Soft contact lenses are made of unique bio-compatible plastic which absorbs water. Most contact lenses are now made of a blend of plastic and silicone which enables them to allow high amounts of oxygen to absorb through the lens material and reach the surface of the eye, allowing the cells to stay healthy and breathe. Daily contact lenses are very easy to adjust to and will be comfortable to wear shortly after initial insertion. Ongoing comfort is dependent on correct lens care habits. Below are some tips for the successful handling and wearing of soft lenses.
Always ensure you hands are washed before touching your contact lenses. Choose a fragrance-free and moisturizer-free soap and, if possible, ensure it is antibacterial. Dry your hands thoroughly with a towel after washing your hands. To prevent lint from fluffy towels sticking to your fingers and in turn your contact lenses, perhaps dry your hands using a paper towel or a clean tea towel instead. Washing your hands prevents dirt, oils or bacteria being transferred from your finger to the contact lens and subsequently into your eye.
Remove an individual blister packet from the box of contact lenses and peel back the foil. Use the tip of your index finger to remove the lens from the container.
Place the lens of the index finger of your right hand if you are right handed (alternately place the lens on the index finger of your left hand if you are left handed). Inspect the lens on your finger to ensure that it is not inside out and that no foreign matter (like tissue lint) is on the lens. If a lens is inside out, the lens shape will have fluted rather than curved edges and will resemble a ‘flan’ rather than a ‘bowl’ shape. If the lens is inserted inside out, vision will be relatively unchanged but the lens will be uncomfortable and not settle. In that case, remove the lens, rinse with multi-purpose solution and reinsert the correct way.
There are many methods of inserting a contact lens and every wearer will find a method that feels comfortable to them. The recommended method involves you looking at your eye directly in the mirror. With your non-dominant hand (ie if you are right-handed, the non-dominant hand is the left hand), hold your top lid up by the eyelashes against your brow bone. Hold down your bottom lid with the middle finger of your dominant hand. This will align the contact lens on your index finger of your dominant hand with the eye’s surface. Keeping your gaze steady looking into the mirror, place the contact lens directly on the coloured part of the eye’s surface (the cornea).
Once the lens has made contact with the ocular surface, take the index finger away. The lens should stay on the eye’s surface. To ensure the lens doesn’t easily blink out, maintain hold of the top lid against the brow bone. Then centre the contact lens on the cornea by nudging the lens upwards using the lower lid. This will also push out any air bubbles which may be present. Once the lens appears centred, slowly release the top lid and allow it to blink over the contact lens. Keep blinking for a couple of seconds to enable the lens to settle.
Wash and dry your hands as previously mentioned. Looking at your eye in the mirror, ensure your lens is properly centred on your eye before removing. If you cannot see the lens edge around the coloured part of the eye, cover over the alternate eye and see if the vision is clear. If it is, your lens is on eye and centred.
Again, hold your top lid by the eyelashes against your brow bone with your non-dominant hand. With your dominant hand, use your middle finger to pull down the lower lid. Then, using the index finger and thumb of your dominant hand, gently squeeze the lens between these two fingers and remove from the coloured part of the eye. Avoid using your fingernails. Ensure that you look at your eye in the mirror whilst removing the lens to keep your eye steady. Repeat for the other lens.
Daily disposable contact lenses are the most convenient lenses available and do not require much care and maintenance. Select a new blister every day from the packets provided (most daily lenses are supplied in either packs of 30 or 90 contacts). Peel back the foil and remove the contact lens. Depending on the wearer, some may insert the lens straight from the blister pack. Others may choose to wet the lens with either multipurpose solution or a contact-lens lubricating drop before insertion. This may aid the lens in initial comfort and dry out less through the day. Dispose of the lenses at the end of the day after removal.
All contact lenses are designed to be compatible with your eyes, and you should have trouble free wear, however there is a small risk of infection with all contact lens wear. This can include serious complications like corneal ulcers, which can leave permanent scarring and blurred vision. Current research indicates the risk of a serious eye infection with daily disposables is approx 1 in 5000. If any signs of problems or symptoms occur, take the lenses out immediately, examine the lens for any splits or defects, and seek our professional advice as soon as is practical.
Never continue to wear a lens that is sore or uncomfortable for any length of time. Remember: IF IN DOUBT, TAKE IT OUT!
Always wear your lenses to your contact lens follow up visits UNLESS you have been suffering with significant sore eyes. Try to insert your lenses at least two hours before the appointment so we can evaluate the lens fitting accurately and also assess for any adverse eye reactions. If you were unable to wear the lenses on the day of your appointment because you were too busy, it is better to rebook for another day so comprehensive evaluation can be performed.