Contact lenses are one of three great ways to correct vision. If you’re making the move to wearing contacts, there are a few things you’ll want to know. We all want to reduce the hassle that could make applying or wearing contacts more problematic. In this article, we'll take a look at how you can aim to get the best from your contact lenses right from the start. We'll also look at how you can help keep your eyes feeling clean and fresh through appropriate eye care.
But first of all, a little reassurance for you...
Myths and truths about contact lenses
Some people can be a little unsure about contact lenses because they don't know the real facts. So to help reassure you during the early days, here are some common myths and facts:
Contact lenses can slip behind your eye
This isn't true. A thin membrane called the conjunctiva covers over the whites of your eyes and then connects to the inside of your eyelids. This makes it physically impossible for a lens to slip behind your eye.
Contact lenses can stick to your eye
If you allow your eye to dry out too much, it's possible for a lens to stick to the eye's surface. If you remoisten the lens with a sterile saline or other suitable solution, you should find you're able to move it around again.
Lenses cause eye problems
This is unlikely, providing you look after your eyes and your lenses as advised by any instructions you get with them, and also by acting on the advice of professionals.
Contact lenses can pop out of your eye
This is a rare occurrence with modern day contact lenses that have been fitted and put in correctly. However, some years ago, when older style hard lenses were worn, a lens would occasionally pop out. This was particularly the case when some contact lens wearers played sports or did other physical activities. However, modern lenses fit a lot closer to your eyes and it's unusual for one to be unexpectedly dislodged.
Types of contact lenses
Before you go ahead and use any type of lenses, make sure they have been fitted by a registered optometrist, a qualified dispensing optician or a medical practitioner. If you're in any doubt, make enquires first.
As you'll probably already know, there are two main types of contact lens:
- Rigid gas-permeable lenses
- Soft lenses
Putting in your lenses and caring for them correctly depends on the type of lenses you have. So the instructions you receive with them, and that are provided by your optician, should be followed closely.
Using your lenses for the first time
Putting in and removing your new lenses will need some practice, but should soon feel like a natural part of your daily routine. Once you feel comfortable and confident you'll be able to take it in your stride.
- Always follow the instructions that come with your lenses and any advice you may have received when you purchased them
- Ensure you wash, rinse and thoroughly dry your hands on a lint-free towel, before touching your lenses, both when putting them in and when removing them
- Make sure you put them in and remove them as instructed. Practice and patience will be needed at first, but you should soon get there
- Remember always to follow the disinfection routine after removal
- Rinse and clean the storage case (if this applies to your lenses) and replace it as advised
- Only use approved care products and don't allow lens solutions to get contaminated
- Ensure you follow any specific instructions given to you or provided with both reusable or extended wear lenses
- Don't try to re-use disposable lenses
- Get professional advice if you are having any problems - don't take any risks that may result in harming your eyes (wear your glasses in the meantime, until you have received the advice)
Other general points to note:
- You shouldn't use tap water on your lenses - you don't want any contamination
- Don't wet lenses with your saliva - don't risk introducing potential infections
- Don't wear lenses in the shower or whilst swimming, unless you wear water-tight swimming goggles too
Remember to go for eye tests or lens reviews when it's time. Also, replace your lenses and lens care solutions when necessary. If products become out of date or are no longer suitable, you may end up causing damage to your eyes if you use them, so never take a risk.
Caring for your eyes
When wearing your lenses, always check that your eyes look healthy and feel healthy. Make sure you can see well - don't compromise. Just like with glasses, you have contact lenses to improve your vision. This may sound obvious, but you shouldn't simply put up with it if you feel something isn't right. If it isn't right, you should consider taking them out straight away and getting advice from a professional.
Do not go to bed if you have a painful red eye(s) - get advice straight away.
To get the most from your contact lenses, you should also take care of your eyes. Wearing lenses regularly could make your eyes more prone to dry eyes.
Each time you blink your eyes, your eyelid spreads tears across the surface of the eye to form a film. This film acts to reduce the evaporation of moisture, helping your eyes stay hydrated. Dry eyes can occur when not enough tears are produced, or disruption in the protective lipid layer causes excess moisture loss. There can be many triggers of dry eyes, for example, air conditioning systems
But don't worry, help is available from Optrex.
The Optrex range includes dry eye products suitable for use with contact lenses that can help relieve, refresh and soothe dry, tired and itchy eyes.
The Optrex range includes intensive eye drops and contact lens drops, which are suitable for contact lenses wearers. If you're not comfortable with putting drops in your eyes, try Optrex ActiMist Eye Spray for Dry & Irritated Eyes*. This product relieves dry, irritated eyes. The spray is easy and hygienic to use and it’s conveniently applied to your closed eyelids. The spray provides relief for dry and irritated eyes. Read more about dry eyes, here.
* Dry and irritated eyes due to disturbed lipid layer of the tear film, approx. 80% of dry eye cases.