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Short-Term Care Tips For Happy, Healthy Eyes While Wearing Contacts

August 5, 2020 | By Dr. Alina Reznik and Dr. Debi Sarma

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If you’ve ever worn contact lenses, you can probably attest to their great benefits. For example, how they offer a lighter, less cumbersome vision correction option compared to glasses. Or how they can help enhance vision for specific tasks, like sharpening an athlete’s distance vision to improve accuracy and aim.

But chances are you’re also familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of dry scratchy eyes that comes after a long day of wearing contacts. Or the frustration of one popping out at the worst possible moment.

Fortunately there are a few simple steps contact wearers can take to keep eyes feeling fresh and vision clear. In this two part series, two of 2020 On-site’s all-star optometrists, Dr. Reznik and Dr. Sarma, are breaking down some quick tips for getting the most out of your lenses.

First, let’s talk about steps you should take on a daily and weekly basis to keep your contacts in tip top shape.

So fresh and so clean

One of the most important factors in maintaining proper eye health while wearing contacts is keeping them clean! So whether you wear daily, biweekly, or monthly contacts, here are 10 tips for keeping your lenses in tip-top shape:

  1. Always wash hands with soap and water and allow them to dry completely before handling contact lenses. Never use an alcohol-based sanitizer before touching your contacts as this could cause a chemical burn to the eyes.
  2. Use a multipurpose contact lens solution to clean, disinfect, and store lenses (Opti-free, Renu, Biotrue etc). Saline solution alone is not adequate to clean lenses.
  3. Always rinse your lenses with solution, rub them in the palm of your (clean) hand, and then rinse one more time before placing them in solution overnight.
  4. Put contacts in before make-up to avoid debris getting stuck inside the lens.
  5. Always put fresh solution in the case at night; never “top-off” your solution. In the morning dump the old solution, rinse the case with fresh solution, and let the case air dry with the lid slightly uncapped. Never let the inside of the case cap touch a dirty surface/counter.
  6. Never rinse or wash your contact lens or case in water. Water contains bacteria that can cause an eye infection.
  7. Do not swim, sleep, or shower in lenses as it can increase the risk of infection.
  8. Throw away the contact lens case every 3 months to prevent bacterial build-up.
  9. Seek an urgent eye evaluation if you notice any increased pain, redness, discharge, or loss of vision with contact lens wear. These could be signs of a serious eye infection.
  10. Make sure to keep up with your annual contact lens appointments, and let your eye doctor know if you are having any problems with your lenses or would like more information about the latest contact lens technologies.

Say “Goodbye” on time

When discussing contact lens disposal time with our patients, we often hear: 

“my contacts are good for a few months”

“my contacts feel great, so I wear my daily lenses for 5-7 days”  

I wear my contacts until they feel uncomfortable” 

Most contact lenses have an FDA approved disposal time. The most common disposal times include daily disposable, biweekly disposable and monthly disposable lenses. We would advise replacing your contacts as directed by your doctor. We can usually see if a patient over wears their contacts. Risks of dry eye, infections, and poor vision increase with contact lens overwear. 

For example, an optometrist can see new blood vessel growth in contact lens wearers that don’t replace their lenses adequately because the eyes are aching for more oxygen.

Pro Tip: If you haven't hit the 2 week or 1 month mark and your lenses already feel a bit uncomfortable, or you’re having trouble seeing with them, that may mean some proteins accumulated on the surface of the lenses. Try using a Hydrogen Peroxide-based cleaner like Clear Care cleaning and disinfecting solution. Make sure to leave the lenses in the container overnight for at least 6 hours - any less and you’ll feel a lot of burning when putting the lenses into your eyes.

“I'm all about that Break, 'bout that Break, no treble”

Love taking breaks? So do your eyes! Take a little vacation from your contacts at least 1-2 days a week. Many contact lens wearers do not renew their prescriptions and have 5-10 year-old glasses. If they can’t see with them, why would they use them? Renewing your glasses prescriptions at least every few years will help you see well and feel good wearing them. 

Many people who wear contacts tell me they don’t like glasses because they constrict their peripheral vision or feel heavy on their face. I always recommend a bit larger frame that’s lightweight so you get as close as possible to feeling like you have nothing on your face.

Exciting news: We offer free virtual styling sessions at 2020 On-site that will make findings a pair of glasses fun and easy! Our specialist will find you a pair of glasses that are comfortable and fit your lifestyle.

Have a question or concern about your eyes, or need a prescription extension? Head over to our Telehealth Consultation page to book a virtual appointment with one of our optometrists!

About Dr. Alina Reznik

Dr. Alina Reznik has been providing revolutionizing eye care with 2020 On-site in Massachusetts since 2017. She graduated with a B.A. from Temple University and received her Doctorate from the New England College of Optometry. Following graduation, Dr. Reznik completed a residency in ocular disease and primary care at Lynn Community Health Center and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

About Dr. Debi Sarma

Dr. Debi Sarma is a residency trained optometrist who has built a career around vision health education, and is passionate about improving access to vision care for those in need. Dr. Sarma has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo, as well as a Doctorate degree from the New England College of Optometry. She is a seasoned lecturer on disease topics and loves connecting with people to talk about innovation, culture, and leadership in healthcare.

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