Have you been considering trading in your glasses for contact lenses? The freedom of not having to wear glasses while doing your daily activities can be very enticing, but the change from simply slipping on a pair of glasses to wearing contact lenses may be a little overwhelming.

There are some basic things you should know when it comes to contact lenses. In order to help make this first experience enjoyable and to support you through this process, we have compiled five tips for novice contact lens wearers.

1. Get the Right Fit!
The ease of ordering contact lenses online may be tempting. There are plenty of ads from online providers that offer contact lenses at reduced prices or with free shipping, but be cautious! Often times, those sites do not offer prescription verification, which would mean that you might not have the proper prescription for your eyesight or that they may not be fitted to the curvature of your eyes. In addition, they may not have been tested or approved by Health Canada either. These factors can contribute to poor vision or eye health issues.

Your optometrist should prescribe your contact lenses, as it may not be the same prescription as your eyeglasses. They will be fitted specifically for your eyes and adapted to your daily needs. Your eye doctor will also offer professional monitoring and recommendations for proper use and storage.

A woman is putting a contact lens in her eye

2. Handle the Lenses with Clean Hands
This may seem pretty obvious, but thoroughly washing your hands before manipulating your contact lenses is important. This will ensure that your eyes are not exposed to bacteria that can cause infection. Avoid oily or scented soaps that may adhere to the lenses. Drying your hands very well before touching the lenses is also essential because contact lenses should not come into contact with water. If exposed to water, the lens may be susceptible to bacteria or it may change it’s shape, which may cause discomfort while wearing them.

3. Take Care of Your Lenses  
Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to cleaning your lenses. There is a precise cleaning regime for each different type of lenses. Monthly or extended wear contact lenses may require special solutions to be rubbed on the lenses and then placed in fresh solution after each wear. Don’t use any substitutes, which may damage the lenses, only use the recommended products.

If you opt for dailies, there is no cleaning required you simply dispose of the lenses at the end of the day and use a fresh set the next day.

Discuss the various options with your optometrist or optician to see which lenses will suit your needs the best.

A hand is holding a contact lens case filled with cleansing liquid4. How do you know if the lens is inside out?
As a newbie, you may be wondering how to tell if you are inserting the lens inside out. Rest assured, you are not alone! This is a very typical question. The trick is to place the lens on your index finger so that it forms a cup. If the lens forms a “U” with the top edge flared out, then it is inside out flip the lens so that it forms a “U” without an edge.

Should you insert the lens inside out, you’ll know, since it will cause some discomfort. No need to panic, because it will not cause any damage. Simply remove the lens flip it and reinsert it. 

5. Follow the Prescribed Wear Schedule
Do not risk your eye health by writing your own rules! Your eyes are worth more than that. When you receive your contact lenses you will be prescribed a wear schedule based on the type of lenses you purchased. It is important to adhere to this schedule. Don’t extend the wear on your dailies by a few extra days or consider sleeping in your contact lenses to cut down on your morning routine these are not good ideas and may contribute to possible infections or other eye-related problems. Following the recommended wear and replacement plan for your lenses is crucial to maintain good eye health. 

Wearing contact lenses is very freeing and once you get the hang of caring for them and integrating them in your daily routine, you will be very happy to have the option of seeing without glasses!

If you have more questions, rest assured your IRIS optometrist is available for a consult. Book your contact lens fitting appointment now!