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Follow These Steps For Smart Contact Lens Wear

If you are like most patients, there comes a time when its nice to have a reference check list of what to do certain situations when wearing soft contact lenses. The Spectrum Eye Centre cares about your eye health and hopes that you find the following tips useful for safe contact lens wear:

  • How To Avoid Tearing Contacts
    Start With Correct Removal From Package / Vial

    Foil Packaged Contact Lenses
    • Shake the package to suspend the lens within its solution. 
    • Peel back the foil closure to reveal the lens. 
    • Swirl the package.  Occasionally, a lens may adhere to the inside surface of the foil.
    • Quickly pour the lens into the palm of your hand to remove the lens.  If the lens adheres to the bottom of the plastic package, rinse with saline and try pouring again.
    • Avoid scooping the lens from the package and never use tweezers or other tools to remove the lens.

    Vial Packaged Contact Lenses
    • Shake the vial, and quickly pour the lens into the palm of your hand. 
    • Rinse the container with saline to suspend the lens again if the lens sticks to the inner walls of the vial.
  • Proper Contact Lens Case Procedures
    • When removing the lens from its cleaning case carefully pour the lens and solution quickly into the palm of your hand and discard excess solution.
    • Use care when inserting your lenses into the case to ensure that you do not catch the edge when closing the lid.
    • Do not use fingernails to remove the lens from the case.
  • Cleaning Contacts To Reduce Tearing
    • Gently rub the contact lens when don't need to push.
    • When handling and cleaning a contact lens use the soft pad of your fingertip and never use your nails.  Please keep fingernails short.
    • During cleaning avoid repeatedly creasing the lens (folding and pressing the lens over on itself), as this will cause material stress and subsequent tearing.
    • Never clean a contact lens by rubbing between two fingers.  Always rub the lens surface back and forth with your index finger in the palm of your hand. 
    • Never rub the lens in a circular motion.  Never allow a contact lens to dry out.  It will deform and possibly tear. 
    • Always store the lens in saline solution.  If a lens happens to dry out, replace the lens with a new one.
    • Remember, don't try to unfold a folded lens with two hands/fingers. While applying solution, roll it open between you thumb and index finger.
  • Avoid Tearing A Contact Lens Upon Removal
    • Use rewetting drops to moisten the lens before removing it, if your eye feels dry or uncomfortable.
    • Do not attempt to remove your lens if it is dry without rewetting first with artificial tears or lubricating drops.
  • Dehydration Of A Contact Lens And Tearing
    • Never allow a contact lens to dry out.  It will deform and possibly tear. 
    • Always store the lens in saline solution.  If a lens happens to dry out, replace the lens with a new one.
    • Always store contact lenses at room temperature. 
    • Never store contact lenses in water since this will cause them to swell, put stress on the plastic, and subsequently tear them.
  • Living With Soft Contact Lenses
    Follow These Steps For Smart Contact Lens Wear
    If you are like most patients, there comes a time when its nice to have a reference check list of what to do certain situations when wearing soft contact lenses.
    Contact Lenses Direct cares about your eye health and hopes that you find the following tips useful for safe contact lens wear:
    Cleanliness Next To Godliness
    It starts by making sure you always wash your hands before handling contact lenses, especially before putting them on. More Information
    Tips: 1. Your lens case can build up mineral deposits so please replace them on a regular basis.
    2. Deposits can harbor bacteria and fungi.  After putting your lenses on, run the entire case under hot tap water and leave it open to air dry on a clean towel.
    3. Keep a spare, dry, contact lens case and some solution at work or school.
    4. If kept wet, lens cases sometime develop slippery patches of gray or brown around the lid or on the threads of the case.  This is a fungus.  If this happens, replace the old case.  Please leave them clean and dry during the day.
    5. To transport a case in a purse or gym bag, place them in zip lock bag.  More Information
    Do Not Let Soft Contacts Dry Out
    Care For A Dehydrated Contact Lens There are two comprehensive products on the market that make lens care convenient, especially in an emergency.  ReNu (Bausch & Lamb) and Solo Care Plus (Ciba Vision)are widely available in drug stores internationally.  These products can clean and disinfect, and only a select few find these brands uncomfortable.  If you do, try the other brand.  If you are sensitive to a product, it will sting or make your eyes red, usually right away and every time you use it.  Afternoon and evening problems are not often solution sensitivity; more commonly a bad fit or dehydrating/drying contact lens. Chemical Disinfection of Contacts
    Keep multipurpose solutions in a locker or drawer at school or work and always fasten the cap on the bottle to prevent bacterial contamination.  Never use a solution that smells funny or unusual.  All eye solutions have expiration dates.  For many, there is good reason.
  • Contact Lenses and Eyedrops
    Contacts can make your cornea more "porous" (OTC redness drops can dilate your pupil when your cornea is scratched.

