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How to Put in and Care for Contact Lenses

Like most, I've wondered how to put in contact lens easily and quickly. Spending more time than you thought it would, dropping the lenses, your eyes start getting sore, you are getting frustrated - sound familiar?

How do contacts correct vision?

Your vision depends on light beams hitting the retina (the back of your eyeball) at the same point. When the light does not meet at the same point, vision becomes blurred.

To correct this vision problem a lens needs to be placed in front of the eye to compensate. The lens then becomes a 'perfect' eye and light beams converge together at the retina.

While eye glasses have long provided the needed correction for vision problems, contact lenses were a marvel of science allowing individuals the freedom to forgo the hassle of slipping, fogging and distracting eye glasses. The inside surface of the contact lens is fitted to the shape of your eye so it stays in place. The outer surface is shaped to the corrected curve (as in eye glasses).

How have contacts changed?

Originally these contacts were made of hard plastic that required saline solution drops on a regular basis to keep moist. They were also prone to 'popping' out and causing discomfort when blinking.

Contact Lens Thankfully contact lenses have come a long way from the original ones available years ago. Newer contacts are made from a soft plastic that allows the eye to 'breathe'. They are much more comfortable to wear and because of the high water content of the material they require less maintenance during use. Soft contacts cling to the layer of tears covering the cornea and move slightly with each blink. This ensures that the eye stays moist and foreign materials can be safely washed out.

Contact lenses used to only correct common vision problems like short-sightedness (myopia - when a person can focus on objects close to them but not far away) and far-sightedness (hyperopia - where the individual can see well at a distance but has trouble focusing clearly on print and other close objects). Now even individuals with astigmatism (where the shape of the cornea is elongated) or presbyopia (an age related condition that used to require bi-focals) can find contact lenses to suit their unique needs.

Convenience and color contacts

There is an endless supply of new products on the market so every contact lens wearer can find the perfect solution.

Contacts are now available in a disposable variety that means no cleaning is required. There are also contacts that can be worn for a week or even a month without being removed and cleaned - great for those who hate the daily hassle.

Many contact lens wearers are experimenting with changing the color of their eyes. While older versions produced harsh colors, new versions of color contacts (which can even be worn by individuals who have no vision problems) can be found in subtle shades and can even change dark eyes to light.

More advances are sure to be made to contacts; there is even talk of contacts created to prevent conditions like myopia from developing in children. Whatever happens, those with vision problems can count on new solutions being added to the currently available options all the time.

How to Put in a Contact Lens

Like most, I've wondered how to put in contact lens easily and quickly. And like most, it probably didn't come easy the first time round.

Spending more time than you thought it would, dropping the lenses, your eyes start getting sore, you are getting frustrated ... sound familiar?

The good news is, you are not alone. The better news is, you don't have to wonder how to put in contact lens...for long.

Personally, I think it's about finding a way that works for you best, and sticking to it. Of course, a little guidance at the start does help, doesn't it?

For myself, this is what I do (assuming I'm right handed):

1. First and foremost, WASH YOUR HANDS! Many times people forget to do that, and complain why their contact lenses irritate their eyes. Well, that's what a contaminated pair of contact lenses do!

2. With my clean hands, I use my ring finger on my right hand to take my lens out of the container (the left or right lens doesn't matter). I find this way easy (instead of pinching it out or picking it with your nails...coz you might risk scratching it!), since the lens sticks quickly to the tip of my finger.

3. With my left middle finger and left thumb, I pinch the lens lightly from my right ring finger, and place it on the tip of my right index finger. My right palm is facing up, so the lens is resting like a mini bowl (upright) on my finger now, almost ready to be put onto my eye.

4. Here's the actual putting on part: With the lens still on my right index finger, I use my right middle finger to pull down my right eye bag (assuming I'm putting on for my right eye), while my left middle finger, pulls up my right eyelid.

With my eyelid pulled apart, I slowly push the lens on my right index finger toward my eye, and place it gently on it. Once I feel it in place, I let go of both hands, and blink a few times.

In a nutshell, that's how to put in contact lens. Usually, that should do the trick. If it feels uncomfortable after blinking several times, take it off, dip it in the solution in you case, and try it again.

By the way, I don't switch hands for my left eye. I still use my right index finger to put the lens on for my left eye.

Like I mentioned, that's how I do it, and what works for me. Yes, I know it's different from the picture above.

Go ahead and try this method, or modify it a little, as long as the positioning of your hands and fingers are comfortable.

When you first try and don't succeed, put down the lens, calm yourself down, and try again, you'll be sure to get it.

Once you find a way that you are comfortable with, stick to it. And did I mention, practice makes perfect?

Contact Lens Care Tips

You need to care for your lenses. Protein deposits or fungal growth can prove detrimental to your eyes.

Once you have had your eyes checked by the doctor and ordered your lenses, request your eye care professional to instruct you on how to care for your lenses. Educate yourself by reading articles and tips on web sites devoted to the care of vision health. Make a list of doubts you want to clear and find out answers to the questions.

