Getting the Right Contact Lens Care for Your Needs
Contact lenses have long been considered a more convenient alternative solution to eyeglasses in correcting refractive errors in human vision. In many other cases, they have also become a cosmetic solution as well, allowing people to sport different lens colors for their iris. A few non-refractive eye disorders can also benefit from contact lenses designed for therapeutic purposes. In nearly all cases, you need to care for your contacts to ensure continues usefulness as long as their limits allow. Unless the contact lens is one of those special corrective intraocular lenses that are surgically implanted, the solution is generally not permanent and will require wearers to take them off at certain times of the day, particularly before going to sleep.
Disposable Contact Lenses
Some of the latest developments in contact lenses are single-use lenses that are disposed off after use, usually at the end of the day for daily wear soft lenses or for a few days as indicated in their allowed wear duration. Extended wear silicone hydrogel contacts can generally be worn up to 6 days without taking them off. There are also continuous use contacts which you can wear for 30 days. But once you take them off, they go straight to the trash can. They certainly won’t require any kind of maintenance cleaning. But for the rest of contact lenses used today, a routine maintenance regimen is needed to make them retain their qualities.
Contacts that Need Care
Contacts commonly used today are the rigid gas permeable (RGP) and soft lenses. Each type require specific care regimen. While some brands of continuous wear lenses can be worn from 1-3 months up to a year without removing them, RGP lenses can last for years with the right maintenance routine. They need regular disinfecting and cleaning to ensure lens clarity and prevent eye infections caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and acanthamoeba that form a biofilm on the lens. There are just a few things to ensure when wearing contact lenses.
- Make sure your hands are clean when handling contacts. You can use any cleansing fluid or soaps but the important thing is that your hands are thoroughly rinsed. Otherwise, any chemical trace on your fingers that may stick to the lens can cause all sorts of irritation to your eyes that can trigger pain, blurring or more serious ailments.
- Learn how to correctly put on and take out your contacts. This is basic to ensure you get it right and not damage either your eye or the lens.
- Wear you contacts as indicated in terms of the amount of time it can be worn continuously or as prescribed by your ophthalmologist or optometrist. Wearing it beyond the specified period might save you money but it is another of those penny wise pound foolish actions.
- The type of contact lens worn has its specific care routine as far as the cleaning solutions needed or as specified by the manufacturer. You should always follow the recommended cleaning solutions. Some multipurpose solutions may contain Thimerosal which may not be compatible to or tolerated by some people allergic to it.
- Your hands may be clean but the solution bottle tip may already be contaminated which can create problems. Don’t let the tip of your solution bottle touch any surface like your finger or the lenses as they are about to be cleaned. You will have to replace the entire bottle if you suspect the tip has been contaminated.
- Hydrogen Peroxide solution is generally used to disinfect contacts in one or two step systems. Be sure to rinse the lens in saline to remove any trace of hydrogen peroxide which is a strong oxidizer and alkali irritant you will not want to enter your eyes.
- Regardless of the disinfecting chemical solution used, always rinse the lens in a saline solution which is most commonly used for the purpose. Just be aware that saline solutions do not disinfect but are used to prepare the contacts for immediate use.
- Know if your contacts can still be maintained. You should never wear one that causes irritation or blurred vision or when your eyes are irritated or inflamed. Get your contacts examined to check for any defect, scratch, abrasion, cracks or tear. These surface aberrations on the lens surface can irritate your eye surface and cause blurred vision. There’s nothing you can do with such damaged lenses and should be disposed and replaced right away.