Do’s and Don’ts with Contact Lenses

Eye Health

 Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health Series Continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill Talking About Contact Lens Care.

Many young people these days prefer not to wear glasses to correct short-sightedness and other refractive errors, preferring to wear contact lenses either for cosmetic or sports reasons. Regardless of the reasons, it is important to know how to look after them to avoid contact lens related problems.

There are basically two general categories of contact lenses – soft contact lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses requiring different care requirements. There should be no short cuts in the care of these lenses.

Some pointers to take note of are as follows:

1. CLEAN YOUR HANDS: This is the most basic and crucial step before you handle any contact lenses. Failure to do so can result in serious eye infections. It is mandatory to wash hands with soap and clean water, dry them with a clean dry towel, before handling contact lenses. Make sure that the soap is free from moisturizers as it may then end up in the eye, only to cause problems such as eye irritation, eye pain, redness or blurred vision.

2. USE PROPER DISINFECTING SOLUTIONS: It is important to use the proper disinfecting contact lens solutions and enzymatic protein removing cleaners if you are not wearing daily disposable lenses. Never ever use tap water or any other solutions to wash or clean your lenses. Microorganisms easily contaminate the contact lenses and may lead to eye infections. Clean each contact lens carefully by gently rubbing the surface between your palm and fingers. Remember to clean your contact lens case daily too. The contact lens case will also need to be replaced every three months. Never leave the contact lens storage case in the bathroom where moisture and bacteria can settle on it.

3. MAKE-UP: All make-up should be applied after putting on the contact lenses and not before doing so. Likewise, take out your contact lenses before removing eye make-up.

4. LEARN HOW TO WEAR THEM CORRECTLY: Learning the correct method of putting on and taking off contact lenses is essential to prevent the accidental scratching of your corneas or tearing the soft contact lenses. Learn how to recognise whether the contact lenses are the correct way up by placing them on the tip of the finger before putting them on. Make sure that they are the right side up. If not, do remove them and reinsert them into the eyes.

5. DO NOT SWIM WITH CONTACT LENSES: Never ever swim with your contact lenses on. This is because there is a risk of getting an eye infection from a kind of bacteria commonly found in swimming pool water, tubs, oceans and lakes. The organism is called Acanthamoeba. Should this organism get into the eye through contaminated contact lenses, it could lead to an eye infection that is difficult to treat.

Additional pointers:

  1. Remove your contact lenses if you experience any symptoms of eye irritation, redness or eye discharge, excessive tearing, burning, blurred vision or eye pain.
  2. Remove your contact lenses if they feel uncomfortable as they may be torn.
  3. Should you have eye problems associated with contact lens wear, don’t throw them away as you may be required to bring along the lenses when you see your eye doctor as he  may wish to send them to a laboratory to identify the organisms that may be causing your eye problems.

Contact lenses when used correctly, have been a safe alternative to correct refractive errors like myopia. However, if you do not follow proper procedures, you may be unnecessarily exposing your eyes to problems. If you are in doubt about any contact lens related eye problems, do seek professional help.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

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