Why is it important to look after my lenses carefully?

Your lenses will provide many benefits, including excellent vision and comfort, if you stick to the recommended wear and care procedures.Most people find that contact lenses are so easy to use that they forget they’re wearing them. But if you don’t wear your lenses as they’re intended or handle and clean them properly, you may not feel, look or see as well as you should. Problems are rare and are most likely to happen when you don’t take care of your lenses or your eyes.

 

Which care procedures are most important?

It’s important to follow all recommended procedures but some hygiene measures are crucial. Always wash and dry your hands before touching your lenses. If you wear daily disposable lenses apply a fresh lens directly from the pack and discard after each use. If your lenses are re-usable, rub and rinse them with solution before you put them on your eyes and before you store them. Make sure you empty the lens case after each use, clean and air dry it and replace regularly. Never use tap water to store, clean or rinse your lenses or case. Only use the solution recommended by your practitioner and follow the instructions carefully. You may be asked to take along your case and solution when you go for a check-up.

 

Why are regular check-ups so important?

Check-ups are a great opportunity to find out about the latest advances in contact lenses and make sure your lenses are the best for you and your eyes. Your practitioner will check your vision and eye health, remind you about lens care procedures then advise you when you need to return, based on your individual needs. If you have any questions about contact lens wear or any problem with your eyes or lenses, don’t wait for your next scheduled check-up. Consult your contact lens practitioner for advice as soon as possible.

 

Possible problems

Although soft contact lenses provide many benefits to the wearer, it is possible that problems might occur and may be first noticed as one or more of the following signs:

  • Feeling of something in the eye

  • Uncomfortable lens

  • Eye redness

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Burning, stinging, itching or watering eyes

  • Reduced sharpness of vision

  • Rainbows or halos around lights

  • Increased eye secretions

  • Discomfort/pain

  • Severe or persistent dry eyes

 

These symptoms if ignored, may lead to more serious complications.

 

Is there a simple way of checking my eyes for problems with my lenses?

Yes. Ask yourself these three questions, each time you wear your lenses:

  • Do my eyes feel good with my lenses? – no discomfort

  • Do my eyes look good? – no redness

  • Do I see well? – no unusual blurring with either eye

 

What can I do to minimise the risk of infection?

Good hygiene and not wearing your lenses overnight are the most important factors. Poor hygiene increases the chances of an infection by four times. Sleeping in contact lenses overnight also increases the risk by about four times, irrespective of lens type. Your practitioner can discuss with you the pros and cons of lenses that are approved for extended wear. Avoid sleeping in your extended wear lenses if you are unwell. Daily disposable lenses have a low rate of serious infection when used on a strict daily wear schedule. Smokers have a higher risk, three times that of non-smokers. If a problem does occur, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are very important.

 

Do’s and Don’t of contact lens wear

Here are some useful tips to help you get the best out of your lenses.

 

Do

  • Have regular check-ups as advised by your practitioner

  • Wash and dry your hands prior to handling your lenses

  • Rub, rinse and store your lenses in the recommended solution before and after each use (except single-use lenses, which should be discarded after each wear)

  • Clean the lens case with solution, wipe with a clean tissue then air-dry after each use

  • Always apply the right lens first to avoid mixing them up

  • Check the lens is not inside out before applying

  • Handle carefully to avoid damaging the lens

  • Apply your lenses before putting on make-up

  • Remove lenses then remove make-up

  • Keep your eyes closed when using hairspray or other aerosols

  • Replace your lens case at least monthly

  • Discard lenses and solutions that are past their expiry date

  • Wear only the lenses specified by your contact lens practitioner

  • Stick strictly to the recommended wearing schedule and replacement frequency

  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of replacement lenses or spare pair

  • Have an up-to-date pair of spectacles for when you need to remove your lenses

 

Don’t

  • Use tap water, or any other water, on your lenses or lens case

  • Wet your lenses with saliva

  • Put a lens on the eye if it falls on the floor or other surface, without cleaning and rinsing again

  • Apply a lens if it is dirty, dusty or damaged

  • Continue to wear your lenses if your eyes don’t feel good, look good, or see well

  • Re-use or top up solution – discard and replace with fresh solution each time lenses are stored

  • Decant solution into smaller containers

  • Wear lenses left in the case for more than seven days without cleaning and storing them in fresh solution

  • Sleep in your lenses unless specifically advised to you by your practitioner

  • Wear any lenses overnight if you are unwell

  • Use your lenses for swimming, hot tubs or water sports, unless wearing goggles

  • Wear your lenses when showering unless you keep your eyes firmly closed

  • Switch the solution you use except on the advice of your practitioner

  • Use any eye drops without advice from your contact lens practitioner

  • Share contact lenses or wear any lenses not specified by your practitioner