Many lens providers give a detailed booklet along with the lenses. Read the booklet thoroughly and understand what needs to be done. Remember, lens care is not standard different kinds have a different regimen. So, the care required would depend on whether your lenses are daily wear, disposables, soft lenses, hard lenses, or continuous wear. Daily wear lenses must be removed at the end of the day, continuous wear lenses at the end of six days and disposable lenses must be discarded.

Basically lens care means:

1. Washing your hands thoroughly with mild soap, then rinsing the hands well and drying with a lint free towel before handling the lenses. Your hands must be free of pollutants and foreign bodies at all times. Never use cold cream, cosmetics, face powder or lotions just before handling the lenses.

2. Always handle lenses with your fingertips. Keep fingernails short and well filed.

3. After removal, the lenses must be cleaned, rinsed, and disinfected well. The solutions used must be approved by the FDA and manufactured by reputable companies. Never compromise on quality, remember you must protect your eyes. Clean lenses immediately after you remove them from the eyes.

4. The lens care solution must be fresh not expired and follow carefully the chemical system of sterilization.

5. For rewetting lenses only use recommended solutions not saliva or any other alternative. Never lick your lens or use tap water.

6. Fix your routine and follow it carefully. Remove lens 1, clean, rinse, disinfect and then place in its chamber in the lens storage case. Then repeat procedure for lens 2.

7. Lenses should always be completely immersed in disinfecting solution when not in use. Never leave lenses exposed to dust or air.

8. Learn the correct method of storing lenses.

9. If recommended use a lubricating solution while the lenses are in use. This will give comfort.

10. If you experience stickiness, discomfort, or any other problem immediately consult your doctor and replace the lenses. No lens with bacterial or fungal growth should ever be worn.

If you experience any irritation from household cleaning fluids, gardening solutions, flying particles, or chemicals rinse your eyes well with tap water and go immediately to the doctor's clinic or hospital. Treatment must not be delayed.

What you need to know about contact lenses

All correcting contact lenses must have a valid prescription from an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Contact lens wearers are usually surprised and happy with the level of comfort that lenses provide. There are 75 million contact lens wearers worldwide and 31 million in the U.S. alone.

Now it's easy to order the perfect contact lenses online at a great discount. If you've always wanted to change your eye color, color contact lenses can provide baby blues, gorgeous greens, heavenly hazels -- even various patterns and designs.

Extended wear lenses are usually soft contact lenses; made of flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. The length of continuous lens wear depends on the lens type and your doctor's evaluation of your tolerance for overnight wear. Some doctors prescribe disposables as planned-replacement lenses, which are removed, disinfected, and reused before being discarded.

Newer soft lens materials include silicone-hydrogels to provide more oxygen to your eyes. People who have good distance vision but need help for reading can get a monovision reading lens for one eye. You can mark rigid lenses to show which lens is for which eye; they don't rip or tear, so they're easy to handle.

Rigid gas permeable lenses tend to be less expensive over the life of the lens since they last longer than soft lenses. While the ability to hold water increases the oxygen permeability of soft lenses, it increases their fragility quotient as well. There are several types of lenses including: soft contact lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, extended wear lenses and disposables.

The expiration date for your prescription is currently set by your state requiring a one-year or two-year renewal; if your state hasn't set a minimum expiration date, government regulation sets a one-year date unless your eye doctor determines there's a medical reason for less than one year. There are also a few rigid gas permeable lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear.

Make sure you have a current, valid prescription when you order contact lenses. Compare prices - get quotes from two or three online and offline suppliers. Get a feel for how the retailer handles customer service calls, in case you have a problem after your order arrives.

Wherever you buy, shop for quality and value and don't forget you want to do what's best for your eye health. Buy your contact lenses from a supplier you're familiar with and know is reliable or has name familiarity. Always ask what rebates are available.

Always buy from a reputable company

you can buy contact lenses without a prescription, but the company is selling you a prescription device as if it were an over-the-counter device violating FTC regulations by selling you contact lenses without having your prescription. Focus on value, not just the price; most people looking for the best price are really looking for the best value. When you place your order make sure your lenses are available and not out of stock, because you'll need them now.

When the eyes are open, tears carry adequate oxygen to the cornea to keep it healthy, but during sleep, the eye produces fewer tears, causing the cornea to swell. Soft extended-wear lenses bind down on the closed eye, but they are porous and allow some tears through during sleep; because they have so little form, their binding has very little effect on the shape of the eye. Don't wear lenses any longer than they're prescribed for, nor when sleeping unless you are otherwise directed.

The risk of corneal ulcers for people who keep extended-wear lenses in overnight is 10 to 15 times greater than for those who use daily-wear lenses only while they are awake. If your eyes become red or irritated, remove the lenses immediately and consult with your doctor. Heat disinfection is the only method effective against the microorganism Acanthamoeba keratitis, a common culprit for contact lens wearers, and it also kills organisms in and on the lens case.

Laser surgery and its risks can be frightening and too expensive for some people, contacts can provide a safe, comfortable and time-tested alternative. It's becoming easier and easier all the time to shop online and often the shipping is free. Remember to use only contact lenses that are FDA-approved and only if prescribed by a licensed eyecare professional.

Also see our article on Bifocal and Toric Contact Lenses

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