Taking Care of Your Contacts: What You Need to Know

Taking Care of Your Contacts: What You Need to Know

Jan 9th 2020

Taking Care of Your Contacts: What You Need to Know

Contact lenses provide numerous benefits. They move with your eyes, they don’t fog up or partially obstruct your vision like glasses do, and they are great for physical activities. Even though contact lenses are a safe alternative to glasses, contacts require special care to prevent eye infections. Whether you are using cheap contact lenses, or top of the line daily lenses, it’s important to pay close attention to the health of your eyes.

According to the American Optometric Association, the biggest factors contributing to infection are:

  • Use of extended-wear lenses
  • Reduced tear exchange under the lens
  • Environmental factors
  • Poor hygiene

We’ve outlined some tips and best practices for your lenses, contact solution, and general eye care to decrease the chances of infection

Cleaning Your Contact Lenses

Cleaning Contact lenses

Properly cleaning your lenses is the first step in proper hygiene. Following these tips will reduce the risk of bacteria buildup and infection.

Wash Your Hands

Before handling your contact lenses, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Then use a lint-free towel when drying your hands.

Use the “Rub and Rinse” Method

  • Rub your contact lenses with your fingers
  • Rinse the lenses with the solution before soaking them

The “rub and rinse” technique can be helpful even if you have a “no-rub” variety of solution.

Do Not Rinse or Store in Water

This is not a proper way to sterilize your lenses. Use your contact solution to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Keep away from saliva

Many people believe they can use saliva and the palm of their hand to clean their lenses. Do not fall into this trap. Again, using anything other than a sterile solution to clean your lenses can be uncomfortable and dangerous.

If you’re looking for lenses that may lower your chances of infection, or if you don’t use lenses regularly, many experts recommend single-use daily disposable lenses. Even then, certain steps are necessary to ensure good eye health. Of course, be sure to consult with your ophthalmologist to find the best lenses for you.

If you’re looking for lenses that may lower your chances of infection, or if you don’t use lenses regularly, many experts recommend single-use daily disposable lenses. Even then, certain steps are necessary to ensure good eye health. Of course, be sure to consult with your ophthalmologist to find the best lenses for you.

Contact Solution Best Practices

A way of cleaning the contacts

While it's crucial to know how to properly wash your lenses , contact solution best practices are just as important for preventing infection.

Use fresh solution

Don’t be tempted to re-use old solution. If it becomes expired, its sterilization effectiveness can deteriorate.

Keep your solution in its proper container

Transferring solution into new containers can affect its sterility as well. So be sure to buy travel-sized solution if you plan on traveling with your contacts.

Keep the tip of the bottle sterile

Don’t allow the tip to touch any surface. Keeping your solution as sterile as possible will help prevent bacteria buildup and infections.

Other Contact Lens Care Tips

A woman setting up the contact lens

Minimize contact with water

Remove your lenses before swimming, using a hot tub, or taking a shower.

Stay on schedule replacing lenses

Using lenses beyond their expiration date can be dangerous. To avoid bacterial buildup and contamination be sure to stay on schedule when it comes to replacing your lenses.

Follow specific lens cleaning and storage guidelines

Pay close attention to any guidelines from your eye care professional as well as any instructions from the contact and/or solution manufacturer.

Keep your Contact Lens Case Clean

  • Rinse the contact lens case with fresh solution.
  • Do not rinse your case with water.
  • Leave your empty case open to air dry.
  • Replace your cases regularly, and do not use damaged cases.

If you are storing lenses for a long period of time, pay special attention to disinfecting

Instructions may be provided by your lenses or solution manufacturer if you are storing your lenses for an extended period of time. Under no condition should you wear lenses that have been stored for 30 or more days without re-disinfecting.

General Eye Care For Contact Wearers

Woman Getting Eye Exam

Caring properly for your lenses and solution is critical, but to bring your eye health full circle, follow these tips on proper eye care for contact wearers.

Know when to consult an ophthalmologist

You should consult an eye care professional if you experience

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Tearing
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Discharge
  • Swelling

Stop smoking

Smokers who wear contacts are more likely to develop eye diseases than non-smokers.

Get Regular Eye Exams

If you wear contacts, go to your provider at least annually.

Remember, contacts and prescription do expire, so visit your eye care professional yearly. Taking care of lenses, solution, and eyes in general help to ensure getting the most out of your contact lenses.

Contact Lens Care for Daily, Bi-Weekly and Monthly Contacts

Is it safe to wear contacts every day? How long can you wear contacts?

While generally speaking contact lenses are safe, if you wear them for too long or don’t adhere to proper lens care, contact lenses can damage or hurt your eyes. It is highly recommended to follow your eye care provider’s instructions for contact lenses.

Different types of contact lenses have different time periods for how long you can safely wear them. Never wear daily disposable contacts for longer than one day. Bi-weekly contact lenses are designed for two weeks of non-continuous wear. “Non-continuous” means that you need to take off your contacts every night. Monthly contact lenses are generally good for one month of non-continuous wear.

Your eye care provider will help you identify the most suitable contact lens schedule and replacement for your eye health and your lifestyle.

How to take care of daily disposable contact lenses?

It is very easy to take care of daily disposable lenses, as they don’t require as much care as bi-weekly or monthly lenses. If it is your first time wearing contacts, you may be prescribed daily contacts as they may be the easiest ones to take care of and, therefore, to start with.

