Soft Contact Lenses: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

It's important to take good care of your contact lenses. If you clean them every day, you can prevent sore or infected eyes. This is because cleaning removes harmful chemicals and bacteria.

There are two types of soft contact lenses.

  • Daily-wear lenses are made to be worn for one day, then thrown away. You use fresh lenses each day, so you don't need to clean them.
  • Extended-wear lenses are made to last longer. You clean them each day you wear them. The label may say they can be worn day and night, but wearing your lenses while sleeping can cause infection and eye damage. To protect your eyes, it's usually best to take your lenses out before sleeping.

If you wear contacts, it's a good idea to also have a pair of glasses. You can wear the glasses if your contacts are irritating your eyes.

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.
  • Clean your lens case every day. Let it dry completely.
  • Wear your lenses only as long as directed. Your doctor may give you special instructions.
  • Take out your daily-wear lenses or extended-wear lenses before sleeping. This helps prevent serious eye problems.
  • Follow the cleaning directions for your lenses.
  • You may use the same solution to clean and store your lenses. Or you may use a separate cleaning product and then rinse your lenses with saline solution. You can buy these products over the counter at most drugstores. Do not make your own saline. It can carry bacteria. If your doctor recommends a solution, use that brand.
  • Put in your contacts before you put on eye makeup. Get new eye makeup every 3 to 6 months. This will help prevent infections.
  • If you use prescription eyedrops, take out your lenses before you put the drops in. Leave your lenses out for about 30 minutes. This will keep them from absorbing the drops.
  • Visit your doctor once a year. He or she can check your lenses and your eyes.
  • Use a sterile saline solution or rewetting drops 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. Then you will be ready if you need to take out your contacts at any time.
  • Do not wear contacts when you swim, shower, or use a hot tub. This will help prevent infections.

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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