    If you are using eye drops for redness, allergy, glaucoma, or other eye problems, take your lenses out before using the drops, and wait at least fifteen minutes before inserting again.   Use only drops labelled for soft contact lenses.  If you wear contacts overnight, its normal to need a couple of drops in the morning, and many people sleep with a bottle by the bed.

    It is NEVER normal to need drops all day!

    Lubribating Eye Drops
    All aqueous drugs penetrate into spongy soft contacts, delivering several times the normal dose of medicine.  Other therapeutic drops are suspensions, mixtures of oil and water, that gum up your contacts.  Neither should be used while wearing contacts.  Ointments can be used outside the eye (on the lids), but contacts should never be used if you have to use an ointment.  Ointments containing steroids and should not be used around contacts without supervision.
  • Mascara And Contacts
    Mascara And Eye Shapes

    Ever wonder how to best apply mascara and makeup to highlight your eyes best features.  We have the shinny on just how to accomplish the feat of producing alluring drop dead gorgeous eyes. Follow our tips and see the amazing results that can be had to complement colored contact lenses.

    First we will show you what goes best when you want blue eyes. Switching color to violet eyes gives stunning results.  Not to be out done, green is much more than for St. Patrick's Day.  Shades of green invoke more than jealously but a passion than fires within.  For a complete switch, try hazel eyes as no one can resist puppy dog eyes.

    Almond Shaped Eyes

    • Use a thickening and lengthening mascara with denseley packed bristles.
    • Coat top and bottom, and concentrate on the outer corner to elongate the eye.

    Asian Eyes

    • Use a curl recipe with medium-width bristles.
    • To open up the eyes, do not apply as many coats.  Your goal is to separate and lengthen since lashes tend to be shorter.

    Deep Set Eyes

    • Use a curl recipe with medium-width bristles.
    • To open up the eyes, do not apply as many coats.  Your goal is to separate and lengthen since lashes tend to be shorter.

    Round Eyes

    • Medium brush and drier mix equals spiky look.
    • Concentrate on the lashes in the center, top and bottom, to emphasize shape.
  • UV Blocking Contact Lenses
    Special UV Contact Lenses

    UV-blocking contact lenses help provide protection against harmful UV radiation. However, clinical studies have not been done to demonstrate that wearing UV-blocking contact lenses reduces the risk of developing cataracts or other eye disorders.

    Contact Lenses That Contain UV Blocking

    Johnson and Johnson's (Vistakon) Acuvue family of contact lenses all offer UV blocking properties.  Acuvue offers all their brands of contact lenses depending on your eye care needs:   Added features include UV-Blocking advantages that help protect against the sun's harmful rays, and an Inside-Out mark to make them easier to insert. ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses block approximately 82% of the UV-A rays, and 97% of UV-B rays.

    What About Sunglasses?

    UV-absorbing contact lenses are NOT substitutes for protective UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area.  A contact lens only covers your cornea, not your entire eye.  You should continue to use UV-absorbing eyewear as directed.
    NOTE: Long term exposure to UV radiation is one of the risk factors associated with cataracts.  Exposure is based on a number of factors such as environmental conditions (altitude, geography, cloud cover) and personal factors (extent and nature of outdoor activities).  UV-blocking contact lenses help provide protection against harmful UV radiation.  That is why contacts with UV blockers are designed to compliment sunglass use as an added protection.

