Whether you are brand new to contact lenses, or have been wearing them for years, here’s an overview of how to properly insert, remove, and clean your contact lenses.
1. Inserting Your Contact Lenses
Always wash and dry your hands with a lint-free cloth before handling your contact lenses. Handle your right eye contact lens first so you won’t “mix-up” your lenses. Even if you wear the same correction in each eye, you should develop this habit in case your prescription changes.
Place the lens on your index finger, holding it up to a light to ensure the lens is clean and undamaged. If the lens is dirty, clean it. If there is a tear or rip in the lens, discard it for a new one.
Check to make sure the lens is facing up in the “cup” shape. If the lens is “saucer” shaped, the lens is inside out. Carefully correct the lens before insertion, as an inside-out lens will cause discomfort and blurry vision (this is an indication the lens if reversed).
Using the method you are most comfortable with, look straight ahead in the mirror and aim the lens towards the pupil. Gently release the lens on the eye and blink, several times if needed. You may need to hold back your eyelids and lashes if they get in the way during this process.
2. Removing Your Contact Lenses
Position your index finger and thumb on either side of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Slowly apply pressure, pulling fingers toward each other in a pinching motion, and then pulling outward to release the contact lens from your cornea. Be careful not to use your fingernails, as this could result in a corneal abrasion (scratch).
3. Cleaning Your Contact Lenses
Prior to insertion of your contact lenses, rinse both sides of your lens with a contact lens solution recommended by your eye doctor. Then dump out the solution left in the case, squirt new solution in the wells to quickly rinse it out, and leave the case open to allow it to air dry during the day.
At the end of the day, rinse your contact lenses with a few drops of solution and using two fingers, gently rub the contact lens to help remove protein and lipid deposits from the surface. Place your lenses in the case with new solution to store them overnight.
Use fresh contact lens solution daily. Never top off old solution, as it does not provide the necessary antimicrobial properties. Never use tap water to clean your lenses or contact lens case, as microorganisms found in water can cause severe eye infections.
If a hydrogen peroxide-based system is used, follow the instructions as indicated on the box (typically allowing your lenses to soak and disinfect for a minimum of six hours). This type of cleaning system requires the use of a special lens case with a built-in neutralizer—a ring of platinum that reacts with hydrogen peroxide—that causes the hydrogen peroxide to turn into water; do not use a flat contact lens case in lieu of the vertical case.
Replace your contact lens case at least every three months or with every new bottle of solution, whichever is sooner.