A Comprehensive Guide to Wearing Contacts: All Your Questions Answered
For those of us who have been blessed with less-than-perfect eyesight, a pair of glasses is often a staple in our daily attire. However, constantly wearing glasses can be a pain in and of itself, and we’d all love an alternative option to the frames on our face. That’s exactly where contacts come in.
Contact lenses are essentially silicone hydrogel lens caps that sit directly on your eye to provide the clear, sharp eyesight you’ve always wanted. They’re water-absorbing, comfortable, and you hardly even realize they’re there. If you’re someone who is tired of always having to rely on their glasses to see, contacts may be an ideal option for you.
Anybody who has relied on glasses their whole life may feel intimidated by the thought of contacts. But, you don’t have to be! Contacts are easier to wear than you may think and have the potential to make everyday life that much easier. Below, we’ve answered every question you may have about contacts, their use, and their safety, allowing you to be your own expert on these special lenses.
For those of us who have never worn contacts, using them for the first time can be a bit intimidating; after all, we’re used to avoiding things from our eyes, not putting stuff in them. Luckily, contacts aren’t nearly as scary as they may seem, and putting them in requires only a little bit of practice. After a few times, you won’t even have to think about it.
How do you wear contacts?
Contacts are worn by directly placing them on the center of your eye. Before wearing, it is crucial to make sure your hands are clean and have been properly washed, as this helps to avoid germs transferring from your fingers to your eye. Once your hands are clean, you can carefully pick up your contact lense, ensuring it’s not inside out, and place it directly on your cornea. It’s as simple as that!
- Before taking your contacts out of the case, gently shake it. This will fully submerge as well as loosen your contact lense before you try removing them.
- Always use your index or middle finger to hold your contact. Place it on the flat side of the tip of the chosen finger.
- Try placing the lens on your eye while looking up or down; many claim this makes the application process significantly easier.
- After the contact has been applied, gently close your eyes and roll them around. This can help the contact relax on your eye properly. You shouldn’t notice any discomfort.
Does wearing contacts hurt?
No! Wearing contacts shouldn’t hurt your eyes at all; in fact, they shouldn’t even be noticeable. If your contact feels uncomfortable in your eye, this is a tall-tell sign that something is wrong with your contact lens. It could be inside out, torn, or even the wrong contact lens. Whatever the issue is, it’s important to remove it and find out. Contacts should never leave your eyes feeling uncomfortable.
How do you take them out?
Taking contacts out is just as easy as putting them in. Once again, you need to make sure you have freshly-washed, clean hands. From there, you simply pull down your lower eyelid and pinch the center of your contact as best (and as gently) as you can. If you need to, try looking up and down to help pull the contact entirely off your eye. We promise that the process will become second nature soon.
- Keeping your nails short can make taking out contacts much easier, especially when you’re just getting started. This allows for better grip of the contact itself, as well as avoidance of the eye.
- Certain devices, like “plungers,” exist to help remove contacts from your eye without you having to touch the contact itself. You can talk to your eye doctor about these if they pique your interest.
- If you can’t get a contact out: don’t panic! It is impossible for your contact to become lost inside your eye, as many seem to claim. Try adding more contact solution to your eye and gently rolling your eye around to loosen the contact. If this doesn’t work, you can always visit your eye doctor for emergency help.
How do you know if your contacts are inside out?
Occasionally, this weird thing can happen where your contact lens will flip inside out. To check to make sure that it isn’t, place your contact lense on the flat part of the tip of your fingers. Then, hold the lens up in front of your eyes to see it from the side. If the contact lens looks flared on the sides, instead of straight-up like a “U” shape, it is inside out. Gently flip the lens to be right-side-up and you’re ready to wear.
Though contacts, in general, are extremely safe. It is always important to take precautions to avoid any mishaps or accidental contamination. Because these are lenses that are going directly into your eye, being as safe as possible is key. To ensure ultimate safety, we’ve answered all of your questions about contacts and how to properly wear and store them.
Can you wear daily contacts more than once?
It depends! There are two different types of daily contacts: daily disposable lenses and daily wear extended-use contacts. Both are intended to be your daily eyewear, though the two are not interchangeable. In fact, they’re quite different.
Daily disposable lenses, as their name suggests, are contact lenses that are meant to be disposed of daily. Whenever you’re done for the night, you simply take out your contacts and throw them away. The next day, you open a new pair and you’re good to go! Because of this, you cannot wear daily disposable lenses more than once without risk of infection.
With daily wear extended-use contacts, it is a little different. These contacts are meant to be disposed of every few weeks, or even after a month. You do not open a new pair of contacts every day with these; instead, you stick to the same pair for weeks at a time. So yes, you can wear these types of contacts more than once. Just make sure they’re always sitting in clean, fresh contact solution, and you don’t wear them for more than a month.