    You can not tell if a contact lens has a UV blocker by looking at the lens.  The UV blocker is provided in clear form, so as not to disturb vision.  The contact lens packaging will specify if the product has a UV blocker.
  • Contacts And Water Sports

    Swimming...Scuba diving... and water skiing all involve interaction with water.

    The FDA and many contact lenses manufacturers oppose contact lens wear during water activities because of the increased risk of eye infections.

    But what about the improved vision and increased safety one gains by wearing prescription contact lenses?  A water skier needs to see hazardous obstacles and a diver needs the improved depth perception when diving from a platform.

    Important Considerations

    Here are some important considerations while wearing contact lenses for water sports.............all soft contact lenses are hydrated with water, as this is how the surface of the eye receives oxygen by flowing through the microscopic pores within the lens.

    Unfortunately, water can also contain a lot of harmful bacteria which can stay in contact with the front surface of the eye by staying within the contact lens.

    The behavior and fit of soft contact lenses depends largely on the salt concentration or PH of the water.
    When there is a low salt concentration like a swimming pool or fresh water lake, the overall diameter of a contact lens increases and contact lenses will fit tighter.

    Conversely, in the ocean where the salt concentration is high, a contact lens will fit loose. The water environment is an important consideration prior to a contact lens fitting.

    Harmful Chemicals

    Other harmful chemicals such as chlorine, used to kill bacteria and shock treat swimming pools, can adhere to soft contact lenses and cause an allergic or delayed reaction.

    Chlorine burn, a condition that can damage the cells on the outer surface and cause extremely red eyes can be worse without wearing contact lenses because it is believed they function as protective shields.

    The wearing of soft contact lenses in saunas, hot tubs, and during swimming is NOT recommended.  There is a significant risk of loss and contamination.  Bacteria in the water can cause severe eye infections.  Please wear protective goggles or a mask during these activities to reduce these risks.  Please note that contact lenses may absorb or retain chlorine depending on the material.  It is usually an undesirable pH level that causes more ocular irritation than an excessive chlorine level.

    Water Sports Guidelines For Contact Lenses

    • Use swim goggles under water.
    • Take glasses with you in case you lose your contact lenses.
    • Use daily disposables contact lenses and throw them away after their use.
    • Fast blink to clear water from your eyes. Do not rub.
    • Wait 20 minutes after your water activity before attempting contact lens removal to allow equilibration with the tears.
    • Use saline or rewetting drops to loosen the contact lenses. This will make contact lens removal easier.
    • Be able to reinsert lenses without the aid of a mirror.
    • Leave contact lenses out for a few hours after swimming.
    • Carefully clean and disinfect contact lenses or replace them after each swim.

    If you experience blurred vision, redness or irritation, or discomfort, remove your contact lenses carefully and consult your local eye care professional immediately.
  • Contacts and Dry Eyes

    Contact Lens And Dry Eye Explained

    A thin layer of tears covers the surface of normal, healthy eyes. This fluid lubricates and protects the surface.
    There are several glands around the eyes that constantly replenish these tears, as they naturally evaporate or drain down and out the tear duct.

    Dry Eye occurs when something interferes with the tears normal production or function, leaving your eyes unprotected.

    Contact lenses wearers and allergy sufferers frequently suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome.
    In mild cases of dry eye, a slight burning, scratchy or sandy sensation is common.
    In moderate to severe dry eye, you might also experience frequent blinking, blurred vision, a sensitivity to light, and even reflex or excessive tearing.

    The most common cause of dry eye is aging when the quantity and effectiveness of your tears decrease.
    Anti-anxiety agents, Anti-histamines and oral contraceptive medications can also decrease tear production and cause dry eye.

