For many people, contact lenses are the way to go where vision treatment is concerned. Many types are disposable, so wearers don’t have to worry too much about cleaning them, and they don’t require much adjustment to fit correctly. However, there are still lots of questions that float around about contacts. Here are some of them answered.
Do contact lenses hurt?
Generally, if contacts are fitted properly, contact lenses will not hurt your eyes. Contacts are designed to be comfortable in the eye, particularly hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses. Your eye doctor will fit you for contacts before you begin to wear them in order to ensure the utmost comfort. Most people don’t even feel their contacts after a short period of wearing and getting used to them. The main exception to this rule is rigid glass permeable (RGP) lenses or hybrid lenses, in which case the material of the contacts, which is meant for more long-term use, may take slightly more time to grow accustomed to.
If you have chronically dry eyes, contacts may irritate your eyes, and you may have to talk to your doctor about other vision correction options. Other forms of potential irritation may occur if you improperly clean your contacts or use them past their expiration date.
Can I wear contacts for exercise and sport?
Wearing contacts for physical activity is just fine. In fact, many athletes prefer them. Contacts don’t get smudged, don’t become foggy in rapid temperature change, and don’t easily fall off. In addition, they don’t steam up from perspiration, and they provide excellent depth perception and peripheral vision. Modern close-fitting contacts are designed to stay put.
The only exception to this rule, which also depends on the opinion of your doctor, is swimming with contacts. Most professionals advise against wearing contacts while in the pool, but if you do swim with contact lenses in, it’s best to use disposable lenses and change them when you exit the pool. Another good option is to simply wear goggles in the pool.
How do I clean my contacts?
If you wear disposable contacts, you don’t need to clean them. However, if you use extended-wear contacts over the course of a week to a month, it’s important to clean them every night. Fortunately, lens cleaning is fairly simple. After washing your hands, clean your contacts with your contact solution of choice (or the one recommended by your eye doctor), and then rinse them again with the solution to remove dislodged particles. After that, put them into your clean lens case and fill it up with fresh cleaning solution to further disinfect the lenses.
Don’t wash your contacts with tap water, as microorganisms and bacteria from your water may contaminate your lenses and put you at risk for eye infection. Never use saliva to clean them. Also, consult with your eye doctor first about proper cleaning technique, as it may vary depending on the type of lenses you use. Finally, don’t use extended-wear contacts beyond their time limit or expiration date, even if they still feel comfortable. Using them beyond their expiration date will risk the buildup of harmful substances and proteins on the lens and cause eye problems.
Can a contact lens get lost behind my eye?
No, a contact lens will not end up behind your eye. If you dislodge it by rubbing your eyes or some other activity, it will likely fall out. In the worst case, the lens may get trapped underneath your upper eyelid, and you’ll have to retrieve it. It’s rare to have these problems with contact lenses, but if you do, contact your eye doctor immediately for assistance.
Can children wear contact lenses?
Children being able to wear contact lenses depends on their age, level of responsibility and the opinions of their parents. Children can be taught to wear contacts and take them in and out, and your eye doctor can fit them properly during an eye appointment. However, if your child does wear contacts at a young age, it may be best to start by having him or her wear disposable contacts. This eliminates the need to clean them every night. Talk to your eye doctor about best practices and advice.