Whether you choose to wear daily-use or extended-use contacts is completely up to you and your optometrist. Many eye doctors prefer daily disposable lenses like 1-Day Acuvue Moist, BioTrue ONEDay, Clariti 1-Day, or MyDay 1-Day as they provide a fresh lens every day you use them. This immediately reduces the chance of infection, and it is often easier for many as you don’t have to remember how long you’ve been wearing them or if you’ve cleaned your case or replaced your solution recently.
Regardless, it comes down to personal preference and ease. If you find it easier to stick with a consistent pair of contacts for a bit, try brands like Acuvue Oasys, Biofinity, Ultra, or Avaira Vitality. All of these options are perfect for those who don’t want to worry about opening new contacts every day.
What happens if I wear contacts too long?
Contacts aren’t meant for long-term use as they can cause serious infections within the eye. When your eye is covered by a contact lens, the cornea is not getting the amount of oxygen it needs to function at its best; because of this, contacts need to be taken out regularly. When you fail to do this, your eyes can experience redness, blurred vision, and significant discomfort. Simply put: only wear your contacts for the recommended amount of time.
RELATED: Proclear Contact Lenses Review
Can I wear expired contacts?
No, expired contacts cannot be worn. Just as expired food will upset your stomach, expired contacts will irritate your eyes. They are more prone to infection and contamination, so it is always best to listen to the expiration date on your contact lenses. If they’re expired, throw them out!
Can you nap in contacts?
In general, it is strongly urged to avoid napping in your contacts. When we do this, the oxygen that our eyes require is cut off, causing the potential for damage. That’s why, if you do accidentally do this, you’ll wake up with your eyes feeling more dried out than ever. Even for types of contacts that can be used for extended periods of time, most doctors recommend taking them out before napping just to be safe.
If it happens once, you’ll probably be just fine, but it’s important to avoid it as much as possible. Otherwise, you’re putting your eyes and eyesight at direct risk.
Can you wear just one contact?
Yes and no: it depends! If you’re someone who has been prescribed only one contact--like if you have trouble seeing in just one eye--then yes, this is totally safe. As long as you are following what your optometrist recommended, wearing one contact is perfectly acceptable.
However, if you regularly wear two contacts and an incident occurs in which you lose one, then it is highly recommended not to wear just one. Wearing only one contact when you require two can cause serious strain on your eyesight, resulting in blurred vision and, often, headaches. It’s in your best interest to avoid any of these issues, so if you lose one contact, switch to your glasses for the day and give your eyes a break.
RELATED: Acuvue Vita Contact Lenses
- Though it’s usually okay to shower in your contacts as long as you’re careful, you should always avoid swimming in them. Swimming in contacts poses risk for you to not only damage your contact, but lose it, too.
- It may not be a bad idea to carry some backup solution or even a backup pair of contacts. Sometimes, losing a contact does happen. If this occurs, having an extra pair with you can be extremely helpful. Maybe try keeping a spare pair in your purse or car.
- If you go out into the sun while wearing contacts, utilizing sunglasses is incredibly important. The sun’s UV rays can be incredibly damaging to both our eyes and our contacts, so having protection is smart. At every point possible, protect your eyes (and contacts) from the sun.
- In the rare case that something happens pertaining to your safety and your contacts or eyesight in general, having your eye doctor’s information on hand can be very beneficial. Whether your eye is scratched or you simply cannot get your contacts out yourself, your optometrist is there to help. Create a contact in your phone or keep their business card on hand for added peace of mind.
In order to avoid contamination or infection, your contacts must undergo proper cleaning and sanitizing on a daily basis. Not only do your eyes rely on your clean hands to keep them safe, but they also rely on the contacts and the solution itself to stay contaminant-free.
Does contact solution expire?
Just like your contacts themselves, your contact solution can expire, too. When contact solution expires, the chemicals that are utilized as cleaning agents can no longer perform the duties that they need to. In turn, this results in your contacts not getting proper sanitation, causing the potential for infection or discomfort.
For proper disinfection procedures, the FDA urges not to “top off” your old contact solution with new solution, as this can result in old or expired solution mixing with safe, clean solution. Always entirely dispose of your old contact solution every time you wear your contacts, even if it has only been a day. Bacteria can grow fast, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Can you store contacts in water? What about for one night?
Storing contact solution in water is a big “no.” Water, even the most purified or diluted, can contain minuscule minerals or bacteria. When we leave our contacts in water, these impurities are directly transferred to the contact lens, which, eventually, leads to our eyes themselves. This kind of contamination can result in infection, discomfort, and even vision loss, so sticking to recommended cleaning solutions is always best.
Even if it is just for one night, water in place of contact solution can cause serious damage and put your eyesight at risk. Avoiding using water with your contacts is strongly urged for your safety, no matter how short of a time period you’re using it for. There is simply no replacement for contact solution.
