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Contact Lens Care 101: A Guide to Healthy and Comfortable Eyes

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If you’re a contact lens wearer, understanding the proper way to use, store and maintain your lenses is the key to ensuring their continued comfort and safety. Improper use and care of contact lenses is a common cause of eye irritation, inflammation, infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye), and, most concerningly, corneal inflammation and ulcers. At their worst, these complications can lead to vision loss, even blindness, so make sure to preserve the integrity of your lenses and healthy vision by adhering to commonsense contact lens care and maintenance.


First and foremost, follow any instructions provided by your ophthalmologist or optometrist for your specific type of contact lens, as different types may require unique care. From there, good hygiene practices are crucial in the fight against harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. An estimated 40%-90% of contact lens users don’t follow adequate care instructions for their contact lenses, frequently resulting in keratitis, a painful and sometimes-dangerous eye infection that sends many people to the ER. Therefore, when using contact lenses, always make sure to:

1. Start with clean hands. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your contact lenses, whether they’re in a case or in your eye. Use a clean, lint-free towel to dry your hands to avoid getting lint or residue on or under your lenses.

2. Use sterile solution. Before and after you use your contact lenses, clean them by gently rubbing them between your fingers using sterile contact lens solution, then rinse them with more solution to remove any debris or buildup. Always store your lenses in fresh solution and discard the solution from the previous day.

3. Remove your lenses before you shower, wash your face, or swim to prevent contamination with waterborne pathogens. If water comes into contact with your lenses, wash them thoroughly with sterile solution before wearing them again.

4. Give your eyes breathing room. Sleep is the perfect time to let your eyes rest and oxygenate. Never wear your lenses to bed unless they’re approved for overnight wear. If your lenses are designed for overnight use, you may leave them in as directed, but understand that even this type of specialty lens can reduce the oxygen supply to your corneas, and increase the chance of eye dryness, eye infection and corneal abrasion. It is always safest to remove your lenses before sleep.

5. Safely store your lenses. Use a clean lens case designed for your type of contact lens. Place your clean lenses in their respective compartments and fill with fresh sterile solution, ensuring full submersion to keep your lenses from drying out. Screw the lids on tightly to prevent evaporation and maintain cleanliness. Replace your storage case every three months to help prevent the growth of pathogens.

6. Replace your lenses as directed. Different lenses have different life cycles, so follow the instructions on your contact lens box, or the individualized instructions provided by your eye doctor. Trying to save money by extending contact lens wear beyond its recommended life span is a common cause of eye infection, corneal abrasion, and sometimes serious vision problems, so don’t risk it.


Again, always ensure your hands are clean and dry and that contact lenses are clean before you insert them into your eyes. Use sterile cleaning solution, as water or saliva can be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses.

To insert the lens, check to make sure it isn’t inside-out, and then place it on the tip of the index finger of your dominant hand. Use your other hand to gently hold your upper eyelid open as you pull down the lower lid with the middle or ring finger of your dominant hand. Look up toward the ceiling, and then gently place the lens over the center part of your eye. In the beginning, this may take some practice. If you’re unsuccessful and the lens falls off your finger, clean the lens and start again. With practice, most people find lens insertion becomes second nature to them.

To remove your lens, make sure your hands are clean and dry. Look upwards toward the ceiling and gently pull down your lower eyelid. With your index finger, touch the lower edge of the lens and slide it downwards. Gently pinch the lens between your thumb and index finger and pull it outward. It is helpful to make sure the lens is right-side out before storing.


Visit your ophthalmologist or optometrist regularly to make sure your lenses fit properly, your eyes are happy and healthy, and your vision remains clear and crisp. Remove your contact lenses and call your eye doctor immediately if you experience eye discomfort, irritation, undue redness or dryness, signs of infection, sensitivity to light, or changes in vision.

Applying these guidelines can help ensure the safe and comfortable use of your contact lenses, optimal eye health, and brilliant vision for everything you do.


To enjoy the clarity, convenience and range of vision delivered by contact lenses, your eye doctor will first examine your eyes for conditions such as chronic dry eye, frequent eye infection, and persistent allergic reactions. Your doctor will also ask about your living and working environments to assess the amount of dust, sand and other airborne elements that may impact contact lens use. If you’re a candidate for contact lenses, your eye doctor will measure your tear film quality, as well as the size and shape of your corneas and pupils to determine the best contact lens for you. This customization helps deliver the best comfort, vision and safety for your unique eyes and lifestyle.


If you’re new to contact lenses, in need of an updated prescription, or interested in trying an advanced new contact lens technology, contact or drop by your local Lake Eye (a US Eye company). We offer contact lens exams and customized contact lens fittings, plus a complete array of leading-edge contact lenses, including rigid gas-permeable lenses, super-comfortable hybrid lenses, and scleral and Rose-K lenses for people with corneal issues like keratoconus. From disposable to daily wear to extended wear, you’ll find the right lenses for your lifestyle, and a team of dedicated eye care professionals ready to assist you every step of the way.

Written by useye

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