    Environmental factors such as exposure to wind, smog, dry air, smoke, prolonged work at a computer terminal may aggravate this condition.

    The winter season with its cold, dry, windy weather may also increase irritation.
    Others include low levels of humidity, air tight office buildings and environments where pollutants and dust are at a high level.

    Remember contact lenses contain water so the eye can receive high levels of oxygen. They can also aggravate and make dry eye symptoms worse contact lenses dehydrate they fit tighter.  This can create a foreign body or loose eye lash sensation which comes from the edge of the contact lens.  Depending on the edge design some contact lenses will feel better than others.

    Drying is also quicker in areas where there are deposits and coatings.  Please be sure to physically rub both sides of all contact lenses, even disposables, for at least 10 seconds during cleaning.

    If your Dry Eye is environmentally related, avoiding those situations will help.

    Tips For Dry Eye Contact Lens Wearers

    Maintaining a more humid home or work environment with a humidifier.

    Applying an ocular lubricant regularly such as artificial tears may help. There are many different kinds of eye drops available over the counter. Some of which should NOT be used with contact lenses so be sure the label states they are safe to use with ALL soft contact lenses.

    If your Dry Eye is environmentally related, avoiding those situations will help.

    Please consult your local eye care professional if you do not find relief from over the counter artificial tears, and please do NOT wear contact lenses if your eyes become red and more irritated while wearing them.
  • Do's and Don'ts Of Contact Lens Wear

    Follow These Contact Lens Guidelines

    • Do not sleep with contact lenses on the eye, even for long periods of time unless extended wear use has been advised by your eye care provider.

    • Do not wear soft contact lenses all waking hours unless advised.  All contact lens wearers should take their contact lenses out 30 minutes before they go to sleep at night.  As well, give your eyes a break one day each week and discontinue contact lens wear all together.

    • Do not use regular fresh or filtered tap water, or homemade saline in place of the recommended solutions. Water contains a lot of bacteria that may contaminate the contact lens. Water also lowers the salt content of the contact lenses and may cause them to adhere more tightly to the tissues of the eye.

    • Do not insert or wear your contact lenses if you happen to develop a persistent red eye or eye infection.  Put your glasses on and consult our your eye care provider.

    • Do not wear contact lenses if you have a cold or viral infection.  Please wear your glasses until the cold has completely resolved.  The immune system is busy fighting the infection and contact lenses can stress the eye.  Small viral products can accumulate within the cornea that may take several months to completely resolve.

    • Do not store your contact lenses in anything other than your contact lens case.  All contact lens cases should be replaced every 3-4 months to prevent bacterial

    • Do not use contact lenses or solutions that have expired.
    • Do not wear a ripped or damage contact lens.  It is beneficial to have an extra pair.

    • Do not use saliva in place of the recommended solutions to wet, lubricate, or moisten a contact lens, and never put a contact lens in your mouth.

    • Do not use any eye drops, eye medications, or solutions, unless specifically designed for use with soft contact lenses prior to insertion of the lens.

    • Do not  wipe your contact lenses with a tissue or cloth.

    • Do not substitute an old, used contact lens for a lost or damaged contact lens.

    • Do not store your contact lenses where they will be exposed to excessively hot or cold temperatures. You may destroy or damage the contact lenses if the solution happens to freeze or boil.  Please replace the lenses.

    • Do not reuse solutions after any cleaning/disinfection cycle.

    • Do remember to blink fully and completely.

    • Do use contact lenses rewetting or lubricating eye drops.

    • Do have an annual contact lens eye examination.

    • Do carry a flat storage case containing saline with you in case your contact lenses start to feel uncomfortable.

    • Do replace the contact lens case every 3-4 months to prevent bacterial contamination.

    • Do have a current prescription in glasses for periods you are not wearing your contact lenses.

    • Do remove your contact lenses at the first sign of discomfort and redness.
  • Contact Lens Overwear And Complications
    Oxygen and Contact Lenses

    Corneal edema should never exceed 10-12%.

    Contact lenses restrict corneal oxygen availability.

