Q) Is it really so important to wash my hands with soap before applying my contact lenses? Are there certain soaps or products that should be avoided?
A) Hand washing is important to avoid the transfer of germs and debris to the eyes. Soaps with perfumes, oils and lotions should be avoided because they can leave a film on the contact lens.
Q) I try to get “the most” out of my contact lenses, and wear them a little beyond the prescribed time interval. Is that ok?
A) Contact lenses should be discarded at their recommended replacement period to reduce the risk of infection, inflammation, and irritation of the eyes.
Q) I usually take my contacts out before going to sleep, but I sometimes fall asleep with them on. Is that unhealthy for my eyes?
A) It depends on the brand and material contact lens that you wear. Some lenses are FDA approved for sleepwear, and others are definitely not. Wearing a lens that does not allow an adequate amount of oxygen to the cornea can be harmful to the eyes if slept in.
Q) I enjoy wearing my contact lenses during all of my waking hours. Is there a recommended maximum number of hours a day that I should try to not go over?
A) It is recommended up to 14 hours a day unless they are highly oxygen permeable, then they can be worn longer.
Q) At what age is it ok to allow children to wear contact lenses?
A) It is ok when parents or guardians decide the child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of contact lenses. Good hygiene is key along with understanding the risks of wearing. Contact lenses are a medical device that requires proper care and handling.
Q) Sometimes, when I am out, my contacts feel very dry, or fall out by accident. Is it ok to use my saliva to moisten them?
A) No. Contact lens solutions or saline approved for cleaning and disinfecting the contact lenses should be used to rinse the lenses. Saliva is comprised of mostly water which is not suitable for cleaning or rinsing contacts. There can also be infectious properties in saliva. Do not use water to clean contact lenses either- microorganisms can even live in distilled water. If the lenses are getting dry and falling out, you may need to be refit into a better fitting contact lens or a new material.
Q) The solution that I use to store my contact lenses now advertises that I don’t even need to clean or rub them like I used to. What are the best practices to maintain the cleanliness of my lenses?
A) It is still best to gently rub the lenses to remove surface build-up. You can place the contact lens in the palm of your hand, apply solution and rub lightly with the index finger of the other hand.
Q) Are there any special instructions when it comes to keeping my contact lens case clean?
A) Clean/rinse the contact lens case with sterile saline or warm tap water at least once a week and let air dry. Do not use soap when cleaning the case. The case should be replaced at least every 3 months.
For more information about contact lenses and their care, schedule an appointment with Maison Optique Vision Center, your Optometrists in Lafayette.