Looking after your lenses

Published On: November 30, 2018 09:27 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

How to take care of your contact lenses

Taking proper care of your contact lenses is vital for good eye health. If you are negligent and often forget to take your contact lenses out before sleeping or store them in any other solution besides those formulated specifically for them, then don’t be surprised if you contract serious eye infections.

Also, infection isn’t the only concern here as you could hamper your eyesight too by being careless with contact lenses. However, the right routine and storing techniques can go a long way in ensuring hassle-free vision. Often it’s not neglect but the lack of knowledge regarding how to take care of contact lenses that lands people in trouble. So here we bring to you some basic but important tips to keep in mind if you wear contact lenses or are thinking of getting one.  

Wash your lenses before you put them on and after you take them off 
Yes, that’s correct. Do it twice to be doubly sure. It is an absolute must to clean and disinfect your contact lenses. Also make sure to always use new solution and don’t reuse the solution you used to store the lenses in to clean them out. Cleaning gets rid of eye-produced buildup, cosmetics and other debris that contributes to lens discomfort. However, even after you have cleaned your lens, remember to rinse them once again to remove any loosened debris. Additionally, make sure your hands are completely clean and dry before you wash your lenses so that you don’t transfer any germs and dirt back to your eye. 

Never use anything but contact lens solution to clean and store your lenses 
Most liquids besides your contact lens solution are never sterile and are already contaminated. Never use tap water to store your lenses if you run out of solution as it consists of many impurities that can damage or contaminate your lenses and may lead to a serious eye injury or infection. Running out of lens solution should have you running to the pharmacy for more. There are no two ways about it. And never ever use saliva to lubricate and rewet your lenses, as many people put their lenses in their mouths if and when they dry up as they believe this will help the contact lens be more comfortable in the eye. The truth is it does everything but that. 

Do not sleep, swim or wash your face with your contact lenses on
When you sleep and your eyelids are closed, your tears don’t let enough oxygen get to your eyes as they do when they are open. Thus, sleeping with your contact lenses on could lead to serious discomfort in the eyes, especially after you open them. Burning sensations are quite common and it might also be difficult to remove as the lenses will have moved or crinkled. Additionally, when it comes to swimming with your contact lenses on, your eyes are exposed to all the communicable diseases, germs and dirt present in the pool, and that may lead to serious eye infections, ones that could impair your vision in the long run. Similarly, when you wash your face, your eyes are again exposed to untreated and thus contaminated water, and that too might lead to discomfort and infections.   

If you feel any discomfort at all, remove your lenses immediately 
One mistake many people make when wearing lenses is bearing with the pain that they sometimes feel. However, you should never do this, and should always remove the lenses immediately should you feel any discomfort at all. Discomfort could include blurred vision that doesn’t get better, sudden vision loss, eye pain, infection, swelling, light flashes, unusual redness, or simply just a slight irritation. Make sure you don’t put them back on until you have consulted a trusted and experienced ophthalmologist. These days you get soft lenses that don’t cause any discomfort but sometimes something could go wrong – you could get some dirt in your eye or your eyes feel tired and so you rub them – and that could lead to pain and unease. When that happens, err on the side of caution and take them out. Don’t wait and expect it to get better. 

Clean your lens case frequently, and never top off solution 
Make sure you clean your lens case every chance you get and preferably use the contact lens solution itself rather than tap water as it is a sterile solution. Let it air dry before placing your lenses back in them. Also, no matter how frequently you clean them, plastic lens cases are likely to be infested with dirt and bacteria so it might be a good idea to change them every three months or so. Additionally, never top up or re-use old solution. Always remember to throw away old solution, rinse and top up your contact lens case with fresh solution, as old solution could be contaminated. 

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