Contact Lens Precautions - Do's and Don'ts
Dispose of Your Contact Lenses as Prescribed
After the accumulated wearing period prescribed by your Master Eye Associates professional, your contact lenses should be discarded. By replacing your contact lenses on a regular basis, lens deposits, which can affect vision and cause irritation and discomfort to the eye, have little chance to build up over time as with conventional lens wear. When you discard the lens, you dispose of potential deposit build-up problems.
Remember that the first thing that happens before a contact lens related eye infection is that the bacteria accumulate onto the surface of the soft lens and then begin colonization. Clean, sterile, fresh, new lenses minimize this from ever being possible.
Remove or Do Not Use Your Contact Lenses if you have any of the following:
- Reduced vision (visual acuity) with your contacts
- Pain in or around your eyes that persists for more than one hour.
- Any eye disease, injury or abnormality that affects the cornea, conjunctiva or eyelids
- Any previously diagnosed condition that makes contact lens wear uncomfortable.
- Severe dry eye
- Reduced corneal sensitivity (corneal hypoesthesia)
- Any systemic disease that may affect the eye or be exaggerated by wearing contact lenses
- Allergic reactions of ocular surfaces or surrounding tissues (adnexa) that may be induced or exaggerated by wearing contact lenses or use of contact lens solutions
- Allergy to any ingredient in the contact lens solutions.
- Any active corneal infection
- If your eyes become red or irritated
Risk of Infection or Injury
- Problems with contact lenses or lens care products could result in serious injury to the eye. Proper use and care of your contact lenses and lens care products, including lens cases, are essential for the safe use of these products.
- Eye problems, including sores or lesions on the cornea (corneal ulcers) can develop very rapidly and lead to serious consequences including loss of vision.
- The risk of an infected sore or lesion on the cornea (ulcerative keratitis) is greater for people who wear extended wear contact lenses than for those who wear daily wear lenses.
- The overall risk of ulcerative keratitis may be reduced by carefully following directions for lens care, including cleaning the lens case.
- The risk of ulcerative keratitis among contact lens users who smoke is greater than among non-smokers.
- If you experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness of the eye or other problems, you should immediately remove your lenses and promptly contact your Master Eye Associates professionals.
- It is recommended that you see Master Eye Associates routinely as directed or at least annually.
WARNING: UV (ultraviolet light) 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. You should continue to use UV absorbing eyewear.
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. 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.
- DO NOT use if the sterile blister package is opened or damaged.
- Before leaving your Master Eye Associates' office, you should be able to quickly remove your lenses or you should have someone else available who can remove the lenses for you. If you do not feel that you are qualified to remove your lenses promptly, do not wear them until you can.
- Always wash and rinse your hands before handling your lenses. Do not get cosmetics, lotions, soaps, creams, deodorants or sprays in your eyes or on your lenses. It is best to put on your lenses before putting on makeup. Water-based cosmetics are less likely to damage lenses than oil-based products.
- DO NOT touch your contact lenses with your fingers or hands if they are not completely clean, because tiny lens scratches may occur, causing unclear vision and/or injury to your eye.
- Carefully follow the handling, insertion, removal and wearing instructions as advised and those prescribed by Master Eye Associates.
- Always handle lenses carefully and avoid dropping them.
- Never use tweezers or other tools to remove your lenses from the lens container unless specifically indicated for that use. Pour the lens and the packing solution into the hand.
- Do not touch the lens with your fingernails.
Lens Wearing Precautions:
- You should remove your lenses immediately if your eyes become red or irritated.
- Never wear your lenses beyond the amount of time recommended by your Master Eye Doctor.
- If aerosol (spray) products, such as hair spray, are used while wearing lenses, exercise caution and keep your eyes closed until the spray has settled.
- Avoid all harmful or irritating vapors and fumes while wearing your contacts.
- Exposing contact lenses to water during swimming or while in a hot tub may increase the risk of eye infection from germs. You are advised to remove your soft lenses prior to swimming or while in a hot tub.
- Always throw away lenses worn as prescribed by our Doctors of Optometry.
- Different lens care products cannot always be used together, and not all products are safe for use with all lenses. Use only recommended solutions.
- NEVER use solutions recommended for conventional hard contact lenses only.
- Chemical disinfection solutions should not be used with heat unless specifically indicated on product labeling for use in both heat and chemical disinfection.
- Always use fresh lens care products and lenses before the expiration dates.
- Always follow the directions in the package inserts for the use of contact lens solutions.
