As days get longer, sunlight gets warmer, and excitement for summer vacation grows, many of us like to trade in our glasses for the convenience and look of contact lenses. Review our top 5 tips on how to use and care for your contact lenses properly!
Invest in quality contact lenses that are safe for your eyes. There are countless brands of lenses, each with different sizes, shapes, moisture, breathability, stiffness, and ability to protect against UV. Did you know the power in your contact lens is rarely the same as your glasses? Only your optometrist can fit you with the best lenses that are crisp, comfortable, and healthy for your eyes’ unique features. Dry eyes with lens wear is not normal, and your doctor can explain different ways to prevent this.
Clean and replace them as your doctor directs. Your eye needs to breathe! An old or dirty lens can starve your eye of oxygen, causing inflammation and discomfort. Worse, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Would you re-wear used socks or underwear? Well, same goes for your contacts! Depending on the brand, your doctor may recommend that you replace them daily, bi-weekly, or monthly. Some lenses must be rubbed and stored with a specific cleaning solution. If you use a storage case, wash it daily and swap it out for a new one every 3 months to prevent a build-up of bacteria.
Never over-wear or sleep in your lenses. Contacts should not be worn for more than 12-14 hours per day, and it is always a good idea to take a break from them at least two days of the week. Sleeping – even napping – in your lenses significantly increases your risk of infection, which can lead to permanent vision loss in severe cases. For days when your eyes are red, feeling irritated, or when you are sick, you should not wear your contacts as it puts you at greater risk of infection and inflammation.
Always wear sunglasses over your lenses. You wouldn’t apply sunscreen just on your arms while leaving your back exposed, would you? While some (not all) contact lenses have UV protection, contact lenses only cover a small portion of the eye. This still leaves the rest exposed to UV damage. A stylish pair of high definition polarized sunglasses, such as Maui Jim®, cuts glare and ensures your eyes are fully protected.
Avoid exposing your lenses to water. Water can be full of chemicals and bacteria that can adhere to the contact lens. Ideally, swimming with prescription goggles is best for your eyes. However, if you must, wear disposable contacts with goggles, then replace the lenses with a fresh pair immediately after swimming.
Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong & Dr. Fabian Tai
Image Credit: Artem Bali