With this in mind, we thought we would put together a few "Eye Care Tips" for inserting, removing and taking care of your contact lenses. This week we will focus on looking after your contact lenses and on Monday we will cover the best techniques for inserting and removing contact lenses.
Contact Lens Care
The types of contacts you use will be a deciding factor on how often and how well you would need to care for them. The contacts that need the least amount of care are daily disposable contact lenses. Not only are these lenses the healthiest for your eyes by far, the fact that every day is a fresh lens day, means there is really no day to day maintenance required beyond removing them when you are ready to go to sleep. The other modalities of lens wear however, even though they might be disposable lenses involves repeat wears and therefore you need to make sure they are in tip top shape and in no way threatening to your eyes.
When it comes to your eye health and contact lens care, the most important point that anyone will stress is… keep your contacts clean. This is not just about making sure they are not scratchy or to increase their lifetime, this is to avoid any vision threatening complications that may arise from dirty contacts.
How to clean contact lenses
Keep your hands clean. You use your hands to clean your contacts, so naturally if your hands are dirty, that could impact the cleanliness of your contacts. Don't just wash your hands, but rinse them as well, making sure you get rid of any residue from the soap you are using. Try using a mild non cosmetic soap for this purpose. Any soap that contains oils, lotions or perfumes is not meant for the delicate cleaning of contacts and could leave your hands covered in a film that will transfer to your contacts while you clean them. After you have cleaned your hands, make sure you dry off with a clean and preferably lint-free towel.
Be mindful of when and how you put your contacts in. There are many different day-to-day activities we don't think of that could impact your contact's health, such as washing your face, putting on makeup or having long nails. Make sure to keep your fingernails short if possible to avoid damaging the contacts and scratching your eye. Put your makeup on after you have inserted your contacts and take them out after you have removed your makeup at the end of the day. Being mindful of when you insert and remove your contacts could keep your lenses in better condition, protecting your eyes for longer.
Keep your contacts clean. You should always use whatever eye drops, disinfectant solution or enzymatic cleaners that your EyeQ optometrist has recommended for you. These are not chosen because an optometrist has a preferred brand, but each solution has different chemicals and purposes and our optometrists will help you find the perfect combination for your eyes. Make sure you follow the instructions fully when using these solutions as some of them like the hydrogen peroxide cleaners must be neutralised properly before you can put your contacts back near your eyes. Non neutralised hydrogen peroxide does not make your whites whiter, but can give a very painful chemical irritation that will surely remind you never to do it again! Never use plain tap water directly on your contacts; apart from micro-organisms that could cause infections and worse, there are a ton of reasons why tap water is bad for your contacts and the combination of tap water and contacts can even be sight threatening. There is a general three step rule of rub, rinse and disinfect, each time you remove your lenses and each step is as important as the next so don’t be tempted to take short cuts and miss out a step or you may end up with partially cleaned lenses and all the risks these present to your eye health.
Keep your contact lens case as clean as you keep your contacts. Your contacts spend hours in these cases and what you do to the one, you do to the other. It is even suggested you replace the case every few months to prevent long term damage reaching your eyes.
If you have any questions or concerns about your contact lenses; how to maintain them or what solutions are best for you, remember that our professional optometrists are only a phone call away. We at EyeQ have stores all around Cape Town and just recently opened a new one up in Pretoria at the Menlyn Mall. Visit our stores page and contact your local optometrist store direct for more details.