- Use only a chemical (not heat) lens care system unless approved by your eye care professional. Use of heat (thermal) care systems can damage some contact lens brands.
- DO NOT use saliva or anything other than the recommended solutions for lubricating or wetting lenses.
- Always keep your lenses completely covered by the recommended storage solution when the lenses are not being worn (stored). Extended periods of drying will make it harder for the lens to become wet again.
- If you wear your contact lenses to correct presbyopia using monovision you may not be able to get the best corrected visual acuity for either far or near vision. You should drive or operate machinery only when you feel your vision is completely adequate. Otherwise do not drive or operate machinery while wearing monovision or bifocal contacts.
- Always contact your eye doctor before using any medicine in your eyes.
- Be aware that certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers and those for motion sickness may cause dryness of the eye, increased lens awareness (feeling of the lens in the eye) or blurred vision. Always inform your eye care professional if you experience any problems with your lenses while taking such medications. Depending on the severity, your eye care professional may prescribe the use of lubricating (wetting) drops that are indicated for use with soft contact lenses or may recommend that you stop wearing contact lenses while you are using these medications.
- Be aware that if you use oral contraceptives (birth control pills), you could develop changes in vision or comfort when wearing contact lenses.
- As with any contact lens, follow-up visits are necessary to assure the continuing health of your eyes.
- Always inform your employer of being a contact lens wearer. Some jobs may require use of eye protection equipment or may require that you not wear contact lenses.
Be aware that the following problems may occur when wearing contact lenses:
- Your eyes may burn, sting and/or itch.
- There may be less comfort than when the lens was first placed on your eye.
- There may be a feeling of something in your eye (foreign body, scratched area).
- There may be the potential for some temporary harm due to peripheral infiltrates, peripheral corneal ulcers and corneal erosion. There may be the potential for other physiological observations, such as local or generalized edema, corneal neovascularization, corneal staining, injection, tarsal abnormalities, iritis and conjunctivitis, some of which are clinically acceptable in low amounts.
- There may be excessive watering, unusual eye secretions or redness of your eye.
- Poor vision, blurred vision, rainbows or halos around objects, sensitivity to light (photophobia) or dry eyes may also occur if your lenses are worn continuously or for too long a time.
When any of the above symptoms or precautions occur, a serious condition such as infection, corneal ulcer, neovascularization or iritis may be present. You should immediately be seen by an eye care professional to identify the problem and get quick treatment to avoid serious eye damage or permanent loss of vision .
Contact Lens Insertion & Removal
1. Prepare the Lens for Wearing
Cleanliness is the first and most important aspect of proper contact lens care. In particular, your hands should be clean and free of any foreign substances when you handle your lenses. The procedures are:
- Wash your hands thoroughly, rinse completely and dry with a lint-free towel before touching your lenses.
- Avoid the use of soaps containing cold cream, lotion, or oily cosmetics before handling your lenses, since these substances may come into contact with the lenses and interfere with successful wearing.
- Handle your lenses with your fingertips, and be careful to avoid contact with fingernails.
2. Opening the Multipack and Lens Package Multipack
Each multipack contains individually packaged lenses. Each lens comes in its own lens package designed to keep it sterile. Keep your lenses inside the multipack for storage until you are ready to use them.
a. Peel back the foil closure to reveal the lens.
b. Place a finger on the lens and slide the lens up the side of the bowl of the lens package until it is free of the container.
Occasionally, a lens may stick to the inside surface of the foil when opened or to the plastic package itself. This will not affect the sterility of the lens. It is still perfectly safe to use. Carefully remove and inspect the lens following the handling instructions.
3. Handling the Lenses
- When you first get your lenses, be sure that you are able to put the lenses on and remove them before leaving Master Eye Associates' office.
- Develop the habit of always working with the same lens first to avoid mix-ups.
- Remove the lens from its storage case and examine it to be sure that it is moist, clean, clear, and free of any nicks or tears. If the lens appears damaged, DO NOT use it.
4. Placing the Lens on the Eye
Remember, start with the same eye each time.
1. BE SURE THE LENS IS NOT INSIDE-OUT by following either of the following procedures:
- Place the lens on the tip of your index finger and check its profile. The lens should assume a natural, curved, bowl-like shape. If the lens edges tend to point outward, the lens is inside out.
