Basic Contact Lens Care

Photo: “January 8 - 15, 2011” by Victor Martinez, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

Although I’m also do online selling on the side, one thing I don’t sell is contact lenses.  That’s because I am well aware of the risks of contact lenses.

Let me qualify that.  I think contact lenses are a great invention, especially for people with high error of refraction.  However, many people who use contact lenses DO NOT know how to manage them.

What’s worse is that there are now people who wear cosmetic contact lenses without bothering to understand how to take care of it.

Some of the things you have to do when you are a contact lens wearer are pretty easy.

  • Don’t share contact lenses.  There are some people — especially those who do not have any error of refraction but simply wear contact lenses to change the color of their eyes– who share their contact lenses with friends in order to save.  This is not like a T-shirt or a blouse that you can lend to other people.  Treat contact lenses like you would treat your intimate wear.  It’s only for the use of one person.  Otherwise, you risk infections.
  • Don’t go to bed with your contact lenses on.  While there are newer contact lenses which are very oxygen permeable AND comfortable, so much so that it doesn’t hurt when you sleep with them, it’s still not a good idea to actually go to bed with them.  Most infections that we see involve people sleeping with their contact lenses on.  So, to be on the side of safety, do remove your contact lenses before you retire for the night and disinfect them well before putting them on in the morning.
  • Have a pair of glasses as backup.  I’m pretty surprised when my patients say that they do not wear glasses and do not even have a backup since they started wearing contact lenses.  What if they lost their contact lenses?  Or for some reason, they can’t wear their contact lenses?  Especially if the vision without correction is really bad.
  • Use your lubricant.  There’s a reason why it’s included in the starter kit.  Contact lens users are prone to dryness, resulting to occasional redness or stinging sensation.

Other tips:

  • After taking out your contact lens from the container that it’s been soaking in, throw away the solution that’s in the container and dry the container.  At the end of the day, you can use the container again with a fresh batch of solution.  Do not reuse the solution, as much as possible.  That’s because the solution may already be contaminated with microbes that may cause problems on your eyes.
  • Try to store your contact lens, the containers and the solution in your bedroom or somewhere else cleaner than the bathroom.  The bathroom is a source of microbes which might infect your contact lenses and accessories.
  • If you get eye irritation or infection, stop using your contact lenses and have yourself checked so that the proper management can be instituted promptly.  This is where your backup eyeglasses will come in handy.
  • Take “contact lens holidays” once in a while. :)
  • Buy your contact lenses from reputable retailers.  Especially those who can teach you to handle them properly.

So there!  Contact lenses are not really bad.  People just need to take care of them (and their eyes) more.  It’s sad that most complications that we get are actually preventable if only proper care were instituted.