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Caring for Contacts: Some Common Sense Guidelines

For anyone who’s grown sick and tired of glasses, and makes a successful switch to contacts, a bubbling sense of relief and happiness can go along with it.

Dr. Wallace Stuart, O.D., of Sonora, Calif. has seen many a spec-bound patient make the switch, and sing its praises.

Active people might find contacts an even bigger winner over glasses. With his practice located in the heart of the ski-resort rich Sierra Nevada, Dr. Stuart sees a ton of skiing enthusiasts. He says, “I get a lot of skiers in my office who complain about wearing their glasses while racing down the slopes. No problem – once I get them into contacts, they never complain again.”

The doctor has helped many patients make satisfying switches during his 32 years in practice. When he does, he makes sure they’re properly prepped with the important steps in caring for the little sight-giving discs.

“Contacts are a marvelous invention, but you have to take care of them to be sure they don’t irritate your eyes or cause an infection,” Dr. Stuart says. “Knowing how to store, wear and clean your contacts is the key to getting the most out of them.”

Dr. Stuart shared with us the very same marching orders he gives his new contact lens wearers:

Ditch the dirt. Dirt for contact lenses comes in the form of protein build-up and other eye and environmental “muck.” And, routine cleaning only lasts so long. So, at the designated times, toss the contacts and use a fresh pair. That’s why they’re called disposable.

Not at night. If your contacts aren’t the overnight-approved, extended wear variety, don’t treat them that way. Daily wear contacts need nightly soaks to clean and disinfect them. The morning routine should include a simple rinse with fresh solution before putting them in your eyes.

Wash away. The cardinal rule of staying healthy, in general, is wash your hands often. When it comes to contact lenses, often means immediately before you handle them. This will help keep them clean and free of nasty stuff, like skin oils, dust and salty sweat.

No to nails. Only your fingertips should touch your contacts. Fingernails can easily rip the delicate material. If you wear your nails long, find another technique to retrieve the contacts from the container before transferring to your finger. The soft disinfected tip of a medicine dropper can do the trick.

Refuse to reuse. Here’s one instance where recycling is a no-no. Never reuse contact lens solution. Ever. Use fresh stuff every night.

Forget the fumes. Whenever you can, avoid wearing contacts when you’re around irritating or toxic fumes. For example, wear your glasses for hair-dying adventures or oven cleaning.

Banish beauty-aids. Well, around your contacts anyway. Keep soaps, lotions, cosmetics, perfumes and other daily “must-do's” away from your contacts.

Source: VSP