Every year more people around the world are choosing to wear contact lenses regularly. Whether you opt for daily or extended wear lenses, you can find an option suitable for your lifestyle.
That being said, in order to get the most out of your contact lenses and to ensure that your eyes stay healthy, there are some steps and precautions you need to take.
To help you maintain your eye health, the best eye center in Dubai has put together this guide with everything you need to know about looking after your eyes when you wear contact lenses.
1. Make sure you have the right prescription
In order to keep your eyes healthy, it is crucial that you are wearing the appropriate contact lenses. As these are medical devices, contact lenses require you to have a prescription that’s different from your eyeglass prescription. The only way to know your accurate prescription is by having your eyes checked by a professional optician and Contact Lens Practitioner.
Every person should schedule an annual eye check to ensure that they are using the correct prescription and monitor any eye health changes. Unfortunately, wearing the wrong contact lenses (either an old prescription or ones that are fitted poorly) will lead to discomfort, distorted vision, and additional adverse side effects.
If you are experiencing burning, stinging, or itching eyes, or have reduced sharpness in your vision, you likely need a new prescription, or treatment for contact lens intolerance. Additionally, light sensitivity and headaches are signs that your contact lenses’ prescription might be outdated, and aren’t working as well as they should for you.
2. Have a contact lens routine
Once you have the proper prescription for your eyes, it is crucial to maintain a routine to ensure safe contact lens wear. First and foremost, you always want to wash, rinse, and dry your hands prior to touching your contact lenses. The last thing you want is to have dirty hands when you are handling these sensitive items.
Long nails can make insertion and removal of contact lenses a challenge, and might harbour microbes if not kept meticulously clean under the nails.
Similarly, you also want to clean, rinse, and disinfect your lenses in accordance with what has been directed by your eye care professional. Never utilize anything other than their suggested solutions, and don’t use water from your tap to rinse them. This water might contain impurities that can contaminate or harm your contact lenses.
If you are storing your lenses, make sure you use fresh solutions each time, and leave them in a closed case until you are ready to wear them. Contact lens cases are often a source of bacterial growth so, once you have removed the lenses from your lens case, remember to rinse it with the prescribed solution and then leave it to air dry. This will help to keep the case clean and fresh for the next set of lenses.
3. Safely put in (and take out) your contact lenses
Once your hands and contact lenses are clean and ready-to-go, it is time to put them on your eyes.
First, make sure that your contact lenses aren’t inside out, as this can cause discomfort and reduce the quality of your vision. To check this, place the lens on your finger-tip and look at the edges. If they are flaring out, then your contact lenses are inside-out.
Next, use your right hand to carefully hold your upper eyelid to reduce the likelihood of you blinking or your eyelashes getting in the way. Use your other fingers to pull down your lower eyelid gently.
Look upward while you steadily move the lens into your eye. Once the lens is in, close your eye for a couple of seconds to give the lens a chance to get comfortable. Then, repeat the same procedure on the other side.
When it is time to take out your contact lenses, you want to make sure that your fingers are clean and dry before you gently touch the lower edge and then slide the lens down your eye. Gently squeeze the lens between your thumb and index finger to remove it.
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4. Choose lubricant and eye drops carefully
In many cases, your eye care professional may suggest a lubricating solution that you can use while wearing your lenses to make them more comfortable. If this is the case, you always want to take their recommendation as not all lubricants work the same way and are healthy for your eyes.
Similarly, not all eye drops are suitable for contact lens wearers, as some can damage both the lenses and your eye. If you use eye drops, you want to make sure that you have preservative-free eye drops as these are the least toxic and much less likely to be detrimental to your long-term eye health.
If you have any questions or concerns, it is always advised that you consult with your eye care professional.
5. Spend time without your contacts in
To ensure eye health, you also want to spend time without wearing contact lenses to give your eyes a break. Generally, it is recommended that you don’t wear your contacts for at least one day per week and instead opt to wear your glasses.
Moreover, it is best to give your eyes a couple of hours every evening to recover from the microtrauma caused by wearing contact lenses. For this reason, get into the habit of taking your lenses out after dinner.
Of course, you never want to sleep in your contact lenses if they are designated as Daily Wear lenses, as this can be significantly detrimental to your eye health. Sleeping in your lenses increases the likelihood of developing an eye infection or Contact Lens Intolerance, as it prevents the oxygen and hydration your eyes need to combat bacterial invasions.
Wearing contact lenses can bring a significant amount of benefits to your life, including improved viewing ease, greater eye comfort, wider visual field access, and freedom to do whatever activities you want.
However, it is crucial that you have the right prescription and appropriate fit for your eyes. Therefore, before you purchase contact lenses in Dubai (or wherever you reside), make sure you make an appointment with your eye care professional.
Do you wear contact lenses? What steps do you take to ensure that you are maintaining your eye health while wearing them?
Let us know your thoughts and any additional insights in the comments below!
Dr. Millicent M. Grim, Specialist Ophthalmologist & LASIK Specialist, is the Medical Director of Gulf Eye Center in Dubai. Since 2002, Gulf Eye Center’s highly qualified ophthalmologists and optometrists/ODs have been successfully treating a wide range of eye conditions using advanced techniques. They also provide comprehensive eye care and vision restoration procedures for people of all ages.
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