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Basic Tips for New Contact Lens Wearers

new to contact lenses, paragon eye center

About 45 million Americans wear contact lenses — that’s about 15 percent of the entire U.S. population and 18 percent of the adult population in the U.S. There are lots of reasons why contact lenses are so popular — probably the biggest reasons of all are convenience and increased self-confidence. If you’re considering contact lenses or if you’ve just made the switch from glasses to contacts, these tips can make sure you adapt quickly and comfortably.

Nine tips for safe contact lens wear

  1. The first tip is pretty straightforward: Relax. Putting in and taking out lenses may seem awkward and unfamiliar at first (after all, didn’t your mom spend years telling you not to put your finger in your eye?). But with a little practice, it’ll become second nature. And while we’re at it, let’s dispel a common fear: It’s anatomically impossible for your contact lens to slip behind your eye. In rare cases, it might slide up behind your lid, but you can easily manipulate the lens back into a location where you can grab hold of it and either remove it or get it back into its proper position.
  2. Make sure your hands are scrupulously clean before handling your lenses. It’s easy to transmit germs from your hands to your eyes, so wash them thoroughly first to remove dirt, germs, and lotions, and then rinse well to get rid of soap residue.
  3. Follow the cleaning directions for your lenses. Unless you have daily lenses that can be tossed out after a single use, you’ll need to learn how to clean your lenses properly — and you’ll need to follow cleaning protocol very precisely to prevent potentially serious infections.
  4. Wear your lenses for as long as the doctor tells you to. Getting used to contact lenses takes a little time, but by following the wear instructions provided when you receive your lenses, you’ll find you adjust a lot more quickly than you imagine.
  5. Replace your lenses according to schedule. It may be tempting to “save money” by wearing your lenses longer than you’re supposed to — or worse, rewearing daily lenses that are supposed to be thrown out after a single use. But really, you could be damaging your eyes and impairing your vision. Lenses are designed to be worn for a specific amount of time, so follow the guidelines specific to your lens type and brand.
  6. Make a habit out of lens insertion. Most people have different prescriptions for each lens to accommodate the unique vision needs of each eye. It may sound silly, but when you always insert your lenses in the same order — for instance, left eye, then right eye — you’re far less likely to mix up your lenses. Always wet the lens with contact lens solution before inserting it. Hold your lower lid down with your middle finger while inserting the lens with your index (pointer) finger. Then blink to center the lens over your pupil. Easy!
  7. Removing lenses is simple too. For soft lenses, first, pull down your lower lid, then look up. Use your finger to move the lens over to the white portion of your eye, then gently pinch it and lift it off. For gas-permeable lenses, open your eyes wide and gently pull the corner of your eye toward your ear. Hold your palm in front of your eye, bend over, and blink. The lens should pop out into your palm.
  8. Clean your lenses carefully. Be sure to only use approved contact lens cleaning solutions — no DIY solutions. And never clean your lenses with water. Water can contain tiny microbes that can wind up causing serious eye infections. Don’t use saliva either.
  9. Finally, don't skip your eye exams. Not only can regular eye exams ensure your lens prescriptions are up to date, but they're also important for making sure your eyes stay healthy. And, of course, call the office if you have pain, persistent irritation or itching, or other symptoms.

Wear your lenses with confidence

Millions of men, women, and teens wear contact lenses every day, enjoying clear, crisp vision, as well as greater confidence in the way they look. If you’re thinking about contact lenses or if you’d like to learn about the lens types we carry at Paragon Eye Center, contact the practice today.

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