your finger
•Squirt some cleaning solution on the lens and rinse it
•Open your eye wide and pull down the lower eye lid
•With your eye open, bring the lens to your eye
•With the lens on your eye, wait until it catches hold of the eye
•Blink to make sure the lens is secure against your eye
You want your work surface to be clean so you don’t introduce germs or debris into your eyes. If you’re working over the sink, close the drain so the contact doesn’t fall in. It is a good idea to work over a dark towel so you can see the lens against the towel and it will be protected by the fabric. Before you start, wash your hands with antibacterial soap. You want to rinse well so you don’t get soap in your eyes, which hurts whether or not you wear contacts!
It is recommended that you always start with the same eye each time you insert your lenses. If you start with your right eye, always start with your right eye. This way the process becomes automatic and you won’t get the contacts mixed up. After all, the prescription strength of one contact is often different than the other. Take a look at the edge of the lens. If you’re inserting it the right way, the edge should point up. If the edge appears flat, flip it over.
When you’re ready to insert the lens, try holding the contact on the index finger of your dominant hand, while pulling down the bottom lid with the middle finger of the same hand. This will feel more comfortable and give you a steady hand. If this takes too much coordination, try holding the contact in your non-dominant hand and open your eye with your dominant hand. When inserting the contact lens, aim for the colored portion of your eye. As the contact reaches the eye, it will stick to the eyeball so you can safely remove your finger.
Some contact lens wearers describe the sensation of the contact attaching to the eyeball as a squishing sound. At that point, some people blink. Others do not blink, but look down, release the eyelid and then blink. Experiment to find the process that works best for you. If you think one of your contact lenses may be inside out, remove it, rinse it with the solution and turn it over and reinsert it. If it still does not feel right, take it out. It may be damaged, in which case you should throw it away. Do not wear damaged lenses or you may damage your eye.
When it’s time to remove your contact lenses, follow these steps:
•Again, wash and dry your hands
•Make sure the lens is sitting on your eye in the correct position — this will help you remove it safely
•While you’re looking up, pull down your lower lid with your middle finger
•Touch the lower edge of the lens with your index finger
•Gently slide the lens to the white of your eye
•Pinch the lens between your thumb and index finger so you can lift it out
•Place the lens in the lens case, making sure there is fluid in the reservoir
•Remove the second lens the same way
•If you continue to have problems, go back to your doctor and ask for a refresher course. You’re not alone. The doctor will be able to walk you through the process again – and perhaps will see what you’re doing wrong and can help you correct it.
Delp Barbara is a freelance writer who writes about health, eye care and specific products such as contact lenses