Hard Contact Lenses: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

You will get the most benefit from your contact lenses if you take care of them every day. Daily care keeps contacts from getting bacteria on them, which can make your eyes sore or cause an infection. Hard contacts, often called gas permeable contacts, may need different cleaning products than soft contact lenses.

Always have a backup pair of glasses to wear in case your eyes become irritated.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Wash your hands before you take out or put in your contacts. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
  • Clean your lens case every day with soap and warm water. Let it dry completely.
  • Do not wet your contacts in your mouth or with tap water.
  • Wear your lenses only as long as directed. Your doctor may give you special instructions.
  • Do not wear contacts when you swim, shower, or use a hot tub. This will help prevent infections.
  • Use the lens cleaning product your doctor recommends. Use only products that are approved for hard lenses.
  • Gently rub a few drops of cleaning solution on one lens in the palm of your hand. Then rinse the lens with sterile saline solution, and store it in your lens case with fresh storing solution. Repeat with the other lens. You may use one product that cleans, disinfects, and can be used to store your contacts. Or you may use different products for each step. You can buy these products at most pharmacies. Continue using the same brand of contact lens solution your doctor prescribed.
  • Store the lens in the disinfecting solution overnight.
  • In some cleaning systems, you will use an enzymatic cleaner once a week. This product gets rid of protein that can build up on the lenses.
  • Put in your contacts before you put on eye makeup. Get new eye makeup every 3 to 6 months to prevent infections.
  • If you use prescription eyedrops, take out your contacts before you put in the drops. Leave your lenses out for about 30 minutes after you use eyedrops.
  • Use a sterile saline solution or rewetting drops to moisten your eyes if your contacts become dry and irritate your eyes.
  • It is a good idea to carry an extra contact storage case and storage solution with you in case you need to remove your contacts at any time.
  • Visit your eye doctor once a year to check the condition of your lenses and the health of your eyes.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have eye problems that do not go away after you clean your lenses. These may include:
    • Redness.
    • Pain or burning in your eyes.
    • Sticky drainage from your eyes.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Pain in your eyes from light.
  • You have new or increasing eye pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have questions about how to clean or wear your contacts.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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