    Chronic corneal edema after a number of months of extended wear can take up to seven complete days to completely resolve.  In addition, it can take 5 to 10 weeks for microcysts in cornea as a result of corneal edema to completely resolve.

    White spots called infiltrates (a collection of inflammatory cells) can appear if there are prolonged periods of reduced oxygen levels, immune responses, solution reactions, physical irritation and local infection.  They may take 1 to 2 months to completely disappear without wearing contact lenses.  Your symptoms may resolve within one to two days.  You should not wear lenses until instructed to do so.

    Particularly in people wearing their lenses on an extended wear basis typically complain of increased lens awareness, itching, and blurred vision.  You may also have increased contact lens movement and heavy deposition of protein/lipids/calcium on the lens surface.  Upon eversion of the upper eye lid enlarged papillae are observed. 

    There are four common causes of GPC (Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis). Chronic hypoxia (lack of oxygen) under the upper lid, mechanical irritation of the conjunctival surface with lens movement, reaction to preservatives in solution, and an immunological reaction to environmental antigens harboring in contact lens deposits on the anterior surface of the contact lens.

    Prevent Wear Complications

    Always have a current prescription in spectacle glasses.

    During a month of wear, one should wear glasses at least 4 days of the month ALL day, and at least 2 days/wk, 2-3 hrs before going to bed.

    For a new contact lens wearer the most appropriate wearing schedule during the initial adaptation period is 7 hrs on the first day, then add 1 hr each additional day of wear.

    Corneal Swelling: 

    When you awaken, corneal edema/swelling is present, and on average this increases the corneal thickness by about 4%.  It takes 30 minutes for the eye to resolve this edema.  Please wait for at least 30 minutes every morning after waking before placing your contact lenses into the eyes.
  • Contact Lens FAQs
    Types Of Contact Lenses

    What are disposable lenses, frequent and planned replacement contact lenses?

    Many people now wear disposable soft contact lenses, which can be worn for either a single day or up to 14, depending on the wear schedule prescribed by the eyecare professional.  Disposable contact lenses are usually prescribed in multi-packs, providing several weeks' supply at a time.

    Frequent and planned replacement lenses are contact lenses that are replaced on a planned schedule, most often monthly, quarterly or biannually.

    More Information

    What's the difference between daily-wear and extended-wear contact lenses?

    Daily-wear contact lenses are designed to be removed each day for cleaning or replacement, and should be taken out before you sleep or take a nap.  Depending on your particular eye condition and other factors, extended-wear contact lenses can be prescribed for overnight wear from one day to as many as seven before they are removed. 

    Extended-wear contact lenses can also be prescribed for removal each day for cleaning and slept in occasionally when special circumstances arise.  Eyecare professionals consider many variables in deciding between daily-wear and extended-wear contact lenses for each person's needs.

    More Information

    There are so many different contact lenses on the market.  Can I substitute another brand for the one I am currently using?

    No, your local eyecare professional is the only one who can recommend the right contact lenses for you.  Please do NOT switch without consulting your eyecare professional.

    Do contact lenses offer protection from ultraviolet rays?

    Certain contact lenses have ultraviolet inhibitors built into the lens material.  Sunglasses should still be worn for protection from the sun's harmful rays.  Check with our UV protected list of contact lenses and your eyecare professional to determine which lenses have ultraviolet inhibitors, and whether these contact lenses are right for you.

    FAQs About Colored Contact Lenses

    I have 20/20 vision, but I wish my eyes were green.  Do I need a prescription for colored contact lenses?
    You do not have to have vision problems to wear colored contact lenses.  Some people simply want to change their eye color, as colored contact lenses can be great fun.  It is essential, however, that contact lenses be professionally prescribed and fitted.  Contact lenses are an FDA-regulated medical device. Contact lenses that do not fit correctly (or used in an eye other than the prescribed eye) can cause serious eye problems, potentially resulting in permanent eye damage.

    How do tinted and opaque contact lenses work?

