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contact lens care made easy article

Few things affect the quality of your life more than your eyes--never put them at risk. Contact lenses are prescription medical devices. To make sure your eyes and vision stay healthy while wearing contact lenses, please follow these guidelines or the instructions recommended by your doctor.

Warning: Ocular complications and/or long-term corneal damage are the consequences of contact lenses that are worn longer than recommended. Oftentimes, your lenses will still feel fine even when you are over-wearing them. Do not wear your lenses overnight unless they are approved for extended wear and your doctor has discussed this with you. Overnight wear increases the risk of infection and other complications.

Contact Lens Insertion

Contact Lens Insertion

Contact Lens Removal

Contact Lens Removal

Wearing Schedule

It will take at least a few days for your eyes to get used to wearing contact lenses. The best way to insure maximum visual comfort and keep your eyes healthy is to patiently and faithfully adhere to this wearing schedule.

DayGas Permeable LensesSoft Lenses
1 4 hours 6 hours
2 6 hours 8 hours
3 8 hours 10 hours
4 10 hours 12 hours
5 12 hours 12 hours

 

  • DON’T wear your lenses longer than 12 hours a day until your first follow-up visit with your doctor, unless the doctor has specifically told you otherwise.
  • DON’T continue use of contact lenses if your eyes become red, irritated, painful, or if your vision gets worse while wearing lenses. Immediately take out the lenses and clean them. Let your eyes get back to normal and if the problem persists, contact our office.
  • DON’T exceed the wearing times suggested, even if your lenses still feel comfortable. Studies have proven that the eye needs time to adapt to contact lenses, and your wearing schedule is based on those studies.
  • DO always remove your contact lenses at least one hour before going to bed to allow for proper oxygen nourishment to the cornea.
  • DO schedule and keep follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.
  • DO wear your contact lenses for at least 4 hours the day of your follow-up appointment unless you are experiencing discomfort.

Please Note: If you complete your wearing schedule for a given day and take out your lenses for at least 2 hours, you can wear them the same day for another 2 to 3 hours after cleaning and disinfecting them.

Caring For Your Contacts

Deposits and infectious organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, can build up on the surface of all contact lenses. For this reason, it is very important to keep them clean and disinfected.

Contact Lens Handling
caring for your contactsThere are four steps in contact lens care--follow the care prescribed for your lenses:

  1. Cleaning removes dirt, mucous, and other debris that gets on the lenses during wear.
  2. Disinfecting kills bacteria (germs) on the lenses. Disinfecting is essential to prevent serious eye infections.
  3. Rinsing removes the other solutions from the lenses and prepares the lenses for wear.
  4. Enzyming uses enzyme drops or tablets to remove protein and other deposits that build up over time on the lenses.

The best way to properly care for your lenses is to develop a care routine, then stick to that routine! Remember to:

  1. Follow the directions outlined by your eye doctor. Oftentimes instructions are also listed on the packaging or the package insert for the contact lens solutions prescribed for you.
  2. Multi-purpose solutions can be used for more than one step in contact lens care. Read the label to see which functions the solutions can be used for.
  3. Many solutions can not be used together, and not all solutions are appropriate for all types of lenses. Only use solutions recommended by your eye doctor, and check with your eye doctor if you want to switch brands.
  4. When you remove your lenses, they must be cleaned, rinsed, and disinfected before they are worn again.
  5. Enzyming and cleaning are not a substitute for disinfecting.
  6. Lenses that have been stored for more than 12 hours may need to be cleaned, disinfected, and rinsed again.
  7. Make sure solution containers are kept closed tightly, stored upright, and kept in a clean, dry, cool place when you are not using them. Keep your case clean and replace it every 2-3 months to prevent bacterial growth.
  8. Don’t touch container bottle tips to any surface to prevent them from becoming contaminated.
  9. Throw away expired solutions. (Look on the bottle for the expiration date!)
  10. Use new solution in your contact lenses case every day.
  11. Discuss with your eye doctor the care for your lenses if you wear them while swimming in a pool or hot tub.
  12. Only use approved rewetting drops for lubricating or wetting your lenses. Never place the lenses in your mouth.
  13. Do not use tap water to rinse soft contact lenses.
  14. Be careful with makeup, lotions, creams and sprays--consider putting on lenses before makeup and remove them before removing makeup. Also, water-based makeup is less likely to damage lenses than oil-based makeup.

