Thanks to modern medical improvements, contact lenses (including silicone hydrogel contacts) are easy to access, affordable, and much lighter than traditional glasses. However, if you’re just trying out contacts for the first time, they can be tricky to get adjusted to and know whether it’s safe to use eye drops with contacts.
Below we detail several tips and tricks (in addition to what to avoid) on getting used to contact lenses.
Putting Your Contacts In
Most importantly, before you even touch your contact lenses case, wash your hands. Place the contact on the tip of your finger and double-check that the lens is the right side up (it should be curving upward like a tiny bowl).
With one hand, delicately pull your upper eyelid up and your bottom eyelid down to prevent yourself from blinking. Move the lens slowly toward your eye. Look upwards to the ceiling so you’re not looking directly at the contact and place the lens in your eye. Slowly let go of your eyelids and close your eye so the contact can settle. Take a second to make sure it settles properly. Repeat with your other eye.
Taking Your Contacts Out
Once again, before you remove your contacts, wash your hands thoroughly. It also helps to stand in front of a well-lit mirror in the bathroom and have a towel draped over the edge of the sink to catch your lens if it falls. Look up towards the ceiling and, using your non-dominant hand, gently raise your upper eyelid away from your eye. With your dominant hand, use your middle finger gently pull down your lower eyelid.
Using the pads (not your nails) of your index finger and thumb, gently squeeze on the contact lens to pull it down and away from your eye. Place the lens into the palm of your other hand and repeat the process with your other eye.
Care for Your Contact Lenses
Since you’re putting them directly on top of your eyes it makes sense that would need to clean your contact lenses. You can do so by using a contact lens solution as specified by your optometrist. This is a solution specifically designed to disinfect and hydrate your contact lenses. It’s safe to keep your contacts stored in this kind of solution when you’re not wearing them.
Is It Safe to Use Eye Drops With Contacts?
Not all eye drops or artificial tears are compatible with contact lens wear. Some artificial tears can be used to moisturize and lubricate the contact lenses and can be applied while wearing your contact lenses. Some artificial tears have preservatives or oils which make them not compatible with contact lens wear and should not be used while wearing contact lenses.
If you have dry eyes, be sure to talk with your optometrist. Your optometrist can recommend a brand of artificial tears specific to contact lens wear. Your optometrist may also consider changing your contact lenses to a daily disposable design as well as a contact lens more tailored to dry eye sufferers.
Overall, contacts can be a convenient alternative to glasses that will never fog up!