Tips for Contact Lenses

Home Tips for Contact Lenses

Contact Lenses and Cosmetics

You can wear contacts and cosmetics safely and comfortably together by following these helpful tips:

  • Put on soft contact lenses before applying makeup.
  • Put on rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses after applying makeup.
  • Avoid lash-extending mascara, which has fibers that can irritate the eyes. Also avoid waterproof mascara, which cannot be easily removed with water and may stain soft contact lenses. Replace mascara at least every three months.
  • Avoid applying eyeliner along the watermark of the eyelid.
  • Remove lenses before removing makeup.
  • Choose an oil-free moisturizer.
  • Don’t use hand creams or lotions before handling contacts. They can leave a film on your lenses.
    • Use hairspray before putting on your contacts. If you use hairspray while you are wearing your contacts, close your eyes during spraying and for a few seconds after.
    • Blink your eyes frequently while using a hair drier to keep your eyes from getting too dry.
    • Keep false eyelash cement, nail polish and remover, perfume and cologne away from lenses. They can damage the plastic.
    • Choose water-based, hypoallergenic liquid foundations. Cream makeup may leave a film on your lenses.

Do's and Don'ts

If you are interested in wearing contact lenses, get off to the right start by seeing a doctor who provides full-service care. Your doctor will provide you with a thorough eye examination and an evaluation of your suitability for contact lens wear. You will also receive the lenses, necessary lens care kits, individual instructions for wear and care, and follow-up visits over a specified time. The initial visit and examination can take an hour or longer.

Do:

  • Always wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling contact lenses.
  • Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses as directed by your optometrist. If recommended, rub the contact lenses with your fingers and rinse them thoroughly before soaking the lenses overnight in multipurpose solution that completely covers each lens.
  • Store lenses in the proper lens storage case, and replace the case at least every three months. Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
  • Use only fresh solution to clean and store contact lenses. Never reuse old solution. Change your contact lens solution according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, even if you don’t use your lenses daily.
  • Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your optometrist.
  • Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
  • Avoid tap water to wash or store contact lenses or lens cases.
  • See your optometrist for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.

Don't:

  • Use cream soaps. They can leave a film on your hands that can transfer to the lenses.
  • Use homemade saline solutions. Improper use of homemade saline solutions has been linked with a potentially blinding condition among soft lens wearers.
  • Put contact lenses in your mouth or moisten them with saliva, which is full of bacteria and a potential source of infection.
  • Use tap water to wash or store contact lenses or lens cases.
  • Share lenses with others.
  • Use products not recommended by your optometrist to clean and disinfect your lenses. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
  • Sleep in contact lenses after being exposed to pools, lakes, oceans, hot tubs or other sources of water that can contain bacteria.

Contact lens case care

Contact lens case care

  • Contact lens care systems are highly important to the success of your contact lens wear and also the reduction of risk for infections. A major part of any contact lens care system should include proper sanitation and replacement of contact lens cases.
  • The American Optometric Association has formed best practice recommendations from frequently asked questions.
    Clicking the links below can save you from future infections and possibly even permanent vision lost.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I REPLACE MY CASE?

  • The American Optometric Association recommends you replace your contact lens storage case at least every three months. Your contact lens solution manufacturer may recommend replacement at anywhere between one and three months of use. Failure to replace the contact lens case at the recommended interval increases the risk of complications.

DO I NEED TO REPLACE MY CASE EVEN IF IT LOOKS CLEAN?

  • Yes. Bacteria and other micro-organisms produce a substance called biofilm. Biofilms can form in a contact lens case, helping bacteria “hide” from the disinfectant in the contact lens solution.1,2,3,4,5 Biofilm cannot be seen by the naked eye; therefore, it is best to replace your contact lens case at least every one to three months.

HOW SHOULD I CLEAN MY CASE?

  • You should follow your solution manufacturer’s recommendations to clean and replace your lens storage case. Immediately after lenses are removed, discard the old solution from the wells of the case. The recommended steps from here may vary but usually include rinsing the case out with fresh solution and then air drying the case with the caps off. Following these guidelines can reduce the chances of infection or inflammation.
  • Recent research also suggests that adding a rub and a wipe step can assist with biofilm and bacteria removal in lens cases. Immediately after lenses are removed, discard the old solution from the wells of the case. Rub the case with clean fingers for at least five seconds, rinse with the contact lens disinfecting solution, then wipe dry with a clean tissue. Air dry the case face down on a tissue with the caps off.
  • Avoid washing the case with tap water as this has been linked with an increased risk of development of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a severe corneal infection that can lead to permanent vision loss.

HOW SHOULD I STORE MY LENS CASE WHILE IT'S AIR DRYING?

  • Contact lens cases should be stored to air dry in a clean, dry location. The case can be placed on a clean tissue with the case face down and the caps off.

IS THERE ANY PROBLEM WITH EACH NIGHT SIMPLY ADDING THE SOLUTION ALREADY TO MY CASE?

  • Adding additional solution to a contact lens case containing used solution (known as “topping off”) has been linked to serious eye infections and is associated with the development of contact lens-related complications.
  • To reduce this risk, recent research recommends contact lens wearers discard all used solution, rub the lens case with clean fingers for at least five seconds, rinse the case with a steady stream of contact lens disinfection solution, and then wipe the case wells dry with a clean tissue.4 Air dry the case face down on a tissue with the caps off.
  • Avoid washing the case with tap water as this has been linked with increasing the risk of developing Acanthamoeba keratitis, a corneal infection that is resistant to treatment and cure.

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