Contact lenses offer a convenient and liberating alternative to traditional eyeglasses. Whether you’re an athlete looking for better performance, a fashion-conscious individual seeking a glasses-free look, or someone who simply finds glasses uncomfortable. If you’re considering trying contact lenses for the first time, this comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of these tiny vision enhancers and ensure a smooth transition into a glasses-free world.
Getting Started: Consultation and Prescription
The first step is to schedule an eye exam with an eye doctor. They will assess your eye health and determine the right prescription for your contact lenses. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have any vision issues, a professional eye exam is essential to ensure the correct fit and type of lenses for your eyes.
Choosing the Right Contact Lenses
Once you have your prescription, your eye care professional will help you choose the most suitable type of contact lenses based on your lifestyle, vision needs, and eye health. There are two primary types to consider:
Soft contact lenses are made of a flexible, water-containing material, these are made using a hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material. They come in various wearing schedules, such as daily disposables, bi-weekly, and monthly disposables.
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses are custom made and contain 0% water. RGP lenses can be worn for several months up to a year making them a more cost effective option.
Proper Cleaning and Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene with your contact lenses is crucial for eye health. Follow these essential cleaning tips:
- Wash your hands: before handling your lenses, always wash your hands with soap and water. Dry them with a lint-free towel to avoid transferring debris to your lenses.
- Use the right multi-purpose solution: only use the cleaning and storage solution recommended by your eye care professional. Using tap water or saliva will contaminate your lenses and will increase the risk of an eye infection.
- Proper lens storage: store your lenses in a clean case filled with fresh solution when not in use. Replace your contact lens case every three months to prevent bacterial buildup.
Inserting and Removing Contact Lenses
Inserting and removing contact lenses may seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice and patience, it becomes a routine part of your daily life.
- Start with clean hands: before touching your contact lenses, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Dry them with a clean, lint-free towel. It’s essential to start with clean hands to avoid transferring any dirt or bacteria to your eyes.
- Inspect the lens: check the contact lens for any debris, tears, or inside-out orientation. To confirm it’s the right side out, place the lens on your fingertip and ensure it forms a “U” shape. If the edges flare outward, it’s inside-out. Gently flip it to the correct orientation.
- Inserting your lenses: stand in front of a well-lit mirror and use your non-dominant hand to hold open your upper eyelid gently. With your dominant hand, use your index finger to hold down your lower eyelid. Place the contact lens on the tip of your index finger of your dominant hand. With a steady hand, place the lens gently onto the surface of your eye. Don’t worry if you blink a few times; this can help to center the lens.
- Removing your lenses: position yourself in front of a mirror and look upward. Using your dominant hand, pull down your lower eyelid with your middle finger to reveal the lens. Using your thumb and index finger, gently pinch the lens to lift it off the surface of your eye. Be cautious not to squeeze too hard to avoid damaging the lens. Once you have a secure hold on the lens, gently remove it from your eye. Place the lens in the palm of your hand or the lens case, depending on whether you plan to clean and store it or dispose of it (for daily disposable lenses).
If you find it challenging at first, don’t worry—handling contact lenses becomes more natural with time. If you continue to experience difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out to your eye care professional for guidance and assistance.
Adhering to the Replacement Schedule
Following the replacement schedule of contact lenses is of utmost importance for maintaining optimal eye health and ensuring clear and comfortable vision. Wearing contact lenses longer than the recommended timeframe can lead to various eye-related issues and complications. Here are several reasons why adhering to the prescribed replacement schedule is crucial:
- Maintaining eye health: Over time, contact lenses accumulate deposits of proteins, lipids, and other debris from your eyes. Different types of contact lenses have specific recommended wearing hours to allow the eyes to breathe, maintain moisture balance, and reduce the risk of infections or irritations. Following the prescribed wearing schedule promotes comfort, and ensures that the lenses provide clear vision throughout their designated wear period.
- Maintaining contact lens quality: Adhering to the lenses replacement schedule is vital to preserve their quality. This ensures that wearers consistently experience the best possible vision and comfort while minimizing the risk of eye infections and discomfort.
- Reducing allergic reactions: some people may develop allergies to the materials used in contact lenses. Wearing old or expired lenses can exacerbate allergic reactions, leading to redness, itching, and discomfort.
- Supporting oxygen flow to the eyes: oxygen is essential for the health of the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. Regular replacement of contact lenses, especially in the case of daily disposables, ensures that your eyes receive adequate oxygen flow reducing the risk of corneal issues.
With proper care and guidance, contact lenses can transform your vision and daily life. Consult your eye care professional to find the best lenses for your eyes and lifestyle. Embrace the freedom and clarity contact lenses offer while prioritizing excellent eye health. See the world clearly, unencumbered by traditional glasses.