Contact lens care and hygiene
Understanding The Contact Lens Fitting Process
Many factors help determine whether a patient is a good candidate for contact lenses. Motivation to be a successful contact lens wearer is key for patient safety. When determining if a patient is a good candidate for contact lenses, optometrists consider optical, physiologic and cosmetic factors.
8 Tips for Healthy Contact Care
- Wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
- Clean your contact lenses carefully and regularly and as directed by your optometrist. Rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly before soaking lenses overnight in sufficient multi-purpose solution to completely cover the lens.
- Store lenses in the proper lens storage case and replace the case at a minimum of every three months. Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
- Use only products recommended by your optometrist to clean and disinfect your lenses. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
- Never re-use old solution. Contact lens solution must be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, even if the lenses are not used daily.
- Follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your optometrist.
- Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
- See your optometrist for your annual contact lens and eye examination.
The Different Types of Contact Lenses
It’s important to understand the different types of contact lenses before selecting which ones to wear. Without proper consideration and an optometrist consultation, contact wearers risk infection and vision impairment.
- Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) – Made of slightly flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the eye. These contacts are easy to put on and care for although they can slip off the center of the eye more easily than other contacts.
- Daily-wear soft lenses – Made of soft, flexible plastic that allows oxygen to pass through to the eyes. These lenses are more comfortable and more difficult to dislodge than RGP. Although, vision may not be as sharp as RGP and they tend to soil easily. Well suited with an active lifestyle.
- Extended- wear – Available for overnight wear in soft or RGP lenses. They can usually be worn up to seven days without being removed. Although, they are associated with an increased risk of complications.
- Extended-wear disposable – Soft lenses worn for an extended period of time, from one to six days and then discarded. They require little to no cleaning and offer minimal risks for infections. Although, vision may not be as sharp as RGP lenses and handling these lenses may be more difficult.
- Planned replacement – Soft daily wear lenses that are replaced on a planned schedule, most often either even two weeks, monthly, or quarterly. They require simplified cleaning and disinfection and tend to be good for eye health. Although, vision may not be as sharp as RGP lenses and may be more difficult to handle than other lenses.
All contact lenses require constant monitoring, with frequent office visits for follow-up care. Professional care is important as not all eye care problems are evident to and can cause permanent damage by the time it becomes evident to the contact lense user.