Wearing contact lenses are a safe and convenient way to correct your vision — as long as they are worn, cleaned and taken care properly whereas careless usage of lenses can put you at risk of developing eye infections or even cause damage to the eye. In other words, contact lenses are the best alternatives to glasses if worn correctly and hygienically because if proper lens hygiene habits are not maintained, then it can even lead to serious sight-threatening infections like bacterial or viral corneal ulcers or Acanthamoeba Keratitis.
Therefore, if a child or teen is not ready to responsibly handle contact lens, then wearing it can be delayed. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Priyanka Singh (MBBS, MS, DNB, FAICO), Director and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Neytra Eye Centre in New Delhi, “Contact lens come in different types based on their duration or validity. It ranges from daily, monthly, and 3 monthly to yearly types. Daily contact lenses have the least chance of infection with low maintenance but high cost compared to yearly contact lens. Whereas, monthly and 3 monthly contact lenses are the most commonly used contact lenses”.
She added, “It is advisable not to use contact lenses beyond their validity time, even if it looks fine and the total duration of wearing contact lenses in a day should not exceed 6-8 hours and it should not be worn during bathing or while sleeping”. She suggested:
1. Always remove your CL before sleeping and never ever sleep with CL on.
2. Before putting your CL, always wash your hands properly with soap and water. Tap dry with lint-free towel and then put on one CL at a time (to avoid mixing up the right and left sides)
3. For removing the CL again wash your hands first, and dry them with a towel to minimize the transfer of infection through your hands or water.
4. After removing lenses, rinse CL with the lens solution and replace the solution present in the lens case with a new one.
5. Always change the solution daily even if the lenses are not being used
Dr. Priyanka firmly advised, “Never replace your lens solution with anything else. Buy a good quality solution, and check the seal and expiry before using it. In case you have eye irritation, do not wash your eyes with water, instead, put eyedrops prescribed by your ophthalmologist. If irritation persists, remove the lenses and consult your Eye doctor. Additionally, stop wearing contact lenses for sometime if you have an eye infection and discard the CL as it might carry the infection”.
For makeup lovers, she recommended:
1. Put contact lenses (CL) before applying makeup
2. Remove CL before removing makeup
3. Do not apply glitters or eyeliners inside the inner rim of the eyes
Highlighting the dos of contact lens wear and care, Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant-Cornea, Ocular Surface and Refractive Surgery at Sankara Eye Hospital in Bangalore, suggested:
1. Do wash your hands before touching your eyes or handling your lenses. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and after rinsing and dry your hands with a clean towel.
2. Do disinfect your lenses when you remove them from your eyes, using only solutions recommended by your ophthalmologist.
3. Do remove your contact lenses before sleeping, swimming, and showering.
4. Do clean your contact lens case weekly with warm water and replace it at least every 3 months or as recommended by doctor.
5. Do carry a pair of glasses with you in case you need to remove your contact lenses. Also, always keep your lens case in handy wherever ever you go.
6. Do change your solution in the lens case daily and clean the lens case in clean water.
Talking about the don’ts of contact lens wear and care, she advised:
1. Don’t over wear your lenses. Replace them as often as your doctor recommends.
2. Don’t rub your eyes while wearing contact lenses.
3. Don’t allow makeup to get into your eyes when wearing contact lenses.
4. Don’t share your contact lenses with anyone.
5. Don’t wear your contact lenses if your eyes feel irritated or appear red. Give them a chance to de-stress before inserting them back into your eyes. In case if the redness in the eyes persists along with blurry vision, kindly consult your ophthalmologist at the earliest.
6. Don’t skip your routine eye exam. Even if your eyes looks fine, eye-health and check-up is very important, particularly if you are a regular user of contact lens.
Always consult your doctor for the correct refractive power of your eyes and contact lenses that best suits your eyes.