FY(eye): More than 30 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses.

While some people wear contact lenses due to eye conditions that glasses can’t fix, the majority of people wear them for reasons including convenience, appearance and the wider range of vision they offer. Regardless of your reason for choosing contact lenses, it’s important to handle your lenses carefully so you can avoid infections and other eye problems.

Cleanse Your Lenses. You work to protect and keep things out of your eyes, but when you wear contact lenses, you’re putting something in your eye intentionally. Before inserting or removing your contact lenses, always wash your hands well with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel so no bacteria or germs hitch a ride. Try to avoid perfumed or oily soaps that may stick to the lens’ surface because they can cause irritation. Getting into the habit of inserting and removing the same lens first will help you avoid mixing up the lenses for the left and right eye.

When you store your lenses, clean and disinfect them according to the instructions on the label. Always rinse them using the recommended lens solution since not all solutions can be used for all types of contact lenses. You shouldn’t substitute your lens solution with water since it won’t properly disinfect your lenses and could contaminate them. This can lead to serious eye infections.

Fresh solution is important when you store your lenses. In order to avoid contamination, make sure the tip of the solution bottle doesn’t touch any surfaces. Your case should also be cleaned on a regular basis, allowed to air dry, and preferably replaced with a new one every month or two. It’s best to leave your lenses in their case for at least four hours between uses to make sure they are totally disinfected.

“I Finally Got My Lenses In, Now I Need to Take Them Out!?” How often you replace your lenses can range from daily to monthly depending on the type your eye care professional prescribes you. Since wearing guidelines for contact lenses vary depending on the type of lens and wearer, you should follow the schedule suggested by your eye care professional. Daily wear contact lenses have to be removed nightly and extended wear lenses can be kept in overnight – usually for up to a week without needing to be taken out.

You might find it annoying or difficult to take your lenses out each time but your eyes will benefit from periods of rest from your contacts. Wearing your glasses for a couple of days a week gives your eyes a chance to breathe and rest. This will let enough oxygen reach your corneas to keep them healthy. There are some other times when you may want to temporarily remove your contact lenses. Unless you have goggles with a very firm seal, it’s best to take out your contacts before going swimming. In addition to the discomfort you may experience from the chlorine in pools, you’ll also risk infection from bacteria and other microorganisms in any water you swim in.

If you suffer from allergies it helps to remove your contacts when your allergies are especially strong. Allergens can stick to the lenses making allergy symptoms even worse. If you really don’t want to wear glasses, make sure you clean your contacts more often during the allergy season.

Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to wear contact lenses when traveling on airplanes. This is because of the low humidity in aircraft cabins, which contributes to dry eye and lens discomfort. Removing your lenses and applying eye drops in your eyes before and during the flight may help, especially if you plan on taking a nap during your plane ride. If the symptoms become severe, you should probably just switch to eyeglasses when flying.

Getting the Most Out of Your Lenses

Most people who begin using contact lenses start to prefer them and don’t want to go back to wearing glasses. With careful handling of your lenses and good hygiene habits, you can avoid most of the negative effects associated with lenses like infections.

Contacts have improved over the years and many now offer a built-in UV-blocking agent. It’s still important to remember these lenses are not intended to replace sunglasses since they only cover the cornea, not the entire eye.

Make sure you always keep eye drops handy at home, work and while traveling. It’s also important to use drops that are appropriate for your lenses, such as Clear Eyes Contact Lens Relief. When using other types of eye drops be sure to take your lenses out before putting the drops in your eyes. Dry lenses are uncomfortable, affect your vision, and can potentially scratch your eyes. In addition, dry lenses rip more easily and will have to be replaced more often. You can also maximize the performance of your lenses by keeping your appointments with your eye doctor. This will help to make sure your prescription is up-to-date and you’re wearing the lenses that are best for your needs.

This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, dial 911 or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).

References

WebMD

American Academy of Ophthalmology

All About Vision

American Optometric Association

Eye Contact Guide