Here’s what you need to watch for: redness, blurriness, light sensitivity. Remove your lenses if you are experiencing any of these 3 things. If your eyes have not returned to normal after 24 hours, please contact our office.  If you have any change in vision, comfort, or irritation, immediately remove your lenses. If there is no improvement within a couple of hours, please contact our office.

Stewart Family Eye Care

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Ask Dr. Stewart Your Eye Care Questions

What can be expected during a contact lens fitting?

A patient can expect to have a different experience when having a contact lens fitting. In addition to the eyeglass exam, questions will be asked to determine which contact lens will work best for them. Will they want to leave the lenses in their eyes overnight or will they remove them every day? Will they wear them only occasionally or will they be for everyday use? Do they want a contact lens that they throw away every day or do they want a contact lens that they have to clean and disinfect? If the patient is over age 40 and has a compromised ability to see up close, how will they see up close with their contact lenses? Will they wear readers over their distant contacts, or will they wear multifocal contacts, or will they wear monovision?

Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?

Experiencing dry eye symptoms is more common as we grow older, particularly in people 50 years of age and older. Hormonal changes in women who are experiencing menopause or who are post-menopausal. Inflammation in our body can affect the tear gland's ability to produce tears. Eye or health conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's Syndrome can be associated with Dry Eyes. Environmental conditions such as dry winter air, dry indoor heated air, working on the computer, and wearing contact lenses can cause Dry Eyes.

Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?

Single-use daily wear contacts are convenient to the patient and a healthy recommendation from their eye doctor. At the end of the day, the patient only has to dispose of the contacts. There is no need to take the contacts out to clean and disinfect them. The patients time and money spent on solutions and caring for them are eliminated. Not to mention that the next time they wear a contact, they will be wearing a brand new contact! The single best recommendation your eye doctor can make is to recommend single-use daily wear contacts. They are the healthiest contact that can be worn. The contact lens pathology issues of wearing the same contact for two or four weeks such as neovascularization, microcystic edema, and bacterial infections are greatly reduced.

What is an eye infection?

Your eyes can get infections from bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Eye infections can occur in different parts of the eye and can affect just one eye or both. Two common eye infections are conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) and lid styes which are swollen lid bumps that can also be painful. Common signs of an eye infection are pain, itching, or a sensation of a foreign body in the eye, photosensitivity, redness or small red lines in the white of the eye, discharge of yellow pus that may be crusty upon awaking, and tears.

What happens during a typical Diabetic Eye Exam?

Your Eye Doctor will evaluate the back of your eye called the Retina to check for leaking blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when elevated blood sugars damage the walls of the blood vessels. The vessel walls may thicken, leak, develop clots, close off, or grow balloon-like defects called microaneurysms.

My eyes tear all the time. Why do you call it Dry Eyes?

Your eyes have extra tears because your eyes produce extra tears to combat irritation and dryness. A better way to describe Dry Eyes is tear film instability, which refers to the composition of your tears not being in the proper composition. Stopping eyes from producing extra tears is a goal in the treatment of Dry Eyes.

At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?

If you ask 10 different Doctors you will get 10 different answers. Newborns have their eyes checked in the birthing ward for starters. From birth to age 5 their eyes are growing. At age 5 is a good time to schedule a regular eye examination, however, if any unusual eye behavior is observed under age 5 an eye exam should be scheduled at that time. Unusual eye behavior such as eye squinting, a head tilt, or having to get close to see.