Over the past 8 years, I have observed different lens care handling habits (good and bad) in different people and have also seen some colleagues battle with continuous eye infections. So I am going to share my knowledge and observations on the subject, based on real life experiences (my own and others'). Hope this post helps in making your contact lens-wearing experience more comfortable. Do not miss the DOs and Don'ts at the end!
Read my post on contact lenses and makeup HERE.
CLEANING CONTACT LENS CASE:
Clean your lens case thoroughly every 2-3 days using a baby toothbrush and a non-oily non-moisturizing soap. Make sure to clean the case, the caps, the bridge joining the left and right lens pots and the rings on the case and cap too.
Rinse clean with warm water (or clean with normal water and soak in warm water for a few minutes). Leave on any clean surface to dry in air (dries in 5 minutes or so). This will help remove any bacteria film buildup on your lens care (suggested to me by a Bausch and Lomb officer many years ago).
Keep your lens case in a place away from dust.
CONTACT LENS CARE ROUTINE:
When you buy a pair of contact lenses, the medical practitioner is supposed to train and educate you thoroughly on contact lens handling and care. Your contact lens care routine includes Cleaning, Rinsing, Disinfecting and Storing your lenses. You just need one multipurpose lens solution to do all these for you. On your part, all YOU need to take care of is HYGIENE.
CONTACT LENS MULTIPURPOSE SOLUTIONS:
The most popular multipurpose lens solution brand is Renu from Bausch and Lomb. Renu Fresh is for yearly lenses as it contains Hydranate to clean protein build up, which is a main problem with long-wear/yearly lenses. Renu Sensitive is recommended for people who use disposable lenses. The less the wear time of lenses, the less the protein buildup. Renu sensitive does not contain anything for protein cleaning and is gentler than Renu Fresh. To know more about the common ingredients in these two, see THIS article.
The latest addition to the family is Bio True, which is actually extremely gentle. I feel some irritation when I use Renu Fresh, but bio true contains ingredients that soften your eye lenses making them more comfortable to wear. Contact lenses can be stored in Biotrue multi-purpose solution for up to 30 days in an unopened lens case. If stored longer than 30 days between two wears, lenses will again need to be cleaned and disinfected prior to use.
There are more brands in the market like Silklens, Puresoft, Optifree REPLENISH and Complete. I have used 'Complete' many many years ago but so far Bio True is the best for me.
A small percentage of lens wearers may be allergic to the chemicals present in contact lens solutions. If that is the case, check with your doctor for preservative-free lens solutions.
EYE WETTING DROPS
Based on your eyes' tear production capability or your work habits (people who work long hours in front of the computer), your doctor may suggest you to use moisturizing eye drops, which are specifically available for people who wear contact lenses. If your eyes dry out very often making you uncomfortable within a few hours of wearing lenses, check with your doctor for such lubricating drops.
CONTACT LENS HANDLING
- Always Wash your hands before you start wearing your soft lenses as dirt, germs, moisturizer or even sunscreen can cause stinging or other problems.
- Use a normal non-oily/non-moisturizing soap.
- Wipe hands with a lint-free towel. Find a couple of lint-free small hand towels that you can keep separately for this purpose only.
- Rinse your lenses every time before you wear them and also when you put them back in the lens case.
- Every time you wear lenses, discard the solution in the lens case. Pour in fresh solution when you put the lenses back in the case at night. Do NOT "top-up" by pouring some fresh solution in the old used solution in the case.
- If you are not going to wear your lenses for a few days, make sure to change the solution every 2-3 days (recommended time is everyday), Exception: Bio True Solution. I have seen most girls use the same solution for days on even when they are wearing the lenses daily. Poor hygiene is the main reason behind serious eye infection from lenses. I even know a colleague who always had an eye infection every couple of days and still won't bother to rinse her lenses or wash her hands before wearing them. But if you value your eyes, so can spend an extra minute here.
- If you have long nails, please take extra care while handling your lenses since nails can damage/cut your soft lenses. Sometimes there is such a minute damage in the outer circumference of the lens that you can't even figure out but it stings like needles in the eyes. So please devote an extra minute there.
- When travelling, always keep an extra pair of lenses (if you wear disposable lenses) or keep your eye glasses (if you wear yearly lenses) for emergency.
- Always carry your lens case and a small lens solution bottle in your handbag wherever you go. At any hint of itching or irritation, feel free to remove and store your lenses in the lens case and switch to glasses (your preference). Your vision is more important than your looks.
- Do NOT wear contact lenses and makeup if your eyes are swollen, red or infected.
- Do NOT store away your lenses in plain or salty water at night just out of laziness.
- Do NOT share contact lenses or contact lens solution.
- Never touch the tip of your contact lens solution bottle.
- I have known many girls who pop in contact lenses in the eyes, the moment they wake up, without caring to wash their hands. This is another bad habit that often leads to redness and irritation. Wearing your glasses for a few minutes won't harm, till you clean up to wear lenses.
- Do NOT wear lenses during swimming, bathing, sauna, spa or hot tub treatments and also in the rain, in short avoid bringing your lenses in contact with water. Also, the chlorine in swimming pool water may permeate through your lenses causing extreme discomfort, besides the risk of bacterial or microbial infections from pool water.
- Do NOT share eye-makeup. Very very important. At times people take it personally when you refuse to share your makeup. I have faced it many times. Just tell them firmly yet politely "Sorry, I don't share my makeup or comb".
- Do NOT apply normal eyeliner to your eye's waterline. Always use good quality, waterproof and opthalmologically tested eye makeup.
- Do NOT wear your lenses when you go to a hair salon. Any fumes from the sprays used there can damage your lenses.
- Do NOT wear your lenses when getting your hair colored, permed or getting any other chemical treatment.
- Do NOT use aerosols (hairspray, deodorants, room freshener sprays, strong perfumes etc.) with your eyes open, when wearing lenses. Spray and move away from that place for a few minutes till aerosol particles in the air have dispersed. Or wear your lenses quite some time after applying a hair spray or perfume.
- Do NOT wear lenses with freshly applied nail paint. In short, do NOT wear lenses in any place where they may be exposed to chemical fumes/gases (Eg. A room with freshly painted walls or furniture, with stinging paint fumes)
- Do NOT wear contact lenses (especially tinted or colored ones) when undergoing any treatment or surgery that involves radiations like laser etc. Such radiations can pass through the lenses and transfer the color pigments from the lenses to your retina leading to complications.
- This last one is out of experience :) Do NOT wear lenses after chopping green chillies as the 'sting' remains on your fingertips hours after you had chopped chillies and even washed your hands several times. If you do, your lenses will sting and water your eyes for 2-3 days once this thing gets to the surface of your lenses.
Live Happy! Live Comfortably!