Contact Lens Wear Tips

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Contact Lens Expirations

Contact lens manufacturers are required to put expiration dates on all contact lenses. Always use your contact lenses before this expiration date. Contact lenses are not guaranteed to be sterile past their expiration.

   

Contact Lens Disposal Schedule

There variety of lens types on the market today offer an array of disposal schedules to fit your needs. Lenses are most commonly disposed of daily, every week, every 2 weeks, monthly or every month. Make sure you know what your lenses disposal schedule is.

   

Contact Lens Discomfort

Protein and fat build up on soft lenses after a period of time. If you notice your contact lenses become uncomfortable after a certain amount of wear it means it is time to change your lenses. If you find you are changing your lenses too often talk to your eye care professional about changing your lenses, your wear schedule or your cleaning solution.

   
How can I prevent mixing up my contact lenses?

Keeping Contact Lenses in the Right…Or Left Eye

Many contact lens wearers do not have the same prescription in both eyes. This may be because one eye is weaker than the other or because the eyes are a slightly different size or shape. When the left and right contact lens do not have the same prescription it is important to avoid wearing the contacts in the wrong eye. Most eye care providers recommend inserting and removing the same lens first each time to minimize the potential for inserting the contacts in the wrong eye or the long side of the storage case.

   

Can I Swim or Shower with my Contacts In?

Contact lenses should not be worn when swimming, as this will expose your contacts to bacteria and chemicals that could put you at risk for eye infections. In general you should not shower in your contact lenses unless they are approved for extended wear.

   
I’m afraid to put in contact lenses; is it hard to do?

Inserting Contact Lenses

Many first time contact lens wearers are apprehensive about inserting the lenses the first time. Most eye care providers will provide new patients with advice and procedures for inserting contact lenses. There are many different methods for inserting contact lenses. The steps listed below are frequently recommended for first time wearers:

• Wash hands thoroughly

• Place the lens on the tip of the index finger of the dominant hand

• Pull the lower lid down with the middle finger of the dominant hand

• Pull the upper lid up with the index finger of the other hand

• Place the lens on the white area below the pupil

• Release the eyelids

• Look downward and close the eye

   
Can I wear my new contact lenses all day immediately after I purchase them?

Time Schedules For Contact Lenses

New contact lens wearers may require a brief adjustment period before they are able to wear their contact lenses for extended periods. An eye care provider will recommend a wearing time schedule for these new wearers. This schedule will most likely include wearing the contact lenses for only a short period of time at first and gradually increasing the amount of time the lenses are worn. Following this schedule carefully will help the patient to avoid discomfort often associated with wearing the lenses too long before the eye adjusts.

   
Can I use hairspray when wearing contact lenses?

Hairspray With Contact Lenses

Ideally, hairspray should be applied before contact lenses are inserted. This is important because when hairspray is sprayed there is typically a residual amount of the product which remains in the air for a few seconds. This residue can adhere to the contact lenses and cause a variety of problems ranging from mild discomfort to infection. If it is necessary to insert contact lenses prior to using hairspray, closing the eyes while spraying the product and for a few seconds afterwards is recommended.

   
Should I put on my makeup before or after I insert my soft contact lenses?

Wearing Makeup With Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses should be inserted before applying makeup while hard contact lenses should be inserted after applying makeup. Another tip for wearing makeup with contact lenses is to avoid lash extending mascaras as well as water proof mascaras. Eyeliner should not be applied inside the lash line and only pressed powder eye shadows should be used. Even this should be used sparingly to avoid debris falling into the eye and damaging or staining the lens.

If you wear eye makeup frequently, read the labels of makeup brands carefully before buying. Many companies will identify certain products that were tested and approved for contact lens wearers.

   
How do I remove contact lenses?

Removing Contact Lenses

Most new contact lens wearers find removing contact lenses to be easier than inserting them. New patients should receive advice from their eye care provider on how to properly remove contact lenses. The steps for removing contact lenses usually include the following:

• Wash hands thoroughly

• Insert rewetting drops if the eyes feel dry

• Pull the lower lid down with the index finger of the dominant hand

• Look up slightly

• Pull the contact lens downward towards the white of the eye

• Gently pinch the lens between the thumb and index finger

   
Is there a special trick to get the contact lens in? It takes me about an hour to put the lens in. Once they are in, they are fine.

Inserting Contact Lenses

Once you get the hang of it, you will definitely be able to put your contact lenses in in less than an hour. In fact, it should take only a few seconds for each eye.
First of all, make sure you wash your hands before handling your lenses. Also, dry your hands with a lint free towel. The best way to insert the lens is to take it from the solution and place it on the tip of your index finger. Pull down your lower eyelid with the middle finger on the same hand. Pull up your upper eyelid with the index finger on your other hand and look up. Place the lens on the lower white of you eye and remove your hand. Look down and close your eye and the lens will position itself. Do the same for the other eye. With a little practice, you will be able to put your lenses in quickly and with no trouble at all.

   
Should I remove my contact lenses before or after I remove my makeup?

Makeup Removal With Contact Lenses

Makeup removal should occur after contact lenses are removed. This applies to both hard and soft contact lenses. This is important because during the process of removing makeup, debris can enter the eye. If this debris adheres to the contact lenses it can result in discomfort as well as an increased risk of infection if the debris damages the surface of the eye.

   

The Risk of Extended Wear Lenses

Some contact lenses, called “extended wear” or “continuous wear” contacts, can be worn for a week or more without removing them. Individuals who sleep in their lenses, however, are at a much higher risk for eye infections or other complications. If you are considering extended wear contacts talk to your eye care professional about the best wear schedule for you.

   

Can I Wear my Contact Lenses Overnight?

You should wear your contact lenses overnight only if specifically told you can do so by your doctor. Certain lenses are not approved for use overnight and not everyone is able to tolerate overnight wear. Sleeping in contact lenses that are not approved for overnight use may result in severe damage to your eyes.

   
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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.