You recently switched to wearing contact lenses – congratulations! You’ve joined the ranks.
Did you know an estimated 45 million people in the US are contact lens wearers?
It’s pretty clear why since contact lenses allow people to have better vision without changing their appearance. It makes everyday life tasks like exercising much easier.
But being new to contact lenses is an adjustment, and can be a scary one at that. Continuing to wear contact lenses gets easier with time and with confidence.
Read below for the 7 important tips to remember when wearing contacts for the first time, and you’ll be informed and prepared for this process!
1. Follow the Doctor’s Recommendations and Find the Right Contacts for You
Your eye care doctor will help you find the right contact lenses for you, depending on your medical needs.
It’s also important to use the solution that was chosen for your lenses and follow up with the schedule your doctor sets.
Yet, doing your own research and staying informed about the best brands is important. Your lens habits will also affect the type of contacts. Daily and monthly lenses are more expensive than longer-wear lenses. But they usually feel more hydrated and comfortable.
Discuss your needs and intended contact use with your doctor. Once you have the lenses at home, ready for wear, it’s time to start thinking about hygiene and good contact lens care.
2. Practice Good Hygiene and Care When Handling Contacts
Before you put in your contact lenses, it’s very important to wash your hands. This will prevent germs from getting into your eyes. Dry your hands on a towel or fabric that won’t leave any particles on your hands since that could irritate your eyes.
Use a gentle touch to apply the lenses to your eyes with your index finger. Your eye will want to squint and shut, so you can hold it open using your finger and thumb.
If it feels painful (not just uncomfortable), the lens might be inside out. If the edges are flared outward, flip the lens so that the edges look more like a cup. Once it’s resting on your eye, blink several times to help it stay in place.
Your eyes might start to tear up and you might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but you should try to relax. These are normal sensations when wearing contacts for the first time.
3. Relax and Don’t Scratch Your Eyes
Inserting and removing contacts for the first time can make a lot of people nervous. They worry about scratching their cornea or getting the lenses stuck in weird places.
As long as your hands are clean, you don’t need to worry about touching your eyes. You’ll get more confident the more you put them in and out.
Also, once the contacts are in your eyes, try to relax and allow yourself to adjust to the sensation. It will likely feel awkward and like a foreign object is resting there, but it’s important to not scratch at your eyes.
They’ll naturally settle and start to feel more normal, so trust that this will happen. Once you are comfortable wearing lenses, your routine may start to slip with time, but keeping your contacts clean is essential.
4. Clean Your Lenses with Care
When you’re given lenses for the first time, your doctor will give you instructions for cleaning routines. Your doctor should also recommend a solution to use.
If you’re taking your lenses out and placing them in a case, make sure you change out the solution and clean the case each time.
It can also be helpful to let the case dry out when the lenses are in your eyes. So you can clean the case and leave it face down on a paper towel. Make sure you also replace the case regularly. Every three months is generally recommended.
It’s important in general to prevent protein build-up on your contact lenses and treat proper cleaning as a part of your daily routine.
5. Follow the Wearing and Replacement Schedules
Along with regularly cleaning the lenses and case, it’s important to follow the wearing and replacement schedules.
If you are given short-term lenses, like monthlies or dailies, don’t try to stretch the amount of time you wear them. Follow the schedule your doctor says is safe and make sure you replace your lenses according to the proper schedule.
Some contacts can be worn overnight, but many should not be, so ensure you give your contacts and eyes a resting period.
6. Stay Hydrated When Wearing Contacts for the First Time
A helpful tip to remember when wearing contacts for the first time is to stay hydrated. This is important for your health in general, but will also be useful in keeping your eyes from feeling dry.
Some contact lens wearers will use re-wetting drops. This is helpful if you’re in an environment with very dry air or stare at a computer for long stretches of time.
But make sure the drops you choose will work with your lenses. Talk to your doctor if you feel like your eyes are regularly dry to determine the best care routine.
7. Remove the Lenses Before Sleep
As previously mentioned, not many contacts are meant for overnight wear so sleeping in your contacts regularly can be harmful. It prevents oxygen from reaching your eyes and can build up bacteria.
Your lenses will also last longer if you only use them during the day, so switching to your glasses at night will help both your eyes and your wallet.
It’s also important to remove your lenses before entering a pool or hot tub. These areas have a lot of microorganisms that will soak into your lenses, and could result in an infection.
Following proper contacts care will ultimately be best for your health and for the use of your lenses.
Your Eye Health Is Important
Taking care of your eyes also means regularly visiting your eye care doctor.
In addition to getting an annual eye exam, make sure you regularly assess the right lens brand for you and your needs. If you start off using contacts only on special occasions or every few days, but then begin to wear them more regularly, you may need to switch the type of lenses you use.
Wearing contacts for the first time can cause anxiety, but following the tips above will ease this process. Schedule an appointment with us today to get fitted for contacts and discuss the right type for you!