Whether you’ve worn prescription glasses your entire life or the need for corrective lenses is new, contact lenses are an attractive option, offering freedoms that glasses simply can’t match. But wearing contacts safely means making a few adjustments.
At Urban Eye Care in Seattle, Washington, Dr. Jennifer Andrews and the compassionate care team help patients adjust to life with contact lenses. It’s simpler than you think! Take a moment to learn what you need to know about making the change to contacts.
The prospect of improved vision excites new contact wearers, as it should. But it’s important to start slowly to allow your eyes time to adjust to the lenses.
Dr. Andrews recommends a timeline to help you build up to wearing your contacts full time. Patients usually start by wearing their lenses for about four hours and gradually adding time hour by hour until they’re comfortable.
Establish healthy routine
Many problems with contact lenses can be avoided by establishing a healthy routine around wearing them.
The primary mandate of contact wearing is to keep everything clean. Wash your hands before handling your lenses. Avoid oily soaps or soaps with strong fragrances; these can irritate your eyes. Use a lint-free towel or paper towel to dry your hands to avoid getting lint on your lenses.
If Dr. Andrews recommends contacts that must be stored at night, be sure to use clean saline solution or storing solution each time you remove your lenses.
Different lenses come with different recommendations on what type of solution to use, so follow all directions from Dr. Andrews about keeping them clean. You also want to keep the storage case clean.
Don’t forget — water and contact lenses are a recipe for disaster. If you run out of saline solution, you may want to rinse off your lenses with tap water. But water can contain tiny microbes that cause eye infections. Even wearing lenses in the shower puts your eyes at risk.
Keep your left and right straight
Switching your left and right lenses is easy to do, so consider creating a routine where you always start with the same eye when you’re putting in your contacts.
If you wear contacts that you store at night, do the same thing when you take them out, starting with the same eye each time and placing it in the correct side of the container. And don’t forget to wash your hands before removing them.
Remove your lenses at the same time
Unless Dr. Andrews approves extended wear contact lenses, it’s important to remember to remove your contacts at night. Get in the habit of removing them at the same time each day to ensure you don’t accidentally keep them in overnight.
Don’t forget sunglasses
If you’ve worn glasses for a long time, you may be used to wearing prescription sunglasses. But most contact lenses don’t offer protection from UV rays. Dr. Andrews recommends every contact lens patient wear sunglasses — even on cloudy Seattle days!
Be sure to choose quality sunglasses with 100% UV protection. If you need assistance selecting frames or want to consider prescription sunglasses for the times when you’re not wearing your contacts, our team members can help.
Have extras on hand
If you’re new to contacts, keep in mind that you may find yourself away from home and need to remove one or both lenses. Keep an extra storage case and small container of solution in your bag or desk for emergencies, along with your old glasses.
There’s nothing worse than being caught out without your prescription. You may also want to keep an extra set of lenses with the solution if you wear disposables.