Contact lens care
Taking proper care of your contact lenses can prevent infectionMillions of people are contact lens wearers; enjoying the freedom of clear vision without the encumbrance of eyeglasses. Although contact lenses provide a comfortable solution to the problem of compromised vision, proper care and maintenance is required to ensure the lenses stay in optimum condition.
The two main types of contact lenses are soft lenses and oxygen or gas permeable lenses. Here are a few helpful tips on contact lens care.
Soft lenses are considered the most comfortable type of lenses; however, they do come with drawbacks. Soft lenses do not provide the clarity of vision that hard (or permeable lenses) do, they tear easily and if worn in excess actually deprive the eye of necessary oxygen, which results in vascularization, a condition in which blood vessels from the back of the eye grow forward in search of more oxygen. This condition can become serious and hinder eyesight.
Soft lenses should not be worn for more than twelve hours a day in order to provide optimum health to the eye.
Proper care of soft lenses includes purchasing storing and cleaning solutions. These are now available in combination solutions making contact lens care much less complicated. Store the lenses in the solution and before wearing; rub gently with a fingertip while holding the lens in the palm of your hand to remove any dirt and debris, which may be attached to the lens. Rinse again before putting the lens in your eye. Make sure when storing the lenses you use new solution.
Soft lenses are available in long wear, monthly disposables and daily disposables. For daily or monthly (disposable) lenses, a simple routine of storing, cleaning and disinfecting is all the care that is required. For long wear lenses, it may be necessary to clean the lenses with a monthly protein remover. This will depend on the kind of lenses you have and simply require dissolving a protein remover in solution and soaking your lenses for a designated time period.
Oxygen Permeable Lenses/Gas Permeable
This type of lens, which has replaced the now obsolete "hard" contact lens, provides the eye with more oxygen than soft lenses do. Made from silicone, these lenses allow oxygen to pass through the lens and penetrate the eye, providing a healthier environment. These lenses provide clearer vision, are longer lasting and do not tear the way soft lenses do, which ultimately means they are less expensive than soft lenses.
Because these lenses are made from a harder material than soft lenses, they do not absorb as much foreign material from the eye and the environment that soft lenses do, making them easier to clean.
The downside to oxygen permeable lenses is that unlike soft lenses, they are not instantly comfortable and require an adjustment period.
Oxygen permeable lenses require the same kind of contact lens care as soft lenses; they need to be stored in a sterile solution and cleaned daily. Cleaning of protein and other enzymes will be required less often than soft lenses.
* Never touch the tip of the solution bottles with your fingers. This can contaminate the solution. Wash your hands before handling your lenses.
* Unless your lenses are extended wear and designed to be worn for up to thirty days without being removed, do not sleep in your lenses. Not only does this cause damage to the lenses, it is also very unhealthy for your eyes.
* Avoid getting tap water on your lenses as this can cause a bacteria called Acanthamoeba to get on the lenses which in turn can cause serious eye infections.
* Clean your contact lens accessories regularly.
* Throw out your lens case once a month to avoid infection.
* Never wear a damaged lens as they can scratch or cause other injury to your eye.
* Do not "over wear" your lenses.
Proper contact lens care requires diligence; however, the millions who enjoy the convenience of contact lenses over eyeglasses would tell you the maintenance is worth it.