Whether you’ve been wearing eyeglasses for years, or you just received your first prescription, you might wonder if you’re ready for contact lenses. There’s no doubt that contact lenses provide many benefits: they’re convenient, they don’t fog up, and you can continue to wear your favorite pair of sunglasses 一 no special sunglass prescription needed.
Despite the many advantages of contacts, there is a learning curve if you’re just starting out with them. That’s why Stephen Wolchok, MD, and our talented team here at Wolchok Eye Associates, PA in Jacksonville, Florida, created this guide to help you adjust to living with contacts.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Allow yourself plenty of time to get used to wearing contacts
When you first start to wear contacts, it can take a little bit of time to figure out how to put them in and how to take them out. This is normal. Be sure to allot extra time in the morning so you’re not rushing to leave for work. Take a deep breath and work in a comfortable, well-lit area near a mirror. The bathroom counter is the perfect place.
Tip: Always insert the same lens first. This helps reduce confusion, especially if you have different prescriptions in each eye.
2. Learn how to identify if your contacts are inside out
If you’ve never worn contacts before, you might not realize if your contact lenses are inside out. To determine if your lens is inside out (or not), follow this trick:
- Place your lens carefully on the tip of your finger so that it forms a cup shape
- If the contact lens takes a simple "U" shape, then it’s in its proper position
- If the contact lens doesn’t form a "U" shape (or if the edges flare out), then it’s inside out
Putting an inside-out contact lens into your eye won’t damage your eye, but it may feel uncomfortable. If you put your contacts in and they feel “off,” take them out and check to make sure the lens is in the right position.
3. Follow the proper hygiene steps
One of the most important things you can do is to keep your hands and your contact lens case clean. Follow these hygiene steps to reduce the risk of eye infections or irritation:
- Always wash prior to inserting or removing your lenses
- Always clean, rinse, and disinfect your lenses each time you remove them, following the instructions on the contact lens solution bottle
- Keep your lens solution bottle closed when not in use and discard the bottle once it’s expired
- Replace the contact lens solution daily or according to the production instructions
In addition to keeping your hands clean, routinely clean and sterilize your lens case.
4. Use the right products
Not all contact lenses are the same, and not all lens solutions are the same either. Use the right soaking solution for your specific brand and type of contact lenses. Soak your contacts for the specified length of time.
Additionally, ensure that any eye care products you already use (such as over-the-counter eye drops) are safe for contact lens wearers. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Wolchok for product recommendations that are safe for you.
5. Follow the instructions for discarding your lenses
Depending on which type of contacts you have, you may be able to re-wear the same pair each day for a few weeks or a few months. Some contacts, on the other hand, aren’t meant to be re-worn. Those contacts can be discarded each day.
6. Consider your morning routine
You might already have a morning routine established, but if you’re adding contacts to the mix, you may need to rethink the order of a few steps. Specifically, don’t apply hairspray after you’ve already inserted your contacts. Hairspray should be applied before you insert your contacts to reduce the chance of hairspray settling on your lenses.
7. Keep your eyeglasses prescription up-to-date
When you make the switch from glasses to contacts, you might wonder if you still need to keep your eyeglasses current, and the answer is yes. Contact lenses aren’t designed for 24-hour usage, and you may find that taking your contacts out in the evening gives your eyes a chance to breathe.
Even if you opt for extended-wear contacts (which are designed for 24-hour wear), you still need to remove them every seven days to clean them. Keeping a pair of eyeglasses with a current prescription ensures that you have clear vision even if you can’t wear your contacts.
Schedule a visit with Dr. Wolchok today and explore your options. You can reach our Jacksonville, Florida, office at 904-739-0606 or through our online portal.