Written in association with Martin Watson, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon and Shreeti Lakhani, Consultant Optometrist.
Contact lenses have brought joy and convenience to millions; following a good care regime means they can work for you too. Although generally safe for all, serious problems can arise if they aren’t handled correctly. Look after your eyes by looking after your lenses; get on the right track with some basic tips. However, it is important to note that this information does not replace the individualised information that would be provided by a specialist Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon or contact lens practitioner.
Your contact lens practitioner will advise the correct lenses and schedule for you. By wearing other lenses or not following the recommended routine, you could risk the health of your eyes. Do keep a good stock of replacement lenses so you won’t be forced to extend the life of lenses.
Applying your lenses
For the healthiest eyes, develop a safe application routine from day one:
- Always wash and dry your hands prior to handling your lenses
- Apply the same one first so you don’t get them mixed up
- Apply lenses before make up
- Close your eyes when applying aerosols
- Always check if it’s inside out, damaged, dusty or dirty before application
If you wear frequent replacement lenses, rub, rinse and store your lenses in the recommended contact lens solution between every use. If you drop a lens during application, you’ll need to do this again.
Just as you need to take good care with applying lenses, removing them is also a time of risk if you don’t follow a robust routine. Always remove your lenses before removing make up and have an up-to-date pair of spectacles for when you need to remove your lenses.
Ongoing maintenance tips
- Replace your lens case at least monthly
- Clean the lens case with saline or your multi-purpose contact lens solution wipe with a clean tissue, then air-dry between uses
- Discard lenses and solutions once past their expiry date
- Don’t use saliva or water on your lenses or lens case
- Don’t share contact lenses
- Use fresh solution in the case each time lenses are stored
- Avoid eye drops without advice from your contact lens practitioner or Consultant Ophthalmologist
- If lenses are not used for more than a week, clean and store them in fresh solution
- It is not usually recommended to sleep, shower, swim, use a hot tub or do any water sports (unless wearing goggles) while wearing lenses
Always dispose of daily disposable soft contact lenses after use; do not re-use them.
Wearing lenses should enhance your life, not cause you grief. However, if you experience any pain or discomfort, redness, discharge or your vision changes, seek professional advice.