So you've purchase your first pack of lenses only to realize you have no idea how to care for your lenses. You’re stressed. Like all things we own, how long your contact lenses last will depend on how well you manage to take care of them.
Not to worry- we've put together a guide just for you to give you the lowdown on how to look after your contacts to ensure that you avoid the risk of eye infection and disease.
Lenses that can be worn up to a year will require conscientious care. This will become second nature over time. Good habits are just as addictive as bad habits, so make it a daily practice.
Always wash your hands before handling your lenses with antibacterial non-scented soap and water. Use a lint-free towel to dry off your hands and minimize any contact with water to your lenses. Water can make the cleaning process less effective and increase risk of infection.
Ultrasonic Lens Cleaner
For those of you that regularly wear non-disposable contacts and are time poor or simple don't like the hassle of cleaning your contacts manually, the easiest solution for cleaning is to invest in a ultrasonic lens cleaner. They are simple to use and if you wear contacts most days, the machine will pay itself off very quickly with the time you save and by not easily damaging the lens like how manually cleaning may. To use the ultrasonic cleaner, follow the steps below:
- Pour in the contact lens solution.
- Pop in the lens.
- Close all the lids.
- Click start.
- Wait 3 minutes.
- Put back into a lens container.
Alternatively, you can also manually clean your lenses by following the steps below.
Never use water to clean your contacts. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not appropriate disinfectants for lenses. Clean contact lens cases with fresh solution by rinsing them out with solution – not water. Empty the case and leave it open to air dry. Contact lens cases should be cleaned regularly and replaced every three months to prevent contamination and infection. Lens cases that are cracked or broken should not be used.
Just as important, contact lenses should be replaced as required from your eye doctor or contact lens manufacturer. Wearing lenses for longer lengths of times than recommended is unhealthy for eyes and can lead to blurred vision. Contact lenses do expire so be careful.
Rub & Rinse
Even if your solution is a ‘“no-rub” variety, it is highly recommended to carry out the rub and rinse method to further fortify the cleansing process. Hold the contact lens in your palm and squeeze solution onto the lens. Next, gently rub the lens back and forth with your index finger – not in a circular motion. Rinse the contact lens once more with fresh solution to wash away any debris accumulated from the rub.
Keep the tip of your contact lens solution bottle from touching any surfaces and keep the bottle squeezed closed when not in use.
Re-using old contact lens solution is a big no-no. You’ll be letting your freshly cleansed lenses sit in the filth of the previous day’s cleaning. Discard all old solution, rinse the case, and refill with fresh solution.
Place your lenses in the case with fresh solution. Storing lenses for extended lengths of time require disinfection before wear as well as changing case solution every 3 days.
If you find your eyes developing allergies or finding sensitivity with solution, invest in preservative free solutions.
If you come across a lens that has been shriveled and dried up, don’t try to revive it by soaking in solution. Lenses that dry out can never 100% restore their moisture. Lenses found in abnormal states lose their shape and function even if they seem repaired or functional. These lenses can no longer center on the cornea and threaten your vision.
Risking your vision is not worth it. To prevent fungal eye infections and vision threatening diseases, make sure to follow the steps of proper care.