Getting Your Contact Lenses Ready for Use: Essential Preparations
Contacts can transform your life, allowing you to navigate your daily activities without the cumbersome nature of glasses. Colored or not, medically prescribed or simply for style, they are a great tool to have. However, it's essential to handle and care for your lenses correctly to prevent discomfort or even infections. This guide will steer you through the steps, from gathering your supplies to correctly inserting your lenses, making this process an effortless routine.
Gathering Your Supplies
The very foundation of a successful routine starts with having the right supplies. It's essential to have a quality contact lens solution, a clean lens case, a mirror, and of course, your lenses. A suitable contact lens solution is crucial as it serves a dual purpose - cleaning them and disinfecting them. Also, a properly cleaned case helps in preventing lens contamination.
Your supplies should be easily accessible, to simplify the process and save time. It's a great idea to store your colored contacts and the necessary supplies in a neat, sanitary spot where they're safe from dust and grime. It's not advisable to scramble for your supplies at the last minute.
Lastly, be cautious about the brands you pick. Always use reputable brands that are certified by health authorities, as this ensures the products are safe and effective. If you're ever uncertain, consult your eye care professional for recommendations on the best products for your specific needs.
Checking the Expiry Date
Before proceeding with your routine, always check the expiry date on your lens pack. Every pack comes with an expiration date, usually indicated on the side or bottom. Using lenses past this date might lead to severe eye issues, as the material could degrade over time.
Not only do the lenses themselves expire, but so does the contact lens solution. An expired solution loses its disinfecting ability, potentially harboring harmful bacteria that could lead to infections. This, combined with expired lenses, could cause considerable harm to your eyes.
Finally, when purchasing your contact lenses and solution, ensure that their expiry dates are far enough into the future to avoid accidental use of expired products. With these precautions in mind, you're now ready to dive into the actual process of lens preparation.
Cleaning Your Hands
Arguably the most crucial step in the preparation process is cleaning your hands. Your fingers will directly interact with the lenses and, by extension, your eyes. Any residual germs or dirt on your hands could easily be transferred into your eyes, risking infection.
Wash your hands thoroughly with mild, non-scented soap and warm water, ensuring that all surfaces are covered. Rinse well to remove all soap, as soap residue can irritate your eyes. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel to avoid getting any towel fibers on your lenses.
Avoid using hand sanitizers instead of washing your hands, as they often contain alcohol that can dry and irritate your eyes. Clean, dry hands are your first line of defense against harmful bacteria and infections when handling your lenses.
Preparing the Case
A case is a small but indispensable tool for any user. It's essential to prepare your case properly before storing your contacts in it. Start by rinsing the case with a fresh contacts solution. Avoid using water as it can harbor bacteria and other pathogens.
Shake the case gently to remove any excess solution. Remember, we don’t want to dry the case; we’re simply ensuring there's no stagnant solution that could lead to lens contamination.
Lastly, air-dry your lens case upside down on a clean tissue to avoid trapping moisture that could encourage bacterial growth. Always replace your lens case at least every three months or sooner if it gets cracked or damaged.
Rinsing the Contact Lenses
After opening your lens pack, the next step is rinsing the lenses. This removes any residual manufacturing debris or preservative substances that might be on the lenses. Use a fresh solution to rinse each of them thoroughly.
Hold the lens on the tip of your finger and gently rinse it with a steady stream of solution. Make sure to rinse both sides of the lens to ensure a thorough clean.
Resist the urge to use water or saliva as they are not sterile and may contain harmful bacteria. The contact lens solution is designed to clean and disinfect without causing any damage to the material.
Applying the Solution
Having rinsed your colored contact lenses, you're now ready to apply the solution. Place the lens in the palm of your hand and apply a generous amount of solution. Gently rub the lens in the solution using your clean index finger. This process helps in removing any dirt or proteins that might have stuck to your lenses.
Flip the lens and repeat the process on the other side. This step may seem tedious, but it is crucial in maintaining the cleanliness of your lenses and the health of your eyes.
After cleaning, rinse it again with fresh solution to remove any loosened debris. Then, place it in the well-rinsed case and fill it with fresh contact solution, ensuring the lens is fully submerged.
Inspecting the Contact Lenses
Before placing the lenses in your eyes, it's imperative to inspect them for any visible defects. Hold it on the tip of your finger and hold it up against a light background. Look for any visible particles, scratches, or tears.
A damaged lens can cause significant discomfort and potentially harm your eye. If you find any defects, it's better to discard the lens and replace it with a new one.
Also, check the shape. A lens that is in good condition should have a smooth, bowl-like shape. If it appears irregular or has jagged edges, it might be inside out.
Inserting the Lenses Correctly
Finally, we're at the last step of the process – inserting the lenses. Start by making sure your fingers are dry to prevent the lens from sticking to them. Carefully pick up one lens and place it on the tip of your index finger.
Pull down your lower eyelid with your middle finger and look upwards as you place the lens on the lower part of your eye. Once it is in place, close your eye and roll your eyeball around a bit to help the lens settle.
Repeat the process with the other eye. If you feel any discomfort, remove it, rinse it with fresh solution, and try inserting it again. Remember, the key to successful lens insertion is patience and practice.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to preparing your contact lenses for use. Always remember that a little extra time and care can ensure not just your comfort, but also the health and well-being of your eyes. Make these steps a part of your daily routine, and you're sure to have a clear and trouble-free vision!