2. Place the middle finger of the same hand close to your lower eyelashes and pull down the lower lid.
3. Use the index finger or middle finger of the other hand to lift the upper lid.
4. Place the lens on the eye.
5. Gently release the lids and blink slowly. The lens will center automatically.
6. Use the same technique when inserting the lens for your other eye.
Note: If a lens becomes less comfortable than when it was first inserted or if it is uncomfortable upon insertion, remove the lens immediately and contact your Master Eye Associates office.
If your examination of your eyes and the lenses shows any other problems, IMMEDIATELY REMOVE YOUR LENSES AND CONTACT YOUR Master Eye Associates PROFESSIONAL.
5. Centering the Lens
This will rarely be necessary, but when needed: To center a lens follow either of these procedures:
a. Close your eyelids and gently massage the lens into place through the closed lids.
b. Gently move the off-centered lens onto the cornea (center of your eye) while the eye is
opened using finger pressure on the edge of the upper lid or lower lid.
6. Removing the Lens
CAUTION: Always be sure the lens is on the cornea (in the center of your eye) before attempting to remove it. Determine this by covering the other eye. If vision is blurred, the lens is either on the white part of the eye or it is not on the eye at all. To locate the lens, inspect the upper area of the eye by looking down into a mirror while pulling the upper lid up. Then inspect the lower area by pulling the lower lid down.
Always remove the same lens first.
a. Wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly.
b. There are two recommended methods of lens removal: the Pinch Method and the Forefinger and Thumb Method. Master Eye Associates recommends the Pinch Method.
Step 1. Look up, slide the lens to the lower part of the eye using the forefinger.
Step 2. Gently pinch the lens between the thumb and forefinger.
Step 3. Remove the lens.
Forefinger and Thumb Method:
Step 1. Place your hand or a towel under your eye to catch the lens.
Step 2. Place your index finger on the center of the upper lid and your thumb on the center of the lower lid.
Step 3. Press in and force a blink. The lens should fall onto your hand or the towel.
Note: The lens may come out, but remain on the eyelid, finger or thumb.
c. Remove the other lens by following the same procedure.
Basic Lens Care Instructions
- Do not use saliva or anything other than the recommended solutions for lubricating or rewetting your lenses. Do not put lenses in your mouth.
- Never rinse your lenses in water from the tap. There are two reasons for this:
a. Tap water contains many impurities that can contaminate or damage your lenses and may lead to eye infection or injury.
b. You might lose your lens down the drain.
For Daily Disposable Wear:
There is no cleaning or disinfection needed with your contact lenses if they are prescribed for daily disposable wear. Always dispose of lenses when they are removed and have replacement lenses or glassesavailable. Lenses should only be cleaned, rinsed and disinfected on an emergency basis when replacement lenses or glasses are not available. For EMERGENCY LENS CARE ONLY, refer to the instructions below for cleaning, rinsing and disinfecting your lenses.
For Frequent Replacement Wear (one week to one month):
For continued safe and comfortable wearing of your lenses, it is important that you first clean and rinse, then disinfect your lenses after each removal, using the lens care products and procedures recommended by your Eye Care Professional. Cleaning and rinsing are necessary to remove mucus, secretions, films or deposits that may have built up on your lenses during wearing. The ideal time to clean your lenses is immediately after removing them. Disinfecting is necessary to destroy harmful germs.
You should always use the recommended lens care routine. Failure to follow the recommended procedures may result in development of serious eye problems, as discussed in the "Warnings" section. For safe contact lens wear, you should know and always practice your lens care routine:
- Always use fresh lens care products before the expiration dates.
- Use the recommended system of lens care, chemical (not heat), and carefully follow instructions on lens care product labeling. Different products cannot always be used together, and not all products are safe for use with all lenses. Do not alternate or mix lens care systems unless indicated on the product labeling.
- Always remove, clean, rinse and disinfect your lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your Master Eye Associates doctor. The use of any cleaning solution does not substitute for disinfection.
- Lenses prescribed on the frequent replacement program should be thrown away after the recommended wearing period prescribed by your Master Eye Associates optometrist.
- Place the lens in the palm of your hand concave side up. Put several drops of multi-purpose solution on the lens and rub in a straight back and forth motion for about five seconds.
- After cleaning, rinse the lens thoroughly with a recommended rinsing solution (or multi-purpose solution) to remove the cleaning solution, mucus and film from the lens surface.
- Put the lens into the correct chamber of the lens storage case.
Disinfecting (Chemical - Not Heat)
- After cleaning, disinfect lenses using the system recommended by your Master Eye Associates professional.
- Follow the instructions provided in the disinfection product labeling or recommended by Master Eye Associates.
