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Tips For Wearing Contacts

February 15 2024

Are you ready to take the plunge into wearing contacts? If so, you’re in good company. According to data from the CDC, roughly 45 million Americans wear contacts. While contacts can be wonderful, it is absolutely crucial to use them properly. Otherwise, you could be risking not only infections, but your eyesight! Read on as a local Marysville, WA optometrist offers some tips for first-time contact wearers.

Never Share Your Lenses

Hopefully this goes without saying, but contacts are not meant to be shared. If you have a pack and your sibling happens to have the exact same prescription, you may be able to give them some of the new ones. However, as soon as you open, wear, or touch them, then it’s no longer safe or hygienic for anyone else to use them. It’s also unsafe to wear contacts that are the wrong prescription. 

Always Go Through Your Vision Care Center

You may find tempting deals at discount stores, online retailers, or flea markets, but this is one area where it’s best to err on the side of caution. These may be from manufacturers that cut costs by cutting quality. It’s one thing to try your luck with a cheap pair of shoes or jeans. Your eye health is not something to gamble with.

Be Diligent About Cleaning

Rule number one? Be extremely careful to keep your contacts clean. Always use sterile solution and cases. 

Don’t Nap With Contacts In

While it’s not the end of the world if you doze off for a few minutes, this is not something you want to make a habit of. The reason for this is that when your eyes are closed, the flow of oxygen to your eyes is limited. Contacts already limit that airflow. If your eyes do not get enough oxygen, you could develop corneal hypoxia, which is quite dangerous.

If you find that you accidentally fell asleep with contacts, take them out and give your eyes a chance to breathe. You may need to use drops to help re-lubricate your eyes. If you notice eye pain or any other issues, contact your Marysville, WA eye doctor right away.

Give Yourself Time To Adjust

Many people struggle with contacts at first. This is understandable: we’ve all been more or less conditioned not to put things into our eyes. You may find yourself flinching when you try to put your finger onto your eyeball, or even trying to back away from yourself. 

Getting over that ‘learning curve’ just takes time and practice. Many people get used to the process within just a few days. If you’ve never worn contacts before, your optometrist will be able to instruct you on how to properly put them in and take them back out.

That said, we do have a few tips:

·        Practice taking them in and out

·        Keep your nails short and smooth

·        Get used to touching your eye 

·        Always wash your hands thoroughly  

·        Don’t put your contacts in if your eyes are red or tired

·        Give your eyes a breather now and then. If you’re staying home, just wear glasses on occasion.

Always Keep Contact Glasses And Cases On You

There may be times when you find that your eyes are feeling itchy or irritated halfway through the day. Keep glasses and a carry case on you at all times.

Ease Into Wearing Contacts

Your eyes may also need to get used to contacts. You may find that they feel dry at first. Use drops as needed to help your eyes adjust. If your eyes are persistently dry, reach out to your optometrist.

Don’t Leave Your Contacts In Too Long

We can’t overstate the importance of this one.  Never ever leave your lenses in past the recommended time. This can lead to serious infections, which can cause vision loss or blindness.

It’s worth noting that in some cases, we wouldn’t even advise wearing the lenses for the maximum amount of time. There are lenses that are marketed as 30-day lenses, but we wouldn’t suggest going that long. Your eyes need to breathe! Ask your eye doctor for more information. 

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes With Contacts In

This is instinctive behavior, but it’s really not a great idea with contacts. You may end up folding the edge of the lens, which can be quite uncomfortable.

Don’t Ignore Discomfort

Even a tiny, microscopic piece of dust or hair in your lens can be uncomfortable. If something feels off, immediately remove the lens and clean it.

Always Wash Your Hands Before Handling Contacts

Never handle your contacts without thoroughly washing your hands first. Even if you think your hands are clean. Your best bet is to use an unscented hand soap. Dry thoroughly. Then, immediately do what you need to do with your contacts.

Make Wearing Contacts Routine

The more you get used to contacts, and work them into your regular daily routine, the easier it will be for you to care for them. One thing that can help here is to always start with the same eye first. This can also help you keep your left and right lenses sorted.

Don’t Use Water To Clean Contacts (Or your eyes)

It may sound logical to rinse lenses with water, or even to rinse your eyes with water if they feel irritated. This is a huge don’t, and can actually be very dangerous. Water isn’t sterile: even filtered or distilled water contains microbes and bacteria.

