If wearing glasses is inconvenient or you simply want a break from frames sometimes, contact lenses can be an ideal alternative. To clear up the facts from the fiction, here is the truth about wearing contact lenses.
Adapting to Contact Lenses
When you first put in contact lenses, you will be consciously aware of their presence. Most people stop noticing soft contact lenses after just a few days, sometimes even sooner. If you choose rigid gas permeable or hybrid lenses, it may take longer — often a couple weeks or more. Only in rare cases do people experience discomfort into the long term.
Choosing the Right Contact Lenses
You can choose from a variety of different types of contact lenses. Factors to consider include:
- How often you will be wearing contact lenses. If you plan to wear lenses every day or reasonably frequently, your best option will likely be conventional lenses. These last for one month, several months, or one year. If you want contact lenses only occasionally, a better option is disposable. These can be for daily wear or extended wear, which you leave in for up to two weeks including at night.
- Whether you need UV protection. Some contact lenses block UV light to protect your cornea. This reduces your risk for sunburn of the eye (called photokeratitis) and growths like pinguecula and pterygium.
- Refractive errors. Contact lenses are available as bifocals, to correct your sight as you sleep, and for astigmatism.
Inserting Contact Lenses
As you are unfamiliar with touching your eyes, it will initially feel strange to insert your contact lenses. You need to wash and rinse your hands well, avoiding oily soaps, products with lanolin, and moisturizing lotions. Make sure your hands are completely dry.
Always start with your right eye to avoid confusion. It is best not to mix up your contact lenses, even if your prescription is the same for both eyes. Take the first lens out of the solution and place it on the end of either your index or middle finger. Use the other fingers to hold your eyelids to stop yourself blinking. Stare forward into a mirror for guidance.
Knowing If a Lens Is Inside Out
When a contact lens is inside out, it feels uncomfortable. At the beginning, when the sensation of wearing contact lenses is new anyway, it can be difficult to tell. This means you need to rely on checking the shape. When contact lenses are the right way round, they look like soup bowls. When they are the wrong way, they have extended rims.
Removing Contact Lenses
To remove contact lenses, follow the same hand hygiene procedure. Then, holding your upper eyelid out of the way, pinch the sides of the lens with your index and middle fingers. Although removing contact lenses is easier than inserting them, you will need to take care not to drop the lenses. Store each lens in solution as soon as you have removed it.
Although wearing contact lenses can make a big difference to your life, they are not very difficult to use and take care of.