Keep Your Eyes Healthy: The Basics of Contact Lens Use and Care

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Today, contact lenses come in an array of exciting options. You can wear a pair of golden tiger eyes one day, then baby blues the next, and you can even wear daily disposable lenses.

If you have vision problems, contact lenses are among the most effective and “invisible” tools that help to improve your eyesight.

These medical devices come in the form of thin plastic lenses that fit over your cornea to correct several vision issues, such as astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. You can also wear contacts if you need bifocals or have presbyopia.

But contact lenses require a prescription. An eye doctor must check if contact lenses are right for you to prevent further eye damage. This is why speaking to your doctor regarding the best type of lenses and lens solutions, and making sure to follow your eye care professional’s directions are crucial.

If you’re planning to use contact lenses or are new to it, here’s everything you need to know about wearing and caring for your contact lenses to keep your eyes comfortable.

Types of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses today are available in different types. The right lenses will ensure good vision and eye health.

Soft and clear contact lenses

Made from a special type of plastic combined with water, soft contact lenses allow oxygen to pass through your cornea’s lens. This will make the lenses comfortable, minimize dry eyes, and keep your cornea healthy. Conversely, insufficient oxygen can lead to blurry and cloudy vision.

Soft contact lenses are disposable, so you can toss them after using them for a limited time. But there are those that you can wear for a year – you just have to clean them every night. Moreover, most soft lenses offer UV protection.

Soft colored contact lenses

These lenses are fun and somewhat practical.

  • Enhancement tint lenses mimic your eyes’ natural color.
  • Visibility tint lenses contain a bit of color so you can find them whenever you drop them. They are slightly lighter than an enhancement tint.
  • Color tint lenses are opaque, darker, and alter the color of your eyes. Specialty hues include green, violet, and amethyst.

Colored contact lenses are medical devices similar to clear contacts. You must get them only from your eye doctor, care for them, and never share them with anyone.

Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses

Made from silicone, gas-permeable lenses are stiffer than soft lenses. They are meant to allow oxygen to pass through your cornea. Besides being more durable, rigid lenses can help you see much better. They can also correct substantial astigmatism.

Since they are stiffer, they feel less comfortable than soft lenses. But over time, you’ll get used to them.

Bifocal contact lenses

As you age, you may suffer from presbyopia (or age-related farsightedness) wherein you can’t focus or adjust your sight from far to near distances. When this happens, bifocal lenses are the right choice. They contain both near prescription and distance prescription in one lens. They also come in both soft and rigid options.

Monovision contact lenses

If you don’t have the same prescription in both your eyes, monovision contact lenses can help. It may take time for you to get used to them. You may also need to adjust your gaze often to let each eye see properly.

Toric lenses

You will need to use toric lenses if you have astigmatism. These are made from similar materials as other lenses but work with the eyeball; hence, these are not completely round. They come in daily disposable, extended-wear, rigid or soft forms, and with colored lenses. Toric lenses correct astigmatism and farsightedness or nearsightedness, too, in one lens.

Replacement Schedule

Contact lenses have specific wearing times.

  • Daily disposable wear – You must discard your lenses after every removal.
  • Planned/frequent replacement – You need to clean, rinse, and disinfect the lenses each time you remove them from your eyes and discard them after the prescribed wearing period.

You must follow the replacement schedule provided by your eye doctor. Sticking to it will ensure eye comfort and health.

Tips for Cleaning Your Contacts

The type of lenses you have will determine how you should care for them.

Disposable soft lenses need the least care, while conventional soft lenses require the most work. If you find these challenging to clean them, speak with your doctor to make the steps easier, or perhaps you could just opt for daily disposable contact lenses.

Here are tips for caring for your contacts:

  • Wash your hands and dry them using a lint-free, neat towel before handling your contacts to remove any lotion, oils, perfumes, or any skincare products in your hands. If any of these foreign objects get on your contacts, your vision can become blurry or your eyes can get irritated.
  • Keep your fingernails smooth and short to avoid damaging your lenses.
  • Clean each contact lens by rubbing it gently with your index finger in your palm. Doing this will remove any surface buildup.
  • Clean your contact lenses after every use. Use only the prescribed lens solution. Avoid using tap water or even distilled water because these may contain microorganisms that can hurt your vision or cause an eye infection.
  • Apply your makeup after putting your lenses, but take them out before removing your makeup.
  • If your contacts need special cleaning products, always use what your doctor recommends. Some eye drops and other products are not safe for contact lens users.

Tips for Wearing Your Contacts

For safe and effective contact lens wear, follow these tips:

  • Wear your contacts for as long as your eye doctor recommends.
  • Don’t try to wear anyone’s contacts, especially when they use them already. This can hurt your vision and even lead to infections.
  • If you find it difficult to remember when to change your lenses, you can get a chart from your eye doctor to monitor your schedule. If not, you can make your own chart or put a reminder on your phone.
  • Unless you are wearing extended-wear lenses, never sleep with your contacts in. Take note that once your eyelids are closed, your tears won’t bring enough oxygen to your eyes, causing your eyes to dry. The lenses may even get dislodged.
  • Don’t allow the tips of the solution bottle to touch surfaces like your contacts, eyes, and fingers to avoid contamination.
  • Keep your eyes moist with a plain saline solution or a re-wetting solution.
  • If you place your contacts inside out, it wouldn’t feel good, they won’t work and could irritate your eyes. To avoid this, place the contacts on the tip of your fingers, making sure it forms a cup. If it appears like the letter “U”, it is on the right side. But if it appears to “flare” out and has a lip, the lens is inside out.
  • Whenever your eyes get irritated, remove your contacts and never use them again. See your doctor immediately to prevent infection and determine why your eyes are irritated. Visit your doctor if you experience any eye pain, swelling, infection, irritation, unusual redness, sudden vision loss, or light flashes.
  • Never swim wearing your contacts. Though you can use goggles, there is still the possibility of getting eye infections, so it is safer to take them out.
  • When you are under the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses with UV protection.

Tips for Caring For Your Lens Case

Your lens case can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Make sure to clean and rinse it with the solutions prescribed by your eye care professional, and allow air to dry every time you remove your contacts from it. Moreover, replace your lens case regularly, as suggested by your eye doctor.

Wearing contact lenses can make your life easier because there will be no more glasses to lose, step on, break or scratch.

However, using contacts safely will take patience and effort.

Get your lenses only from reputable optical shops in Dubai. Clean and wear them properly. More importantly, if you notice any problems, remove them and visit your doctor right away. Problems with contact lenses are easier to solve if you get help as soon as possible.