Soft contact lenses are medical devices made of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel and go directly onto the cornea, or front surface of the eye. They correct for refractive error of the eyes, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Putting on contact lenses for the first time can be life changing. Contact lenses are comfortable, provide enhanced peripheral vision, and are great for sports and activities.
When you begin wearing contact lenses, an Optometrist will perform an eye exam, determine the prescription, ensure proper fit, and verify there are no adverse reactions to the lenses. It is common for the first time inserting and removing contact lenses to be challenging. With practice, you will be able to do this with ease.
How to put on contact lenses:
1. Wash your hands.
2. The contact lens comes in a small container. Use two fingers to take the contact lens out of the solution and place it with the edge facing up on the tip of your pointer finger.
3. The contact lens is in the correct position when the edge is curved like a bowl. When it is inside out, the ridge will be pointing outwards, shaped like a cone and vision will not be clear. If this happens, flip the contact lens into the correct position.
4. Put the contact lens on the front surface of the eye, called the cornea.
One way to put on the contact lens is by holding your upper lid with one hand, and using the pointer finger of your other hand to place the lens on your eye. You can place it directly on the cornea, or slightly below. Look left and right to allow the lens to settle into place and slowly blink. The contact lens will move into place on the center front of your eye.
If you have long finger nails, pull down on your lower lid with one hand, lean over, and use the edge of your pointer finger on the other hand to place the contact lens on the lower portion of your eye. As you blink, the lens will move into place.
5. The contact lens can be worn throughout the day for enhanced vision.
6. Towards the end of the day, remove the contact lens.
Wash your hands. You can use your thumb and pointer finger to pinch off the lens. Lightly grab the left and right side of the lens with your fingers and pinch the sides towards each other while sliding the lens off.
If you have long fingernails, try using your pointer and middle finger to pinch the edges together and slide off the lens.
You can also use your finger to slide the contact lens down to hit the edge of your lower eyelid and roll off the lens.
7. Clean the contact lens using a multipurpose cleaning solution.
Pour the solution into the contact lens case, put the contact lens in your palm, rub the lens with the solution, place the lens in the case, and close the cap. Let this sit over night. In the morning, take the contact lens out, rub it with the solution, and insert the contact lens into your eye. Dump out the used solution, rinse out the case with water, and let it air dry in a clean area.
Hydrogen peroxide is a stronger disinfecting solution. Pour the solution up to the line in the case, place the contact lens in the container, and let it sit in the solution over night for at least 6 hours. Don’t take it out before then and put it in your eye because it will burn!
You may use a contact lens rewetting drop into your eye to reduce dryness.
If you develop a hypersensitivity reaction to a contact lens solution, such as a burning sensation, redness, and/or discomfort, discontinue using the solution.
Types of contact lenses:
There are different types of contact lenses, including soft, rigid gas permeable (RGP/hard contact lens), and scleral contact lenses. The soft contact lenses can be worn as a daily disposable, biweekly, or monthly wearing schedule, and are can be spherical, toric, or multifocal. Toric lenses correct for astigmatism, multifocal lenses can be used in those with presbyopia, or age 40 and above. RGPs and scleral lenses are for high astigmatism, cornea irregularities, and dry eyes. Your optometrist will determine the best contact lens material and schedule based on your ocular health and daily needs.
Contact lens related complications:
There is a possibility for complications, so make sure to have your contact lens fitting and evaluation by an optometrist every year and don’t buy your contacts online. Only under microscopic examination can you diagnose and treat these complications. Problems with online companies have been reported, including, an incorrect prescription causing reduced vision and infections of the eye. You will save yourself time and money by having a proper eye exam.
How to prevent contact lens related complications:
-Practice good hygiene and hand washing.
-Use a new case every 2 months.
-Keep your eyes closed under water and wear goggles while swimming.
-Infections are at higher risk when wearing contacts in Jacuzzis.
-Don’t wear the contact lenses past the days they are good for.
-Don’t sleep in the contact lenses.
-If a contact lens irritates you, throw it away and start a new one.
-Daily disposable contact lenses provide the best ocular hygiene and are least likely to develop a complication.
If you have any complications with your contact lenses, visit your Optometrist right away.
Recommendations for contact lenses:
My top recommendations are from experience fitting hundreds of contact lenses and from patient reported comfort and clear vision.
Daily disposables: Total 1 Dailies and Acuvue Oasys Dailies
Daily disposable for astigmatism: Clariti 1 Day Toric
Biweekly: Acuvue Oasys, Monthly: Biofinity and Ultra
Multifocal: Biofinity Multifocal, Air Optix Multifocal
Toric: Biofinity and Extreme H2O
Color: 1 Day Acuvue Define and Air Optix Colors
For more information on contact lenses, visit your eye care provider!