How do you store contacts without solution?
If you’ve run out of contact solution and need to store your contacts, your best bet is to dispose of them. Again, there is no replacement for contact solution; not even a saline solution will give your contacts the cleanse they need. Because of this, it is crucial to not go looking for replacements or alternatives to your solution if you don’t have any. It is not worth risking your eyesight just because you don’t want to throw out a pair of contacts.
Contact solution can be easily found at any grocery store or pharmacy, and you can even buy it online where you purchase your contacts. Some of our favorite solutions are Biotrue, RevitaLens, or Opti-free Pure Moist.
- If you wear makeup, make sure to put in your contacts before you apply your makeup. This helps to avoid any contamination or makeup particles from getting inside your contact lens or onto your eye.
- When you’re not using your solution, make sure you keep it stored in a cool, dark place with the lid tightly shut. This will keep it as effective for as long as possible (until the expiration date, that is).
- Make sure to clean your contact lens case daily. By keeping it clean and replacing the solution, you’re proactively fighting off harmful bacteria, keeping your eyes clean and healthy.
- It’s important to make sure that the tip of your contact solution doesn’t come into contact with any surfaces, including your finger or your contact. When you avoid this, it keeps it as clean and bacteria-free as possible.
Best Types of Contacts
Contacts are prescribed on the basis of your eye doctor and what they deem is best for your eyes. Because of this, no types of contacts are inherently “better” than others; they’re simply different and tackle individualized issues. However, here, we’ve provided you with some of the top-ranking contact brands for issues like dry eyes and astigmatism.
What is the best type of contact for dry eyes?
If you’re someone plagued by constant dry eyes, we may be able to help. Some contact brands have the potential to dry out your eyes more than they already are, as contacts cut off the oxygen to your cornea while being worn. Certain types of contacts, like silicon hydrogel, are designed specifically to allow more oxygen flow to the eyes-- perfect for those of us with dry eyes.
Popular brands like Acuvue Oasys have crafted their contacts with this specific type of material, allowing for proper moisture every time you wear them. They offer both weekly and daily disposables, with regular spherical, multifocal, and astigmatism lenses, all of which providing dryness-reducing properties. Related: Acuvue Oasys 2-Week Review
Also available in regular spherical, multifocal, and toric for astigmatism, Biofinity and Ultra by Bausch & Lomb both provide high-quality contact lens options for those who suffer from discomfort by dry eyes. CooperVision’s Proclear lens is another great choice, offering selections for both monthly and daily disposable contacts.
It’s great to know that your days of dry eyes can finally be behind us, thanks to a good pair of quality contacts. For more options specifically appealing to dry eyes, you can look here.
Best type for astigmatism?
Essentially, astigmatism is caused when the shape of your cornea is not curved the way it’s supposed to be. This irregular curve can result in myriad vision problems, as it causes a distortion in the way that light refracts to your retina. Though it sounds intense, this is a fairly common vision problem and can easily be treated through proper contacts or glasses. In fact, many contact brands make contacts specifically for those with astigmatism, temporarily correcting that misshapen cornea.
Acuvue Oasys for astigmatism is one of the most popular and comfortable contact lense options for those with this eye problem. They are available in both a weekly disposable and a daily disposable option, appealing to every type of contact wearer out there. Acuvue Oasys is also fairly affordable, so disposing of them frequently isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg.
Biofinity Toric is another fantastic option for those with astigmatism. Plus, this specific type of contact is a monthly disposable, meaning you can wear the same pair for a month before opening a new one. As long as you take them out to sleep, they’ll be good to go for 30 days. Related: Biofinity Contact Lens Review
Made from silicon hydrogel, Ultra by Bausch & Lomb is a high-quality toric contact lense that will make you forget all about your astigmatism. They are designed to keep your eyes feeling moist and comfortable every time you wear them.
A few honorable mentions also go to a few other Acuvue lenses: the 1-Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism as well as the Acuvue Vita for astigmatism. Both of these contact lenses are crafted with quality materials that leave your eyes feeling refreshed and your vision clear.
How Do You Know If Contacts Are for You?
Making the decision to switch to contacts is one that only you and your eye doctor can make. If the idea of having your face free from glasses entices you, make an appointment! Your doctor will conduct all of the necessary eye tests to see if you’re someone who qualifies for contact lenses. If you are, your optometrist will also be able to recommend the best types of contacts for you, making the whole process incredibly simple.
If you find that contacts are a suitable option for your eyes, all of these tips and tricks will help learning to wear contacts become a walk in the park. Any unanswered questions can be directed towards your eye doctor, as they know what’s best for you and your eyes. Once you find your ideal set of contacts, you’ll find yourself avoiding your clunky glasses and turning towards lightweight, hydrating contact lenses every time.