I have been wearing contact lenses regularly for years now, so I was eager to learn more about how to care for my contacts and my eyes when I was given the opportunity to connect with optometrist Dr. Susan Resnick. Dr. Susan Resnick, OD, is a partner at Drs. Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates in New York City and she took the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions regarding how to care for my contact lens.
Needless to say, I learned a lot from Dr. Resnick. I see that my optometrist did good by prescribing me ACUVUE contact lenses since I learned it also blocks UVB and UVA rays. It was also interesting to see that perhaps women who wear heavy eye makeup should really consider daily disposable contact lenses. This is something I need to talk to my optometrist about! And did you know that they had prescription goggles? I didn’t! Read on for more information on how to care for your contact lenses.
Are contacts safe?
Yes â€“ contact lenses are safe! Contact lenses are worn comfortably and safely by millions of people worldwide, and provide many vision benefits. They have a long history of providing wearers with a safe and effective form of vision correction, however, itâ€™s important to remember that contact lenses are a medical device, and should be treated with great care.
What type of contacts are best to use?
There are many considerations that your eye doctor will take into account when deciding which contact lens is best for you. There are contact lenses available to correctÂ virtually allÂ vision conditions, including astigmatism, nearsightedness and presbyopia.
Your eye doctor will learn more about yourÂ dailyÂ routine and your lifestyle needs in a contact lens and recommend the best match for your needs. The most popular options for contact lenses are daily disposable contact lenses and frequent replacement lenses. Daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn for one day and removed prior to sleeping. They are good options for women who wear heavy eye makeup, or anyone who is looking for convenience, as they require no cleaning or storing. Frequent replacement lenses are commonly prescribed on a two-week or four-week basis, and should be taken out every night and be replacedÂ as recommendedÂ by your eye care provider. Frequent replacement lenses require daily cleaning and storing.
Does it matter how long I wear my contacts each day? Or how many days a week?
You can wear your contact lenses every day, as long as they are comfortable and are providing you with the vision correction you need. However, it is important to note that you should always follow the replacement schedule of your contact lenses as prescribed by your doctor. For example, if you wear a daily disposable lens, you should only wear them for one day, and throw the pair away at the end of the day.
Is it ok to wear contact lenses overnight?
Some frequent replacement lenses are designed for continuous wear. If you are interested in wearing contact lenses overnight, I recommend talking to your eye doctor to make sure that the contact lenses you wear are appropriate for overnight wear.
Can you wear contact lenses while swimming? In the shower?
You should not wear your contact lenses while swimming or in the shower. Exposing your contact lenses to any water, be it from the tap, a lake, a pool or the ocean may increase the risk of severe eye infections that can lead to serious health problems, and even vision loss. If you frequently swim, talk to your eye doctor about prescription goggles.
How do I properly care for my lenses?
To properly care for your contact lenses, follow these tips:
- Always wash and rinse your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
- You should always remove, clean and disinfect your lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your eye doctor.Â
- Use contact lens solutions recommended by your eye doctor
- Never put your contact lenses in your mouth.
- Only wear contact lenses prescribed by your eye doctor â€“ donâ€™t wear someone elseâ€™s lenses, or purchase cosmetic lenses from a store or online with a prescription
- If you feel discomfort when wearing your contact lenses, remove them and make an appointment with your eye doctor to figure out the problem
- See your eye doctor once a year for a full eye exam, even if you are not having any issues with your eyes, or contact lenses
Â What kind of contact lens solution is best?
â€¨Itâ€™s important to use the solution as prescribed by your eye doctor; he or she will recommend a solution that works best with your contact lenses, as well as your specific eye health concerns. For example, if you suffer from eye allergies, your doctor may prescribe a solution that is preservative-free, as some preservatives can causes eye allergy symptoms.
Is it ok to reuse contact lens solutions?
You should never reuse your contact lens solution. Reusing solution can lead to an increased risk of contact-lens related infections. Itâ€™s also important to note that you should not use saline solution, rewetting drops, saliva or any type of water to clean your lenses. Doing so can also lead to an increased risk of eye infections.
How often should people change their contact lens case?
Bacteria can grow in your contact lens case, so always make sure to clean and dryÂ your case. You should replace your contact lens case with a brand new case every three months.
Do you have any other eye health care tips you would like to share?
Many people are aware that UV rays can damage the skin, but not many are aware of the risks that UV exposure poses to the eyes. A number of studies have shown that the effects of UV radiation to the eyes are mostly cumulative, and UV exposure may increase the chance of developing eye problems later in life. Once you, or your eye doctor, notices damage, itâ€™s too late to reverse it.
Take these tips to help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays:
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, like a sun hat, or a baseball cap
- Choose high-quality UV-blocking sunglasses and look for 100% UVA/UVB blocking on the label.
- For those who require vision correction, UV blocking contact lenses can offer an additional measure of UV protection. Not all contact lenses offer UV protection, and of those that do, not all provide similar absorption levels. ACUVUEÂ® Brand Contact Lenses is the only major brand which blocks approximately 97% of UVB and 81% of UVA rays as standard across the entire range of its products.
ABOUT DR. SUSAN RESNICK, OD, FAAO
Dr. Susan Resnick maintains a strong expertise in primary optometric care including binocular vision assessment and pediatric examinations as a partner at Drs. Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates. She authors, lectures and consults in the areas of specialty contact lenses and emerging vision and eyecare technologies.
Dr. Resnick is a go-to resource for media, including top national outlets FoxNews.com, Allure.com and Organic Spa, among others.
She serves as an advisor to the industry and as a clinical investigator in the contact lens and pharmaceutical fields. She is a member of the America Academy of Optometry and the Nassau County Optometric Society.
Dr. Susan Resnick received her Doctorate of Optometry from the New York State College of Optometry in 1983.
Photo credit: Darkjeanie