Do you know millions of contact lens wearers have poor contact lens hygiene and it results in eye infections and few visits to eye doctor every year! It is important for those who wear contact lenses to properly clean their lenses and get a checkup once a while with eye doctor.
What are your contact lenses made of? To keep it clean and infection free, understand what your contact lenses are made of. There are two types of contact lenses – Soft and hard. Hard contact lenses that are used today are made of plastics and silicone or fluoropolymers. They hold their shape well.
Soft contact lenses are more comfortable and are preferred ones. Based on the materials that they are made of Soft contact lenses are three types:
- Soft contacts – made of pliable hydrophilic or water loving plastics called hydrogels. They absorb water to keep the lenses soft and supple
- Rigid gas permeable contacts – also called GP lenses are made of gas permeable material and are like hydrogels. These allow oxygen to pass through the lenses to the cornea. They do not contain much water but are porous.
- Hybrid contact lenses -these are rigid GP central optical zone surrounded by a peripheral fitting zone mad of soft contact lens material.
Depending on how one wants to wear soft lenses are – Daily wear, extended wear (remove once a week or so), disposable (expensive and convenient), colored contact lenses (change one’s eye color).
Whatever the choice is, millions of people who wear contact lenses carry a risk of eye infections. Reasons for this is:
- Use of extended wear lenses
- Damage or tear under the lens
- Poor hygiene
- Environmental factors – dust, heat etc.
Take care of lenses
- Before handling contact lenses, wash hand using soap and water. Dry hands with a lint free cloth/towel
- Remove lenses before going for swimming or in a hot tub – means minimize contact with water
- Do not rinse lenses in water or store in water
- Do not put lenses in mouth to moisturize, saliva is not sterile.
- Do not use saline solution and rewetting drops to disinfect lenses
- Change or replace and wearing contact lenses should be as directed by your eye care doctor
- Use specific cleaning and storage guidelines as described your eye care professional.
- Rub and rinse: While cleaning rub contact lenses using your fingers and rinse with solution before soaking them. Rub and rinse method is considered as the best method over no rub method.
- Keep contact lens clean and replace every 3 months. Rinse the contact lens case with fresh solution. Dry the case. As cases can be a source of infection and contamination. Throw away damaged lenses case.
Contact lens solution:
- Do not re use old solution or top off the solution
- Do not transfer the solution to a different bottle
- Do not allow the tip of the bottle meet any surface – keep it sterile
- Understand, how long you can store lenses in the solution and how often you should change the solution.
Lenses and eyes care:
- Stop smoking – it can only harm your eye sight
- Do not use false or decorative lenses – not good for your eyes- eyes can be damaged permanently
- If you are wearing lenses, go for regular checkups – annual examination is a must.
- Get appropriate prescription after the expiry of the lenses as contact lens prescription do expire.
Remove contact lenses if you have any symptoms of redness, pain, tearing, blurry vision or any sort of discomfort and see your eye doctor immediately.