Use daily contact lenses properly by wearing a fresh pair in the morning and tossing it in the trash at night. The single day contact lenses are not designed for multi-day use. These contacts are much thinner and may not hold up for reuse, so wear them only once, in accordance with the recommendations of your eye care provider.

Though you do not need a contact lens solution or a case for daily disposable lenses, as they are not meant to be worn again, it is a good idea to have both on hand. You can use the solution and contact case if you need to remove your daily contacts for a short period of time, like when you want to take a shower or need a few minutes to snooze.

Even though you don’t need to worry about cleaning daily disposable contacts, you will still need to follow other contact care recommendations for each time you put your daily contact lenses on or take them out:

  • Always thoroughly wash your hands with soap (opt for oil-free, lotion-free, perfume-free soap)
  • Dry your hands with a lint free towel prior to handling your contact lenses
  • Avoid your fingernails as much as possible, while handling contact lenses
  • Insert your contact lenses BEFORE you put on makeup or use a hairspray
  • If your eyes feel dry while wearing contacts, only use rewetting drops appropriate for contact lenses

How to take care of 1-2 weekly disposable contact lenses?

Bi-weekly disposable contact lenses (sometimes called 1-2 weekly contacts) are commonly available in a box with 6, 12, or 24 contact lenses. While a single box with 24 lenses is more expensive, it is usually the best value option in the long run and may help you save quite a lot annually.

If this is your first time wearing contact lenses or if you are transitioning from daily contacts to bi-weekly contacts, remember these tips:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a lint-free towel, prior to handling contacts
  • Remember to take your lenses off each night, followed by proper cleaning and storing in a contact case overnight
  • Don’t be stingy with solution - use it while cleaning contacts and to store your contacts
  • Do not reuse any amount of contact solution (remember, you want 100% fresh unexpired solution)
  • If you’re prescribed extended wear, don’t wear the prescribed 1-2 weekly contacts beyond 6 nights, 7 days.
  • Never use water or saliva for cleaning or storing your contact lenses
  • Always check the expiration date on the lens blister and don’t use contact lenses if they are expired (the same goes for your solution)
  • Follow your eye care provider’s instructions for wear and replacement

It can be helpful to have on hand eyeglasses or another pair of contacts with you, in case your eyes get irritated during the day. Especially if you expect to be in an air conditioned room or a dusty environment. Carrying contact lens solution and rewetting drops is always a good idea.

Remember not to take naps in your contacts, as it may significantly decrease the amount of oxygen that your eye gets. The lens itself can also deform while you sleep which can increase the risk of an eye infection, inflammation or abrasions. If your contact lens becomes deformed, toss it in the trash. Do not reuse contacts that dried out either.

If you normally wear only contacts, don’t forget to have eyeglasses with your latest prescription as a backup. Don’t have eyeglasses? We have a wide selection of eyeglasses to choose from at fantastic prices.

If you noticed that your eyes are dry and more tired in the evening, you may choose to take off your contacts when you get home and wear your eyeglasses until you go to bed. It may help give your eyes a little more rest time and feel better.

How do you care for monthly contacts?

Monthly contact lenses are soft disposable lenses designed to be worn no more than 30 days. They usually come in a 6 pack or a 12 pack (the number indicates the number of lenses in a box). WebEyeCare offers popular brands of monthly contacts at the lowest possible prices.

Wearing monthly contacts is a popular choice. It offers convenience and it is usually more affordable than purchasing dailies, if you wear contacts regularly.

What you need to know when you wear monthly contact lenses:

  • Follow your eye care provider’s instructions and wearing schedule
  • Don’t sleep in your monthly contacts (unless eye care professional prescribed extended-wear lenses for you)
  • Throw them away after 30 days since you opened the blister
  • Mark your calendar (or set a reminder on the phone) to remember the first day when you started a fresh pair
  • Don’t overwear your monthly contacts
  • There are restrictions for how many hours a day you can wear your monthly contacts (check with your eye care professional)
  • Always wash your hands with soap and dry them with a lint-free towel before handling contacts

If you worn your monthly contacts only a few days and it has been over a month since the first day, it is safe to toss them away. In such cases, you may also want to ask your eye care provider if daily disposable contacts are an appropriate choice for you. They come in a pack of 30 or 90 lenses and are more expensive per box but maybe less expensive option since you are not wearing them every day.

Traveling with Contact Lenses

If you are a contact wearer then traveling and packing should include a few extra items for you:

  • Always bring a backup - your eyeglasses with the latest prescription
  • Don’t forget rewetting drops for your contacts (especially if you are flying, as the cabin air is air conditioned and dry)
  • Bring unexpired solution and a contact case
  • Travel size solution will allow you to keep the solution onboard with you if you are flying, but it is also a good size to keep in your purse or a backpack while traveling
  • Bring enough contact lenses for the whole length of your travel + 1 extra pair for emergencies
  • Save a copy of your contact lens prescription on your phone

Having a copy of your contact lens prescription may be useful if you accidentally run out of your contacts and need to order another pair. Prior to traveling check the date on your prescription and visit your eye care professional if it needs to be renewed.

Related articles:

Understand your contact lens prescription
What to know before buying contact lenses online?
Problems with contact lenses and how to prevent them