Contact lenses are convenient, safe to use, and easy to put on and get used to. However, they do carry a risk of eye infection, especially if hygiene is not maintained, and lens and eye care guidelines aren’t followed. Here’s how you can make your contact lens wearing experience comfortable and infection-free.
Handle with care Always wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly before handling contact lenses. If you must dry your hands, use a clean, lint-free towel to do so. Shake the lens case a bit before taking the lenses out. This way, if the lenses are stuck to the inside of the case, they’ll come loose easily. Never use your nails to handle contact lenses; use only the tips of your fingers.
Wear responsibly Use a pair of contact lenses only for as long as recommended by your doctor or optometrist. Don’t stretch wear. if you use monthly contact lenses, discard them after a month of opening the blister pack, irrespective of the number of times you put the lenses on. Daily wear lenses must be removed before going to bed. Extended wear lenses can be worn overnight, and for up to a week without removal. However, avoid wearing contact lenses for more than 10-12 hours per day and try not to sleep with your lenses on, as much as you can, to avoid the risk of infection. Avoid splashing water on your eyes or going swimming with lenses on. When wearing makeup, first put your lenses on and then apply makeup. When removing makeup, remove your lenses first and then your makeup.
Discontinue wearing or remove lenses if they cause discomfort. Avoid wearing lenses when eyes are already irritated, red or dry, or if you have an infection like conjunctivitis.
Use the right products Always buy quality lenses and those that are suited to your lifestyle. For example, if you know you’re going to be wearing contacts for longer periods of time each day, you might want to go for lenses that need to be replaced fortnightly, monthly, or quarterly. Avoid using solution that’s past its expiry date, and never mix old and new lens solution. Bear in mind that wetting lenses with saliva or rinsing or storing them in water is not recommended as it could lead to infection. Saline solution or rewetting drops are not approved disinfectants, so stick to using lens solution.