- When using hydrogen peroxide lens care systems, lenses must be neutralized before wearing. Follow the recommendations on the hydrogen peroxide system labeling. Clear Care requires at least six hours before the peroxide solution is neutralized and changed into saline. NEVER put peroxide disinfecting solution in your eye.
- Thoroughly rinse lenses with a fresh solution recommended for rinsing before inserting and wearing; or follow the instructions on the disinfection solution labeling
- Do not heat the disinfection solution and lenses.
Caution: Lenses that are chemically disinfected may absorb ingredients from the disinfecting solution that may be irritating to your eyes. If irritation occurs you should advise your doctor. A thorough rinse in fresh sterile saline (or another recommended solution) prior to placement on the eye may reduce the potential for irritation.
- To store your lenses, first disinfect them, then leave them in the closed/unopened case until you are ready to wear them.
- Keep your lenses completely covered by a recommended disinfecting solution when the lenses are not being worn.
- If you will not be wearing your lenses immediately following disinfection, you should ask your Master Eye Associates professional for information about storing your lenses.
- After removing your lenses from the lens case, empty and rinse the lens storage case with solution(s) recommended by your eye care professional or the lens case manufacturer; then allow the lens case to air dry. When the case is used again, refill it with fresh storage solution. To reduce chances of infection from contaminated lens cases, replace your lens case at regular intervals (at least every 90 days).
Several artificial tear solutions and contact lens rewetting drops may be used to wet (lubricate) your lenses while you are wearing them. Theratears is one brand recommended by Master Eye Associates.
Lens Case Cleaning and Maintenance
Contact lens cases can be a source of bacteria growth. Lens cases should be emptied, cleaned, rinsed with solutions recommended by the lens case manufacturer and allowed to air dry. Lens cases should be replaced at regular intervals, as recommended by the lens case manufacturer or your Eye Doctor.
Care For A Dried Out (Dehydrated) Lens
If a soft contact lens is exposed to air for prolonged periods while off the eye, it may become dry and can be easily broken. If this happens, throw away the lens and use a new fresh one.
Care For A Sticking (Non-moving) Lens
If a lens sticks (stops moving) on your eye, apply a few drops of the recommended lubricating solution. You should wait until the lens begins to move freely on the eye before removing it. If non-movement of the lens continues, you should immediately consult your Master Eye Associates office.
If chemicals of any kind (your peroxide contact lens solution, household products, gardening solutions, laboratory chemicals, etc.) are splashed into your eyes: FLUSH your EYES IMMEDIATELY and very thoroughly WITH TAP WATER AND IMMEDIATELY CONTACT YOUR EYE CARE PROFESSIONAL OR VISIT A HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM WITHOUT DELAY.
Monovision and Bifocal Contact Lenses - Precautions
You should be aware that, as with any type of lens correction, there are advantages and compromises to presbyopic contact lens correction. The benefit of clear near vision when looking straight-ahead and upward that you get with your contact lenses for monovision correction may be accompanied by a vision compromise that may reduce your visual acuity and depth perception for distance and near tasks. Some patients have experienced difficulty adapting to this. Symptoms, such as mild blurred vision and variable vision, may last for a brief period or for several weeks as you are getting used tothe lenses. The longer these symptoms last, the poorer your chances for successful adaptation. You should avoid visually demanding situations during the initial adaptation period. It is recommended that you first wear these contact lenses in familiar situations that are not visually demanding. For example, it might be better to be a passenger rather than a driver of an automobile during the first days of lens wear. It is recommended that you only drive with monovision correction if you pass your state drivers license requirements with monovision correction.
- Some presbyopic patients need to wear their glasses over their contact lenses for monovision correction to provide the clearest vision for critical tasks. You should discuss this with your Eye Doctor.
- Some presbyopic patients will never be fully comfortable functioning under low levels of lighting, such as driving at night. If this happens, you may want to discuss with your Master Eye Associates professional having additional contact lenses prescribed so that both eyes are corrected for distance when sharp distance vision is required from both eyes together. For monovision patients, if you require very sharp near vision during prolonged close work, you may want to have additional contact lenses prescribed so that both eyes are corrected for near when sharp near vision is required from both eyes together. It is important that you follow your Eye Care Professional's suggestions for getting used to presbyopic contact lens correction. You should discuss any concerns that you may have during and after the adaptation period.
- The decision to be fit with monovision correction is most appropriately left to your Eye Care Professional, in conjunction with you, after carefully considering and discussing your needs.