It’s also best to skip contacts when going swimming.

Keep Equipment Sterile

When it comes to contacts, the difference between clean and sterile can be huge. Never use solution that has been opened, or solution that is expired. You also should never mix solutions together.

Discuss Eye Care Options With Your Doctor

There are quite a few different types of contacts, including hard and soft lenses, disposable lenses, extended-wear lenses, and colored lenses. The right option for you may depend on your eye health and prescription as well as your health and lifestyle. For instance, extended-wear or disposable ones may be a good bet for someone who travels a lot. Your Marysville, WA optometrist can offer valuable insight here.

Don’t Reuse Disposables

Disposable contacts are supposed to be used once and then discarded. It may be tempting to try to save money by squeezing extra mileage out of them, but you may do more harm than good in the long run.

Give Your Eyes A Break

Contacts are great for allowing you to see clearly without the bulk, hassle, or stigma of glasses. However, it’s important to put your eye health before aesthetics. Give your eyes at least one day off a week, so they can rest and breathe.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Contacts can be very freeing, and can release you from the hassle and stigma of glasses. However, it’s important to remember that these are medical devices, not fashion accessories. You may find that many questions come to mind as you are in the process of selecting contacts, or even as you are getting used to them. Please do not hesitate to reach out. That’s what we’re here for!

Our Tips for Wearing Contacts in 2024

What specific types of infections can occur from improper contact lens use?

Improper use of contact lenses can lead to several types of eye infections, with the most common being bacterial conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, which causes redness, itching, and discharge. Keratitis, an infection of the cornea, is particularly serious and can occur from bacteria, fungi, or amoebas, often exacerbated by poor hygiene or over-wearing lenses. Another risk is acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare but severe infection caused by amoebas in water, highlighting the danger of exposing contacts to non-sterile water. These infections can cause significant discomfort and potentially serious vision impairment if not treated promptly.

How often should contact lens cases be replaced to maintain proper hygiene?

Contact lens cases should be replaced at least every three months to maintain proper hygiene and prevent the growth of bacteria and other pathogens. Even with daily cleaning and proper storage, cases can develop biofilms of bacteria that are resistant to disinfection. Regular replacement ensures that these biofilms do not compromise the sterility of the lenses and lead to eye infections. Additionally, it’s advisable to rinse and air-dry the lens case every day and to avoid using tap water, as this can introduce contaminants.

What should a person do if they experience persistent discomfort or irritation while wearing contacts?

If someone experiences persistent discomfort or irritation while wearing contact lenses, they should remove the lenses immediately to prevent further irritation or potential damage. After removing the lenses, they should thoroughly clean them using the appropriate sterile solution. If the discomfort continues even after cleaning, it’s crucial to rest the eyes and switch to glasses. Persistent irritation may indicate an infection or an ill-fitting lens, so it is advisable to consult an optometrist promptly to address any underlying issues and ensure proper eye health.

How can a person tell if their contact lenses are inside out, and what should they do if they accidentally put them in the wrong way?

To determine if contact lenses are inside out, place the lens on the tip of your finger and look at its profile. A correctly oriented lens has a smooth, bowl-like shape with edges that curve inward. If the lens edges flare outward with a slight lip, the lens is inside out. If you accidentally insert a lens the wrong way, it will likely feel uncomfortable and may not sit securely on your eye. In this case, remove the lens, rinse it with solution, and reinsert it correctly to ensure comfort and proper function.

Are there any specific guidelines for wearing contacts while participating in sports or other physical activities?

When wearing contact lenses during sports or physical activities, it’s important to take precautions to ensure eye safety and optimal vision. Use protective eyewear like sports goggles to shield your eyes from potential impact or debris. Also, consider using soft lenses which are less likely to dislodge during vigorous activities. For water sports, avoid wearing contacts to prevent exposure to bacteria and other microorganisms in water that can lead to infections. Additionally, always have a backup pair of glasses or disposable lenses in case of loss or damage during activity.

Are you looking for a great vision care center? Contact us here at Grandview Optometry, your Marysville, WA eye care center, today. We are dedicated to offering great care!

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Grandview Optometry


16616 Twin Lakes Ave
Marysville, WA 98271
(Inside Marysville/Smokey Point Costco)


Monday-Friday: 10:00am-6:30pm
Saturday:  9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

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