Tips for Long-Term Success With Your Soft Disposable Contact Lenses

Here is a quick summary of how to keep your soft contact lens experience comfortable and your vision clear while continuing to look after the health of your eyes!

Only wear your lenses as they are prescribed by your optometrist

Daily lenses are meant to be worn once and thrown away and monthly lenses are designed for a month’s worth (30 days) of wear before being replaced. It can be helpful to mark in your diary/calendar when you first opened a new pair of lenses so you can keep track of how old they are. Do not sleep with your lenses in unless your optometrist has advised that this is acceptable in your brand of lenses. Over-wearing of your contact lenses puts you at greater risk of adverse contact lens-related events, such as infections that could blind the affected eye!

Clean your lenses every day

(Not applicable for Daily Disposables). Only use appropriate, recommended contact lens cleaning solution and use fresh solution every time (this means tipping out the old solution, not just topping it up). Cover the lenses completely in solution and replace your contact lens case every three months. It is advisable to rub your lenses even if the solution says ‘no rub’ as this removes built-up proteins, making the lenses more comfortable for longer and decreases the risk of infection and inflammation. You wouldn’t wash a dinner plate by just rinsing it under a tap, so why would you just rinse something you are putting in your eye?

Patients that wear their soft lenses during sleep put themselves at more risk of infection because the contact lenses do not get cleaned as frequently. If you cannot remove your lenses each night for sleep, at least plan to remove them weekly to give them a good clean and eliminate the bacteria and protein building up on your lenses. Monthly silicone-hydrogel lenses recommended by your optometrist are the only soft lens that should be worn overnight.

Not all solutions are created equal and changing between them may give more irritation due to different preservatives or they may not condition your type of contact lens as effectively. Try to keep using the solution your optometrist recommends. Solutions are always available in the practice or can be purchased at our online shop here.

Wash your hands

Before inserting or removing your contacts. If you wear make-up it is advisable to put your lenses in before applying make-up, and to remove your make-up before taking out your lenses. This helps to prevent getting make-up on your contacts.

Do not wear your contacts if you have a red eye

Red eyes are not happy eyes. Do not wear your lenses if your eyes are red, irritated, sore, or have any discharge. If you accidentally sleep in your contact lenses it is best to have a day of wearing them to allow the eyes to recover. If you are wearing your lenses and your eye becomes irritated, remove the lenses immediately. If the symptoms do not stop, you may have an infection and you need to see your optometrist urgently for appropriate treatment.

Have back-up glasses

Contact lenses are a great alternative to glasses but should not be your only form of optical correction. If your eye is red or sore you should not wear your contacts until they are 100% better. If you are unwell with a cold or flu it is best to give the eyes a break from contact lens wear. These situations are where you will need those back-up glasses so you can still go about your daily life. Not having a pair of back-up glasses may also mean you are tempted to overwear your contact lenses which puts your eyes are risk of inflammatory events or infection.

Get regular check-ups with your optometrist

Yearly eye exams when you wear contact lenses are higly recommended. This is to ensure that your lenses are still fitting well and not causing any damage – some contact lens complications have no symptoms. It is also to check that your vision is as good as it can be, and that these particular lenses are still appropriate for your needs.

Check expiry dates of your contact lenses and solutions

Do not use any product that is past its expiry date. It is a good idea to mark the date of opening on your bottle of solution so that you know when it needs to be thrown out. Most solutions don’t keep for more than 3 months once opened – this is because the preservatives start breaking down so the solution is no longer guaranteed to disinfect your lenses.

Minor troubleshooting

Dry eyes

This is common when the lenses have been in your eyes for 10+ hours, especially if you are in an air-conditioned or dusty/windy environment. Lubricating drops (such as Hylo-Fresh and Hylo-Forte) are a simple solution. Make sure your solution is contact lens compatible and if unsure check with your optometrist first. Some modern-day disinfection solutions such as AoSept Plus with Hydraglyde have components to help maintain moist lenses throughout the day. New contact lenses types are released every year with new technology to keep your lenses moist for longer. Ask your optometrist about these new products and if they are suitable for you.

Lens uncomfortable on insertion

First take your lens out and check that it is in the correct way (bowl shape). If you have a toric contact lens (for astigmatism), try to get the markings lined up correctly. Check the lens for signs of damage such as chips or scratches – if there is damage throw it out and use a new lens. Dust may be trapped beneath the lens: try to drag the lens onto the white of the eye then back, as this can often roll the debris out without the need to remove the lens itself.

Trouble removing lens

At the end of the day the lens is not as well hydrated, so put a drop of artificial tears into both eyes, blink a few times, and try to remove the lens again. If difficulties persist it may be a good idea to have your optometrist or contact lens assistant review your technique to see if this could be improved.

Things to remember

  • Keep your fingernails trimmed – long or ragged nails are more likely to damage your lenses when you are handling them, and they are also more likely to scratch your eye.
  • Be careful swimming in your contact lenses – for starters there is a chance they will wash out and you will lose them, but also pool water is not clean so you are at risk of an infection developing in your eye. Prescription goggles are available if you do a lot of swimming, and with any goggles, make sure they don’t leak. If you do swim in your lenses it is advisable to throw them away afterwards. Daily disposables or Orthokeratology (overnight corneal reshaping) may be best suited to patients who do alot of water sports.
  • Contact lenses come with an increased risk of infection (compared with no contact lens wear) because you are putting something into your eye. This risk is increased when wearing monthly lenses versus daily lenses. The risk also increases when you sleep in your lenses. It is important to keep this in mind and to look after your lenses and disinfect them well.
  • Saliva and tap water are not sterile! Do not use either of these to clean or store your lenses in.
  • Lenses purchases online may not be the genuine article, may have been stored or transported incorrectly and research has shown carry a higher risk of infection. Lenses purchased from your optometrist are guaranteed to be direct from the manufacturer and it is much easier for your optometrist to help you should you have any issues with the prescription or comfort. We can also courier contact lenses to you for your convenience!