Contact lenses are one of the most convenient and easy-to-use vision correction methods with millions of wearers worldwide. However, the process of inserting and removing them can be a tricky task and is often feared by wearers. But how many of these contact lens myths are true, and how can you overcome your fear?
Lenstore has teamed up with optometrist Roshni Patel and Yorkshire lifestyle and health Instagrammer Hayley Anne to highlight their top tips on making the experience of using contact lenses as stress-free and straightforward as possible.
Always check your lenses for rips and tears
Experiencing fear while inserting contact lenses is very common, as many users struggle with the process. Lenstore’s expert optometrist Roshni Patel, BSC (Hons) MCOptom, suggests this step-by-step guide for inserting and removing contact lenses:
Inserting contact lenses
- Wash your hands, and dry with a paper towel to avoid transferring fluff or lint to the lens.
- Check the lens for any rips or tears before inserting. Discard if any are spotted.
- Once the lens is in, do not release the upper lid straight away as you may blink the lens out; instead, let go of the lower lid and look down, left and right, to remove air bubbles, then gently release the upper lid.
- If the lens is uncomfortable, hold your lids again, use your finger to slide the lens onto the white of the eye and give it a little massage. Then slide the lens back on the cornea.
- Try to make a habit of putting the lens in the same eye each day – for example, consistently inserting the right eye first will help avoid mix-ups if the prescription is different.
- If you are experiencing discomfort and redness in your eyes, remove the lenses and wear glasses. If the redness persists after an hour or so, speak to your optician.
- If using reusable lenses, discard any solution in the lens case and let it air dry once applying the lenses. Do not rinse it with tap water; instead, use a contact lens solution.
Removing contact lenses
- If using reusable contact lenses, never the top-up solution in the case with a new solution. The solution in the contact lens case should be discarded as soon as the lenses go in, leaving the case to air dry. The best way to keep your lenses clean is by filling up the cases with new solutions.
- Check the lenses for any rips and tears. Daily lenses get binned regardless, but if they are reusables, bin them straight away, as they should not be going back into the eyes.
- It can sometimes be difficult to remove lenses after prolonged wear as they may have dried out. Adding eye drops can sometimes surprisingly make it even harder to remove the lens straight away by reducing friction. In this situation, you should either.
- Use lubricating drops, but wait 15 minutes before trying to remove them.
- Use the lower lid to gently massage/nudge the bottom edge of the contact lens for 10–15 seconds. This will help loosen up the lens.
Debunking the greatest contact lens myth – losing them behind your eye
The most prominent contact lens myth is the fear that one’s lens will slip behind their eye. However, Roshni Patel states this is not physically possible as a membrane around the eye prevents it. The worst case is that the lens is just folded up and trapped under the upper lid.
In this situation, the best thing to do is gently massage the upper lid downwards to help bring the lens down. If this does not work, an optician can easily help remove it. Instagrammer Hayley Anne reveals her top tips for inserting and removing contact lenses.
Hayley has been a contact lens wearer for six years but previously had a fear of inserting them, stating: ‘I was nervous that I would use them incorrectly and somehow cause damage or infection to my eyes.’ However, after educating herself on proper contact lens care and practising the process, she now loves wearing them and has even said they have helped make her feel more confident. Hayley followed Roshni’s tips and shared some of the tips she’s learned along the way.
Hayley’s top tips:
- Always carrying a mirror and some eye drops when out and about wearing contact lenses.
- Ensure you have the right lens prescription and eye matched up and check the lens is positioned the right way up.
- Look directly at the contact lenses when inserting them to ensure the lens is in the correct position.
Don’t be nervous, take your time and practise. Although the prospect may be daunting at first, the process of wearing contact lenses is nothing to be scared of. Allowing yourself time to adjust to the process and taking things at your own pace is important. By applying these tips and repeating the process, your confidence will grow significantly, both in wearing lenses and in yourself.