    Today's tinted soft lenses offer the fun of enhancing or changing your eye color. The color is seen on your eye, but does not affect the color of things you see. Enhancing tints give drama and added color to existing eye color, and come in a variety of colors including aqua, blue, green, brown, amber, and violet. 

    Opaque tints cover the natural color of the iris, making the eye appear a completely different color (such as blue over a brown iris).  The wearer sees through a clear area in the center of the contact lens while showing the world a different eye color.  There are even visibility tints, which are contact lenses that are lightly tinted to make them easy to find but which do not change the color of your eyes.  Some types of lenses also offer additional ultraviolet-radiation absorption properties.
    More Information
  • Contact Lenses And Allergies

    Daily Disposables Lenses of Choice

    Studies shows that daily disposables such as Focus DAILIES and Vistakons 1-Day Acuvue disposables are a better choice for contact lens wearers with allergies.

    Daily disposable contact lens wearers reported fewer allergy related symptoms of burning and redness as compared to wearing a new pair of their usual contact lenses.

    New Pair Each Day Lessens Irritating Lens Deposits

    More than 75 percent of contact lens wearers who have allergies experience discomfort caused by allergens present on the eye.
    Allergens cause your eyes to release histamines, creating redness, dryness, itching and tearing.

    Proteins in your tears build up on certain contact lenses and cause even more eye irritation.
    Tearing and build-up continue, creating more and more discomfort.

    Advantages Of Daily Disposable Contacts
    • Deposits do not have a chance to build up when you use a fresh new pair of contact lenses every day.  On your worst allergy days, you can even replace them more often, if necessary.
    • Minimize irritating protein deposits.
    • Minimize build-up of natural oils, dirt and pollution.
    • Avoid using irritating cleaning solutions.
    • Reduce eye discomfort and the need to wear glasses.
    • Affordable enough to replace every day.
    • Freedom from cleaning lenses. 

    More Comfort Tips

    There is a lot you can do to reduce the misery of allergy season.  First, of course, ask your eye care practitioner about daily disposable contacts, the daily disposable that is fresh and new every day.

    Other ways to get relief are simple, yet effective:
    • Close windows and use air conditioning in your home and car.
    • Avoid outdoor activities in the morning and early afternoon when pollen levels are highest.
    • Avoid mowing and raking (or wear a dust mask and protective eyewear).
    • Wash your hands, face and hair often to remove pollen.
    • Avoid rubbing your eyes.  Instead use cold compresses to relieve itching.
    • Rinse your eyes frequently with eye drops (with your contact lenses in).
    • See your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

    If you choose to wear lenses that are only replaced weekly or monthly, keep your lenses clean with a solution that leaves no chemical preservatives on your lenses such as ClearCare solution or B&L's PeroxiClear 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution. Both these solutions remove daily bio-film protein build up and provide superior disinfection.

    More on Lens Care Solutions.

    Advanced Lens Comfort Technology By Alcon/Ciba Vision

    Breakthrough Lightstream Technology makes Focus DAILIES uniquely comfortable in comparision to other daily disposable contacts.  They are made of a thin, soft biocompatible material, you will hardly know you are wearing them. Now products such as Total 1 Dailies, Focus Aqua DAILIES bring you the Comfort Edge, a smooth, clean, precise edge unmatched for eye comfort.  Best of all, these dailies are as affordable as a daily cup of coffee due to Alcon/Ciba Vision's ultra-efficient patented manufacturing process.

    Irritating preservatives from lens care solutions can further add to the problem.

    Focus DAILIES prevent this cycle of discomfort right from the start.  They are made of a material that is non-ionic and does not attract and bind molecules like other contact lenses can.  Focus DAILIES do more than give you the comfort of a fresh, clean lens every day so essential during the allergy season.  They also free you from the hassles of lens care and irritation caused by preservatives and poor cleaning methods.  More than 40 percent of contact wearers unknowingly fail to clean their lenses properly maybe even you!  That spells extra trouble when seasonal allergies strike.
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