Despite their outward simplicity, contact lenses accomplish a complex job. These thin optical devices, which allow people to see clearly, date all the way back to 1887 – but it isn’t clear who we can thank for the invention. Some sources say that German glassblower F.A. Muller created the glass contact lens in 1887, while other reports say Swiss physician Adolf E. Fick and Paris optician Edouard Kalt teamed up to create the first glass contact lens in 1888 (source). Modern contact lenses are generally comfortable and easy to use, but they require more upkeep than glasses. Learn how to take care of contact lenses to keep your eyes healthy.
How to Take Care of Contact Lenses
The most common type of contact lens is the soft contact lens. If properly taken care of, soft contact lenses shouldn’t pose a threat to your health. Just follow the care guidelines for how to take care of contact lenses from your optometrist.
However, anytime you touch your eyes, you put yourself at risk for infection. There are three main habits to avoid when it comes to using contact lenses:
- Wearing a pair of lenses longer than recommended by your optometrist.
- Exposing your eyes to large amounts of pollution or water.
- Failing to wash your hands before insertion.
Contact Lens Upkeep
The recommended care plan for your lenses can vary depending on whether or not you go with single, weekly, or monthly use pairs. Single-use contact lenses are great for beginners because they are the safest type of lenses. Since these lenses are disposed of after one use, they are less likely to harbor bacteria. Some lenses can only be worn during the day, while other lenses can be safely worn overnight. In the United States, the FDA determines which contact lenses can be worn overnight, but most lenses sold in the U.S. are approved for daily wear only.
Consult with your eye care professional to get personalized advice about how to take care of contact lenses. No matter which contact lenses you go with, there are actions you can take to prevent eye infections:
- First and most importantly – wash, rinse, and dry your hands before you insert your contacts. Even if you think you’ve washed your hands recently, there could be thousands of germs or even lotion or soap residue on your fingers.
- Check to make sure your contacts and lens care solution aren’t expired. Many people do not realize that these products have a limited shelf life, just like medicine or food.
- Read your contact lens solution label carefully. Not all types of solutions are compatible with soft contact lenses, and sometimes mixing two different types of contact solutions can be unsafe.
- When you remove your contact lenses, follow the instructions on your solution bottle to sanitize your lenses.
- Most solutions are multipurpose, which means they clean, rinse, store, and refresh your contacts. However, some eye care professionals recommend that you spend at least 10 seconds a day rubbing your lenses with the solution, even if you use multipurpose solution.
- It is important to sanitize your contacts after each use to remove mucus and germs.
- Never reuse your lens solution between wears.
- Rinse your contact case each day with the solution that your optometrist recommends, and let it air-dry when not in use.
- Don’t use tap water or saliva to clean your lenses or lenses case. If your lenses must be removed during the day, purchase a travel-sized bottle of your solution. However, never transfer your solution to a different container, because doing so can cause contamination.
- Don’t wear damaged or cracked lenses, because they can scratch the surface of your eye.
- If you experience any redness, pain, blurred vision, or increased sensitivity, remove your contacts and make an appointment with your eye care provider.
If you have any questions about caring for contact lenses, seek help from an optometrist. And if you live in southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location).