Many people new to contact lenses, and even some experienced wearers, have practical questions about contacts.
These tips can help you deal with everyday contact lens concerns.
A question many newbie wearers have is: "How can I tell if my contact lens is inside-out?"
The trick is to place the lens on your finger so that a cup is formed. Then hold the lens up directly in front of your eyes so you're looking at the side of the cup.
If the lens forms a "U" with the top edges flared out, it's inside out. If it forms just a "U," it's in the correct position.
If you're wearing lenses with a handling tint, another way is to place the lens on your fingertip and then look down at it. The edge of a tinted lens should look very blue (or green, depending on the tint); that won't be the case if the lens is inverted.
Some contact lenses also have a laser marking, such as the brand name, on the edge to help you. If you can read it properly, the lens is not inside out.
Don't worry if you place a contact lens in your eye inside out. The lens will feel uncomfortable, but it can't do any damage.
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before applying your contact lenses, but avoid scented or oily soaps that might adhere to the lens surface. Especially avoid using products containing lanolin and moisturizing lotions.
Some eye doctors say to always apply the first contact lens in the same eye, so you'll avoid the possibility of mixing up lenses for the right eye and left eye.
Other basic guidelines for contact lens application include:
Read "Caring For Soft Contact Lenses" for more advice on keeping your lenses safe and hygienic.
Always wash your hands before removing contact lenses. If you are standing in front of a sink, use a clean paper towel to cover the drain where the contact lens might accidentally fall.
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To remove soft contact lenses, look upward or sideways while you pull down on your lower eyelid. With a finger, gently maneuver the lens onto the white of your eye. There, you can very gently pinch the lens together with your index finger and thumb and lift it off the eye.
Until you master contact lens removal, you might want to keep your fingernails short to avoid accidentally scratching and damaging your eye.
Rigid contact lenses can be removed by holding out the palm of your hand, bending over, and then opening your eye wide. With one finger of your other hand, pull the skin between your upper and lower eyelid (just outside the lateral aspect of your eye) outward toward your ear with your eye wide open. Then blink. The contact lens should pop right out and into your open palm.
Devices for removing contact lenses, called "plungers," also are available from your eye doctor, and can be used to touch and directly remove a lens from your eye. Just make sure you touch only the lens and not your eye's surface with these devices.
While you might hear a myth or two about someone "losing" a contact lens in the back of the eye, this is actually impossible because of a membrane that connects your eye to the back of your eyelid.
Many Daily Disposable Contact Lens Wearers Fail To Use Their Lenses as Directed
July 2013 Daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn just once, and then discarded at the end of the day. But many users wear the lenses overnight or re-use them, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo coordinated the international study, which surveyed daily disposable contact lens wearers in optometric practices in Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A total of 805 lens wearers completed the survey. The median age of respondents was 38 years, and 66 percent were female. Overall, 9 percent of the respondents did not remove and discard their daily deposable lenses at the end of the day. Noncompliance was highest in Australia (18 percent), followed by the U.S. (12 percent), the U.K. (7 percent) and Norway (4 percent).
There were no differences with respect to gender, years of contact lens wear or lens material. The primary reason given for using the lenses longer than advised was "to save money" (60 percent). Three out of four of the noncompliant wearers reported occasional napping while wearing the lenses, and 28 percent reported wearing the lenses overnight while sleeping at least one night in the preceding month.
The survey also revealed that re-use of daily disposable contact lenses resulted in reduced comfort at lens insertion and prior to lens removal.
A report of the study appeared this month on the website of the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye.
More news about contact lenses >
Researchers have linked ultraviolet (UV) light to the formation of cataracts. Exposure to excessive UV light also may result in a condition called photokeratitis.
That's why some contact lenses now contain a UV-blocking agent. You can't tell if a contact lens has a UV blocker just by looking at it the blocking agent is clear, so as not to disturb vision. The contact lens packaging will specify if the product has a UV blocker, or you can ask your eye doctor.
Very important: UV-blocking contacts are not meant to replace sunglasses. A contact lens covers only your cornea, not your entire eye.
However, UV-blocking contact lenses do help protect the portion of the white of your eye that is covered from formation of growths such as pingueculae and pterygia.
Sunglasses with UV protection can cover more of your eye and the parts of your face that surround the eye, depending on the size of the sunglass lens. That's why contacts with UV blockers are designed to complement sunglass use as an added protection.
Getting makeup in your eye is annoying. But it's even worse with contacts, because it can stick to the lenses instead of flushing right out. Follow these tips to keep your eyes looking and feeling good:
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[Page updated May 2014]
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