Contact lenses today have become a convenient and hassle free alternative to millions of people in the world today, who are looking for an option to avoid wearing glasses, nevertheless, still being able to manage eye conditions like Myopia or near sightedness, or quite simply for a fashion statement in the case of color lenses. While millions of people have made wearing and removing contact lenses a part of their daily affair and schedule it is important to remember that contact lenses still do carry a significant chance of eye infections.
While Single-use daily disposable lenses are considered the safest type of contact lenses, (considering that the risk of infection is thoroughly minimized) and while it has also been acknowledged that rigid gas permeable lenses are a much safer option compared to other lens types, it is important that regardless of the type of lens used, proper care of the lenses is critical for eye health care.
Some of the reasons that these infections happen could be anything ranging from poor hygiene to wearing the lenses beyond their validity to environmental factors. It is important therefore to follow proper guidelines in the handling and wearing of contact lenses.
Some of the various guidelines for handling and wearing of contact lenses have been mentioned below which have been agreed by universally by most ophthalmologists and eye care professionals.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water, followed by rinsing and drying them before you handle your contact lenses
- Make sure not to store your contact lens in water as these are meant to be stored specifically in the sterile lens solution in order avoid any infections
- Make sure you follow the schedule instructed by the Optician according to the type of lenses you have purchased. For example, there are 12-hour lenses that have to be worn for not more than 12 hours at any time. Stick to these limits.
- Rinse your contact lenses thoroughly using the lens solution to remove dirt or pollution particles. You can use the rub and rinse method by rubbing the contact lenses with your finger and then rinsing them, and following this procedure a few times to ensure all debris and dirt is removed. Please note this is not necessary in the case of brand new lenses, in which case, you can wear them directly without rinsing, for the first time
- Check the marker on the lens to make sure it is the right way out, in the case of those contact lenses where this is appropriate. Place the contact lens on your index finger and balance it at the center
- Using your other hand, hold your upper lid in place so that your eyeball is exposed and wide enough for the lens to be placed comfortably.
- Using the other free fingers of the hand which is holding the contact lens, pull down your lower eyelid.
- While looking up, such that your vision is at the corner of your ceiling, place the lens onto the lower part of your eye. Once placed, you can remove your hand and slowly allow your eye to close for a moment.
- Blink a few times to allow the lens to occupy the center of your eye.
- If the lens feels uncomfortable, take it out and check it for some dirt. Rinse it again and also observe closely for any kind of tear. If found, throw this away as this lens when used with a tear can cause eye irritation. If no tear found, once you are satisfied with the rinse and rub procedure you can place the lens back on your index finger and reinsert.
Taking Care of Your Lens Solution
Apart from taking care of your lens and making sure they are clean and dirt free during every usage, it is also important to make sure the lens solution you are using is free of any kind of infection. The following pointers are helpful to minimize the risk of infection.
- Never re-use old solution. In case of some solution already being in the lens case, always empty it before you fill up new solution. Never try to top-off onto the existing solution in your lens case.
- Make sure that the Lens solution bottle is kept firmly closed and does not come in contact with any other surface which can be a possibility for infection
- Should you end up keeping your contact lenses unused for long periods of time in a lens case, be sure to disinfect the lenses thoroughly before usage. When unused for more than 30 days it is better to dispose the lenses than risk any infection by using them. Should you face situations of using lenses very sporadically it is a better option to go for single use daily disposable lenses, which will serve you better while mitigating infection risks.