1. Wash your hands before handling your lenses: Use soap and water and completely dry your hands with a clean towel. Never use wet hands to handle your contact lenses and never use alcohol hand sanitizer prior to handling your contact lenses.
2. Never sleep in your contact lenses: Contact lenses can be worn for different lengths of time depending on the type of lens and the health of your eyes. Wearing contact lenses longer than prescribed by your doctor increases the risk of eye infections and injuries. Studies show that sleeping in contacts lenses increases the risk of infection by more than 6 times!
3. Replace contact lenses regularly: Different types of contact lenses are disposed of at different time intervals. These recommendations are based upon the material of the lens, how quickly the wettability of the lens wanes and how easily protein builds on the surface of it. You should always dispose of your lenses according to the instructions given by your doctor. One day lenses should be replaced daily, 2 week lenses should be replaced every 2 weeks and monthly lenses should be replaced monthly, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
4. Minimize contact with water: Water can introduce germs to the eyes through contact lenses. Never rinse your contact lenses with water. Never handle your contact lenses with wet hands. Avoid water activities while wearing your lenses (showering and swimming).
5. Keep your lenses and your case clean: Always clean and rinse your lenses according to the instructions on the bottle of the contact lens solution recommended by your doctor. Never top off contact lens solution in a case; always completely replace solution in the case that was used the night before. Multipurpose solutions require that you rinse and rub your lenses, and rubbing is a critical part of removing protein, debris and germs from the lenses. Keep your contact lens case clean and replace it monthly.
6. Remove your lenses if your eyes become red or irritated: Eye irritation and redness are signs that there is a problem with your eye. Leaving a lens in an irritated eye can result in the progression of an infection or the development of an eye injury. Call your eye doctor after removing your lenses for instructions on caring for your irritated eyes.
7. Never wear contact lenses when you are sick: Having an active cold or flu infection increases the risk for an eye infection. Additionally, some medications taken to minimize cold and flu symptoms can affect the comfort and safety of contact lens wear.
8. Only wear contact lenses prescribed by a licensed eye doctor: The FDA regulates all contact lenses as prescription medical devices. This includes Halloween, special effects and non-prescription (plano) colored contact lenses. It is illegal to sell contact lenses to those without a valid prescription. Contact lenses manufactured in unregulated facilities may not be sterile and may not be made from materials that can safely be worn in the eyes. These unregulated lenses can cause infection, injury and permanent vision loss.
9. Never use expired contact lens solutions: Expired solutions may no longer be free of germs that can grow in the bottle. Never pour solutions from the original contact lens bottle into an alternate bottle for travel or storage.
10. Do not force apart a soft lens that is stuck together: Place a folded lens in the palm of your hand and soak it in solution until it unfolds using gentle massage.11. Do not use unapproved eye drops or prescribed medicine while wearing contact lenses: Use only approved lubricating drops, recommended by your eye doctor.
12. Contact lens wear is not recommended in dry, dusty environments.
13. Do not use creams, oils, or lotions prior to handling your contact lenses. If you wear cosmetics, insert your contact lenses before you apply cosmetics and remove your contact lenses before you remove cosmetics.
14. Inspect your lenses before insertion for tears or nicks: A defective lens can scratch your eye. Discard lenses with tears or nicks.
15. Get a complete eye exam every year! Getting a complete exam ensures that your prescription is updated, your eyes are healthy, and that your lenses are fitting correctly. Additionally, new contact lenses are developed throughout the year and the newest lenses may offer better vision, better safety, and better comfort than older generations of lenses. Some of the newest lenses to the market offer significantly increased moisture, UV protection, increased breathability, blue light and glare protection, and the ability to transition from clear to tinted lenses during wear!